After a busy week I went away from Buje for the weekend again, this time to Petrinja to visit Ane, Léa and Jana for Ane’s birthday.
On the way to Petrinja I found out first hand how hospitable Maja’s mum is. Maja was travelling to Zagreb for the weekend and, being a generous volunteer/ in need of some company for the journey, I offered to drive her there before going to Petrinja. For the brief stop I was making at her house her mum had cooked a mushroom pie, just for us. Made with wild mushrooms that she had picked herself, and she offered home-grown, pickled vegetables to go with it; delicious. As I was leaving she also gave me some of the remaining pie, in case I got hungry on the short journey to Petrinja.
Arriving too late on Friday night to really do anything, though Ane had already started her celebrations, I said my greetings to everyone and then we went to bed because they had to get up on Saturday morning. The girls went into work to be filmed for a short piece for Croatian national TV. Their work involves making puppets, then devising and performing puppet shows on various topics. I got to see the studio where they work, and their creations. Whilst we were waiting they taught me how to use the various sewing machines, and Léa helped me to make a small money pouch.
In the afternoon we went to the ‘mountain’ nearby (small hill with a cabin at the top), where we met some friendly locals roasting a pig over a fire. It smelt amazing, unfortunately it was to be eaten in the evening, but we did get some bread soaked in the fat that dripped off, although the dog liked this more than we did. It would have been a great place to spend a winter’s evening; open fire, mulled wine, good food, a forest lodge, but it wasn’t available.
Instead, in the evening we went to the house of their friend to party. It was cosy, small living area with a wood burning heating system really highlighted that we were in rural, eastern Europe. It was fun, lots of food, games, music, dancing, and meeting new people. We slept upstairs on assorted mattresses that were a reminder of the war, when the house was used as a shelter for neighbours.
In the morning, after coffee and cake for breakfast, we visited Petrinja’s beach that the girls had told me all about (apparently being so far from the sea makes people claim any small patch of sand next to a river as a legitimate beach). Unsurprisingly deserted in December; I have been promised that if I go back in the summer I will be able to experience it properly.
After one last walk around Petrinja it was time to go. I took Ane and her boyfriend to Zagreb, where he lives, before picking up Maja (unfortunately with no pie this time) and coming back to Buje.