Hey friends! I know things have been rather quiet around here lately, as I try to find balance in my hectic-but-fun freelance life. I actually have some changes in the works that will (hopefully!) be coming soon, and inspire me to be more present in the blog world. But I’m back here right now because I want to share our amazing experience at our Croatia workshop last fall, aaand announce our return to this beautiful country in October!
Early last year, Eva and I were tossing around location ideas for a fall workshop, and Croatia made it onto the list of possibilities. I knew nothing about this country. It seemed intriguing but foreign, and if the decision had been mine to make in the moment, I probably would have chosen Greece or somewhere that felt a little more familiar. But during a conversation with a chef friend of mine, I happened to rattle off a few of the countries we were considering visiting. Without hesitation, he said, “dude, definitely go to Croatia.” He went on to talk about the amazing forests and foraging there, and I was pretty much sold. I excitedly relayed all this to Eva, and it was decided: Croatia here we come.
Even with all our excitement and the reassurances from our villa owner Srđan that everyone was very friendly and the language barrier wouldn’t be a problem, I was nervous. I had no idea what to expect. On the way there, I caught up with Maggie in the Frankfurt airport, and then we met Eva, Linda, and Zhanna in Zagreb. As we deliriously navigated our way out of the city and into the Croatian countryside, it became clear that we had, at the very least, picked a beautiful location. Lush valleys were broken up by epic hillsides with little villages perched on top. There were vineyards everywhere. As we approached the turnoff for our villa on a quiet road, a little cart drove past us towing a wagon full of bread. I actually squealed with delight. We slowly drove up the steep switchbacks until we reached our villa—a restored stone house with shutters and doors that are the prettiest shade of teal blue, and a view of the valley and the neighboring hilltop town of Motovun that was absolutely breathtaking. AND there was a family of orange kitties lounging on the porch! By this time we were all pretty much ecstatic.
We saw this same excitement mirrored in all of our attendees as they filtered in the first evening of the workshop. We were joined by Laurie, Megan, Beryl, Noreen, Annika, Lisa, and Helene, who were such an amazing, friendly, and inspiring group of gals. I don’t know if it was the Croatian air, the beautiful home and scenery, or the wine, but we all instantly bonded around the dinner table that night. I (true to introverted early bird form) work up at dawn the next day, and witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen give way to a mist-blanketed valley. It was official, this place was unreal.
Over the course of the next few days, we visited neighboring villages, experienced the tiny town at the bottom of our hill turn bustling and mildly chaotic during the weekend truffle festival, ate a ton of delicious food, and took pictures of everything. Throughout it all, I was probably most amazed by how friendly and helpful everyone was, from the caretaker who wrote down all the places we should shop and eat, to the villagers and business owners who went above and beyond to help us with everything we needed, to the neighbor who loaned us a wine key one evening after we somehow managed to lose the one we had at the villa.
Because of all this, Eva and I are so excited to announce that we’ll be returning to Croatia for another workshop this fall! The same villa, the same week, and a slightly refined itinerary. We’ll be experiencing all the amazing things the Istrian region has to offer, from truffles and wine to friendly folks and gorgeous scenery. And of course, teaching photography basics and beyond, talking shop and business, and doing lots of hands-on styling. We’d love to have you join us! You can read all the details and register at the link below.
Also, a huge thanks to our sponsors for last year’s workshop!
Compartes chocolate bars for each attendee