Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Return to Lukovdol: This Time with Witnesses

Church of Uznesenje in Lukovdol
The ominous sky over the church in town should have been a warning. I returned to Lukovdol on Saturday, September 13, 2014. Only this time I have witnesses.

For those of you new to this story, when I visited Croatia back in 2010, I found the people of this country to be warm, friendly and welcoming. From one end of the country to the other. Everywhere I went. Except one place. Lukovdol.

This is the small village from which my maternal grandfather and his family hailed. If you need the background story of my first visit to Lukovdol, you can click here and again here. We'll wait for you to read it.

This time I thought it would be different. I thought I had arranged with a distant relative still in Lukovdol to meet at least some of the local branch of the Grisnik Family (mother's side family). He told me to let him know the day before that we were coming. So I did. I heard nothing. Come to think, when I asked for his telephone number a month earlier, so we could call when we got closer, I got no response.

We decided to visit Lukovdol anyway. Given the serendipitous wonderfulness of our visit to Petrovina (father's side family), we thought that maybe it all would work out for us and we could reconnect with the branch of the family that stayed in the Old Country. Besides, Lukovdol is beautifully set in the mountains along the Croatian side of the Slovenian border. And that is worth seeing.

But nothing had changed from my last visit. Lukovdol is still Lukovdol.

We looked for Grisniks in the cemetery. Only two. And, once again, the residents of this cemetery were as warm and welcoming as the living citizens of Lukovdol. We explored the stone amphitheater above the cemetery, which apparently is some sort of monument to the poet Ivan Goran Kovacic, the Croatian national poet.

It only looks abandoned
Perhaps this is symbolic of something
Apparently the amphitheater is used once a year when there is a big festival in honor of Ivan Goran Kovacic and people from the outside world come to Lukovdol.

Museum of Ivan Goran Kovacic
Ivan Goran Kovacic even has a museum in his honor in Lukovdol. The door was open, but no one went in or out.

I'm using "apparently" and "perhaps" a lot since no one in Lukovdol would talk to us. We saw people. The child to whom my sister said "hello." The group of teenagers. The old guy who walked past us as we were standing by the car. The various cars of people who drove past us. No one said hello or "dober dan" or boo. They just stared. Except for the teenagers, who, like teenagers everywhere, ignored us. (We're all over 30.)

Once again, I enter Lukovdol and everyone gives me the Evil Eye. Only this time, Sister and B-I-L got the Evil Eye, too. This time I have witnesses.

Sister (L) and Me (R)
Lukovdol. I give the stink eye right back to you.

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