I just haven't been able to stop eating! Between the different meal schedule culture here to trying new things to the different and heavier food we've been eating, I find I'm almost always full, almost to bursting. I know that doesn't bode well for my girlish figure, but I'll have you know that I am exercising too. Hopefully they will balance each other soon. I tried to wake up at 4:30 this morning and almost did (next time I'm just going to get up even if it is just twenty minutes before my alarm goes off) but ended turning off the alarm and sleeping for another three and a half hours. I still did the aerobic exercises I've been doing in the States, I also went for a walk this morning with my friend, Marina, and her daughter, and then later went for a walk around downtown Zagreb. It's a really neat old city. According to Marina, I didn't even get to the beautiful, old portion yet.
They eat breakfast (we ate ours a little late) of dried meats cheese and bread. Then we ate lunch around noon and had burek sir a kind of fresh cow's cheese baked in a philo dough crust. Very tasty. Along with some more dried meat, cheeses, pickles, a red minced sauce of sorts called ajvar and a kind of sauerkraut called zelje kiseli that you put pumpkin seed oil on, and of course bread. Then a snack of home-made cookies with jam in them and chocolate milk, with a nice guest named Radmila. Then on my downtown walk I tried some bread with chocolate in the middle, another kind of burek sir (this time with bits of pumpkin in it) and a yummy drink of soured milk that tastes like buttermilk. Then Marina wanted to stop at a cake and ice cream store called Vincek whose specialties include a chestnut ice cream and chestnut paste eaten with a dollop whipped cream (they even taste good when all mixed together).
Finally after coming home and falling asleep at the computer desk in my room, we ate a more German style dinner of sausage with mashed potatoes, cooked cabbage with beans and some mustard, horse radish and really tasty mayo...and of course bread. Needless to say, I don't think I can eat another thing. Especially since my stomach has gotten used to smaller portions and sparsely spaced meals, over the last two or three months.
However, as overloading as my food intake may sound, I was able to squeeze in some fun sight seeing and photo opportunities. On my walk this morning, my friend showed me an old military base turned University, that was in used during the Yugoslavian occupation originally built for WWII.
Most of the larger buildings are slowly being converted, but there are several smaller buildings that lie dormant, and are, in most cases, in disrepair. There was even an old bunker and random street lamp we saw all over grown in the more wooded area that Marina tells me was used for training at one point.
Downtown, I was able to see the beginnings of Christmas decorations being hung and other traditional businesses that spring up around the Christmas season. We went to the post office so I could look at stamps and even went into the big cathedral in the center of town. I was very impressed here. In contrast with many of the cathedrals I saw in France; this one was clean, dust free and inside, everyone was very reverent. Marina said, that because since religion generally plays a bigger role in peoples lives here, more donations are made and better care is taken of the church as a consequence.
I had fun with my Croatian lessons today. I looked up the word for "name," and while Radmila was here, seemed to delight everyone with asking the names for everything on the table. That and trying to say thank you and "tastes good," for the food we were eating, in Croatian.
I was also able find a unique connection with Zdenko, Marina's father, in talking to him about the apples on the table that came from his garden and house in the country, then sharing about my own horticultural adventures of this last summer. He had a good time going through the flash cards I had made and helping me to try to master the Croatian alphabet. My friend's Teta (aunt) Ana is convinced that I'll forget how to speak English by the end of two weeks. Overall, I'd say it been a filling but wonderful day.