Blog 3: Filip’s house and scout camp site
After a hot morning packing the vans we left for Filip’s house, which was just outside Zagreb. A short(ish) drive meant that we arrived at the meeting place at about 4:30, but we heard from Filip that he was having travel issues and that he would arrive at the station 2 hours later than expected. Rather than sweltering in the van, George took us all to a restaurant across the road and we had a few Cokes. After stocking up on bacon and sausages at Konzum, we met with Filip and drove to his vineyard.
We spent a relaxing night cooking and eating, with Filip setting us the challenge of using his worryingly unstable wood-fuel BBQ, then slept on his balcony under the stars. Thankfully Filip decided not to wake us up by revving his lawnmower the next morning, and we set off for the scout camp site in a valley near Vrbrosko. There was just time to notice the impressive handiwork of the Croatian scouts in building their campsite and digging their loos before we were shepherded out of our vans for an ‘initiation’. This consisted of wading through an icy stream (actually rather refreshing), being covered in flour (not so much) and then army-crawling through a muddy pit.
After setting up our camp, we stood round the flag pole and watched the evening ceremony. After dinner we went on a night hike (or a “horror walk”) which was about half an hour of scrambling through a forest with Croatian scouts (and limited torches) whilst Filip and the other leaders did their best to scare us. When we finally escaped, we emerged in an area by a small reservoir which the scouts had surrounded with tea lights. Burning torches were passed round and several Croatian scouts were invested in an awesome night-time ceremony.Then Becky was invested by George (only the second investiture for our unit to happen abroad) and Mark was presented with his Bronze DofE certificate.
While the explorers went to bed, Network and leaders stayed up round the campfire talking to the Croatian leaders and sharing a few stories, and a supper of bread and fresh fish was served before they went to sleep. We woke early in the morning to strike camp. Before leaving, several of the explorers swapped neckers with the Croatian scouts that they had made friends with, before saying a heartfelt farewell.