An emerald green weekend

We rarely have weekend getaways. We do go to visit my parents when we can, but although it’s fun and relaxing, that doesn’t count as a “let’s go somewhere this weekend” trip. For some reason, and the reason most often being work or pure exhaustion, we’re usually stuck in the city for the weekend.

This is not something that a regular Croatian family practices. City breaks or spa weekends are still rather a rare way to spend the weekend among the Croats, which is not surprising given the current poor economical circumstances. We’re also a bunch that likes to save money for a week or two of the summer vacation somewhere at the coast. Summers are long and hot in Croatia, so you wouldn’t want to waste your free days (not to mention the money) on a random weekend outside the peak season. Lately we also ski a lot, but that’s not really a topic I have much experience with. Nor do I see us being involved in this activity any time soon, we really are summer people.

A couple of my friends gave me a great opportunity to break this habit when they bought me a weekend in a spa and thermal resort not far away from Zagreb. It was a gift for my PhD party, a much needed break after a long period of sitting at an overloaded desk. Although they had planned for me and my husband to have a weekend to ourselves, we hadn’t had the heart to leave the little one behind, and it was a good decision. This trip is one of the nicest memories we have as a family, so here’s why we should all need an occasional weekend in the nature.

 

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The Lešće thermal spa is a small resort in the vicinity of Generalski Stol, located by the Dobra River. With two outdoor and one indoor pool, and a modest wellness center, you don’t have as many activities to choose from as you get at a larger resort, but that actually works to their advantage. You’re left on your own to find other means of entertainment apart from swimming or enjoying a massage. The nature is so beautiful that you don’t really need anything else.

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It was mid June, which is usually very warm in Croatia, but we had had a milder period prior to this weekend, so we couldn’t tell if the outdoor swimming would be enjoyable. Luckily, it was. The next day was warmer, so, despite our plan to take the car and explore the place a little, we soon got back to hanging beside the pool, and admiring the dozens of little dragonfly-like insects. They were the most beautiful shade of green I have ever seen! (I have just learned that these are called Banded demoiselles. At least I think I’ve managed to identify the gorgeous little creatures.)

My son wasn’t that impressed with them, but was instead trying to build a damn across the little canal that lead from the pool to the river.

When it was too late in the day to stay by the pool, we went for a short walk before dinner. There is a beautiful old stone bridge right behind the hotel, and you can reach it by a small pathway trailing along the river. The early summer evening was a perfect time in the day to watch the surrounding trees reflected in the river as the sun was slowly setting behind the wood.

bridge over Dobra

The food was good, the room not too spacious, but clean and comfortable. All in all, a very good value for money. However, if you ask me for more details about the hotel facilities or whether they offer a vegetarian menu – I wouldn’t rely too much on my memory to provide reliable information. I loved the time spent in Lešće not in spite of its modest surroundings, I loved it because of that. After dinner, we played some football with our son on a lawn bordering the neighbors’ gardens and a small corn field, only to be chased away by bees that came out to claim back their territory.

I’m sure there’s much more to Lešće and Generalski Stol than just chilling at the spa. Maybe we should go back and explore more, take a long walk or visit a local museum. But back then, that weekend felt like a long needed time away from civilization, time to do nothing in particular, and enjoy it. A weekend we could all use from time to time.

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