Traveling to Croatia; En Route to Bear Stone Festival 2024

My name on wood bear stone festival 2024

The wooden sign with my name on it greeted me as I walked out of the arrivals door — a moment anticipated by weeks of anciety, and not just the usual me-for-myself kind. In addition to Bear Stone Festival, which I’ll cover over the next four days, and being in Croatia for the first time, the travel to get here included my wife, daughter and dog. And the dog. Weeks of paperwork, chasing down this or that. I had to go back to my vet to get a hand-signed rabies certificate so the US FDA could certify the dog to enter the country. We got papers FedExed to our house with official government crimps all over them, signed off with diligence by some bureaucrat who I’m sure would value knowing that those papers weren’t even checked as we made our way out after baggage claim. Anything to declare? “Uh, I’m really fucking tired and speak absolutely zero Croatian? Also this is The Pecan and if you don’t let her out of here she’s gonna start climbing the baggage claim again?” I could go on.

It was 18 hours of travel — so far; hang on I’ll get there — rendered a full day by the time zone change to CET. We flew through Schiphol in Amsterdam, connecting from JFK to Zagreb. A nightmare. Commercial air travel, Hi Croatia 2terrible at best, with a six year old who, if she was here, surely would remind me forcefully that she’s six and a half. Perhaps if we’d been home in New Jersey for more than four days after coming back from our trip through various national parks of the Southwestern US it would’ve been easier. But I doubt it.

In addition to being severely enough ADHD that I see a real possibility I’ll spend the rest of my life picking up after her, The Pecan’s neurodivergence has come to the fore in my consciousness in seeing her absolute overwhelm at the travel. Granted, she was younger when we went to Ireland, and a baby that time she got kicked out of The Black Heart in London — she didn’t even get the chance to start a barfight — but still, neither of these situations could count as her first time at the dance, and seeing the way she gets hung up on “I want it” as a be-all-end-all standard for what absolutely must happen, to a point of crippling her own experience and certainly that of anyone else in the vicinity — tantrums, I’m talking about — I don’t have the background to say autism but if she was a boy there isn’t a doubt in my mind she’d already be diagnosed.

So she had a hard time. So we all had a hard time. Difficult. Not the dog. The dog got Dramamine and conked out for the duration. I wish I’d done the same for myself. Maybe 20 minutes of sleep on the first, six-hour red-eye from NYC to Amsterdam? The second flight fared better; it was about two hours and I, The Patient Mrs., The Pecan and, yes, Silly Tilly Herself, got real, hard sleep. PBS Nova put The Pecan out, neither I nor my wife needed the help. Just a matter of collapsing.

The next couple days? Bear Stone in Slunj. Here’s a look at what’s to come:

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I don’t know that I’ll get to see all of everything — literally, I don’t know how it works; I’ve never been here before — but if you’ve ever kept up with any of the fair amount of fest-type coverage that’s appeared on this site before, you know that I’ll do my best to see and document as much as I can. I’ll need a shower before that happens — I am nothing short of disgusting and a night of sleep. Fortunately both of those things seem to be what I’m heading toward.

And I’m speaking literally there, because the travel is ongoing. I’m writing in back of a van en route from the airport in Slunj to the apartment I’ll be staying at for the next few days, through hilly, green countryside and highway giving over to more rural streets Hi Croatiathrough farms and little towns. My understanding is it will get greener as we go. Won’t complain about that. It was not too hot, not too cold stepping out of the airport, which I first did to let the dog poop since she hadn’t gone in 18 hours (pet relief area at JFK wasn’t cutting it, and Schiphol doesn’t have any, presumably because Dutch canines don’t pee?), then did again so that I could accompany The Patient Mrs. and The Pecan upstairs to where their rental car shuttle was picking them up. They got on their way, I got on my own, and we’ll reconvene after the weekend somehow, some way.

In the interim, there’s rock and roll and then some to be had over the next few days, and I plan to get as much of a dose as I can. Thanks if you’re still reading this, and double-thanks if you keep up with what’s to come. It’s been a ride up to now, both actually and in figurative terms, and I have only the faintest idea what I’m in for here, but I can’t wait to find out for real.


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