The Croatian sun radiated off every cobblestone in the old town. I wondered at the beauty of Dobrovnik as I wandered through the streets, hopping from one patch of shade to the next. It was swelteringly hot and sweat dripped down between my shoulder blades. I felt sluggish and very aware of being alive. It was the summer of ’09, and I was alive and I wanted to live my life boldly. Meandering through the back streets of the city, my sister, my friends and I were looking for nothing in particular but for something interesting and for some respite from the heat. Everywhere there were wonderful discoveries to be made! There were little nooks in the walls with idols of the Virgin Mary; she was surrounded by tiny purple flowers and bright red and green candles. Every now and then, there were tiny graffitied men made of newspaper and red paint to be seen on a window. All the walls and buildings and streets were made of the same gray marble, worn smooth and slippery over the centuries. The narrow streets and steep steps winded in a seemingly endless maze. The hot, wise marble whispered to us, urging us forward to treasures just around the next corner.
Honorable Mention 2009 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
As we walked along the city walls, I suddenly felt the most refreshing sea breeze. I turned to see where it came from and saw a hole in the city wall. The view, the bright blue Adriatic Sea framed by marble as old as civilization and by leaves in the prime of life, impressed the glory and value of life upon me as I stood enraptured. I can’t do the moment’s significance justice in words. It was simply amazing. Trees clung to the crevaces in the cliffs as the rock plunged from the city walls into the sea. Winding steps hewn into the rock led to a small cafe that was perched precariously on the cliff face. We made our way down the steps and paused to soak in the ancient beauty of a place so full of history and so alive.
All of a sudden, my friend and I realized what we had to do. We had to own our experiences. We had to step out and live boldly. We had known all along that a place like this was made of adventure, and in that moment we realized what adventure Dobrovnik had prepared for us that day. Cliff diving! We walked over to the edge of the cliff, searching for a place to jump. The spot we chose had no visible rocks at the bottom and was 3 stories high. Despite being adventurous by nature, I was nervous, but I wasn’t going to let the others in on that! After some mental preparation, Daniella and I braced ourselves and picked our way out to the rocky ledge. I took a deep breath. Full of wonder at the history and beauty that surrounded me, and invigorated with the adventure to be had, I took one last glance out over Dobrovnik’s beautiful blue bay, and lept.
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