Sorry for the slight pause...I've been working like a horse
Another interesting thing that happened while I was there occured maybe my 10th day there. All over the newspaper there was a title called "Serbs drawing all over Croatia". It was referring to some graffity that appeared in a croatian village. Now I remember it said "This is Serbia, St Sava" and had the Cross with 4c. Then it was signed by a "tool" name I cant remember, but it is significant because it was a serb only word and it was spelt wrong. I have never seen such an obvious attempt to frame the serbs- learn to write a few words in Cyrillic (all be it incorrectly), make an obvious ultra-nationalist statement then out of nowhere mention the founder of the Serb Orthodox Church.
Meanwhile, I had made my visit to my hometown; Smokovic. A village on the outskirts of Zadar, it was the most western Serb settlement in Croatia, infact it was malely 100% Serbian ( my mother and one aunt were the only non-serbs). Of course, it became completely destroyed, my house was demolished (along with all other 150 or so houses), the church completely vanished from the grounds it once stood on, and mines planted in the graveyard for anyone wishing to visit. Oh yea, the new sign that was put up with the name Smokovic (every village/city there has a sign once you enter telling you where you are) was spraypainted black and underneath was written "Zone". Few people have returned (all ages 65+)and they all told me they are not allowed to go out at night because of the constant harassment and attacks they suffer. It was my 3rd timevisiting Smokovic since I left and I thought it would bother m less and less, but it has done nothing but the opposite.
Believe it or not, there was some good in all this. My last day there, I went back to St. Elijah's to ask the priest if any of the documents/artifacts from the former church in Smokovic, St George had been saved and where I could see them. To my dissapointement (but not to surprise), the priest was not there but rather an elderly man who explained to me that the priest went up North to the (only) Orthodox Monastary at a place called Krk. I always knew about the place but thought it was similar to this and maybe even abandoned. He told me that thee was some gathering there, which I thought nothing of and wentback home. Later in the day A cousin told me there was something at our monastary at Krk and asked if I wished to go. Of course I said yes and off we went for the 150 km trip, passing through villages that were once inhabitated by Serbs but now are either ghost towns or only croats. On the way up north I may have seen about 5 abondoned/destroyed Orthodox churches. Once we reached Kistanje (Just outside of Krk) things became a little strange...
First I saw a car with a Belgrade plate, then I saw more serbian plates. As we headed on the path towards the monastary, I knew something big was happening because there were not hundreds, but THOUSANDS of cars. Now let me explain to you, the path towards Krk is a steep downhill snake-like road. They did not let any of the cars go down, you had to walk down. They path was so steep and tiring that the lazy way she was walking, the front of my cousins flip-flop broke and she had to walk barefooted all the way down
. As we got closer and closer, the sound of serbian narodna music was getting louder and louder. I couldnt believe this! On our way down, fellow travellers told us that the day before, there were over 10 000 serbs there! The first thing I noticed, even before the mass crowds of people around the monastary, was the SOC's flag flying high. I found this impossible to believe, it was like I was in Serbia, but in fact I was in the heart of Croatia, where the serbian population no longer lived.
I had a great time there, the valley it's located in is so beautiful and the monastery itself bears the name of St Archangel Michael which is also my guardian Saint and slava! I bought a bracelet there which a priest prayed for in holy water. I also left a generous donation..urghh..In Canadian though because I had no kunas left
There must have been around 8000 people there, which is something phenominal considering I expected about 200.
All in all, that was my main experience in Croatia. Although many of you may say the bad outweighs the good, I like to say that "a little good can often defeat a lot of bad". I guess I was just happy to see that the Orthodox church still exists in Croatia...