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Archive for the ‘Croatia’ Category

Dubrovnik to Kotor

We left Dubrovnik yesterday morning just beating the mobs of crowds that were pouring in. A nice city, it is swamped with tourists. We made the beautiful drive along the Adriatic coast back into Montenegro and the bay of Kotor.

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The bay is described by some as the southernmost fjord in Europe and by others as a submerged river gorge. Whatever it is, it’s beautiful!

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Above looking through the narrow opening that leads to Kotor and below looking from Kotor back.

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This is what we found on our arrival!!

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The ship below right, absolutely dwarfs the Venetian era fort, below left. The ship rises up 6 stories from the bow.

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Another mobbed city! But again, a beautiful place with stunning setting.

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The Venetians were incredible in the forts they built up steep mountainsides for defense. We’ve seen another example in Nafplio, Greece. Seaside fort in the foreground with forts and walls climbing the mountain. Also a church up there on the hill.

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The night view

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Bicycle powered "truck" useful on narrow streets

Blissfully, that tour boat pulled out about 6 p.m. and we had a beautiful dinner at one of the many nice restaurants.

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Our accommodations were a bit skanky, so we decided to find something nicer and to get away from the crowds. We are now happily ensconced in a seaside apartment, 20 minutes from Kotor, with these views.

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As we drove out we encountered this fellow lumbering into the bay, confirming our decision to get away.

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And have been rewarded with this strange rainbow.

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Back into town this evening to enjoy a decidedly interesting city and more good food.

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We flew from Rome to Podgorica, Montenegro where we got a car. The fight in was something with these rustic, rustic mountains as we flew in to Podgorica.

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We traveled into downtown Podgorica. It had the hallmark look of Soviet era architecture – rough, cold concrete. Had lunch where the waiter proudly served his specialty – smoked salmon with big hunks of feta and an oil/lemon sauce.

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From there it was through the mountains into Bosnia – Herzegovina. The Montenegro side was tough looking with lots of roofless, empty buildings making us wonder if they were a result of the war. When we got to Bosnia the landscape was transformed – beautiful, well maintained.

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Countryside church in Bosnia-Herzegovina

We came out of a gorge into the town of Trebinje. It is a place I’d like to explore sometime, but we didn’t have time. On to Dubrovnik. This was the first view of the Adriatic.

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And of Dubrovnik

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Quite the setting, and charming travel companions!!

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Our wonderful hosts took us to their free parking and we had a nice long walk back through the city – a little exercise after a day of seated travel.

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Couldn’t have timed this boat’s passage any better.

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Rovinj – clouds and sun

The last two days have dawned to clouds only to clear to brilliant, sunny days. Yesterday was calm, today quite breezy.

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This is the bell tower for Rovinj’s Euphemia Basilica, copied after St. Marks in Venice. Quite beautiful. And inside the basilica below.

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The morning’s view the last two days.

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Yesterday Kristi and I walked a couple miles along the coast past a couple of resort hotels and to a forest preserve. By this time the sun was shining.

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One of the resort beaches

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Along the coast of the preserve

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Rovinj from the preserve

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Today we were lucky enough to be invited by Shannon Essa, who owns Grape Hops, one of the other companies in our Slow Travel cooperative, to accompany her group on a boat ride around the area.

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Again, the morning was gray, but by afternoon it was beautiful.

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The return trip was windy and we had a fun trip back.

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Rovinj from the Adriatic

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I’ve loved watching the acrobatics of the seagulls in the winds here. They are graceful, acrobatic, forceful, impressive.

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This has been our shining view for our last two afternoon machiattos.

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Truly, a beautiful place.

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Porec

We drove to Porec yesterday to see Euphrasian Basilica. After visiting Ravenna we are fans of Byzantine mosaics and the Porec basilica is listed as a World Heritage Cultural site. It has some wonderful 4th and 5th century floors and 6-7th century mosaics in the ceilings and walls. Beautiful

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The Istrian peninsula was Venetian for years so you see the influence in the architecture.

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Porec has a nice setting on the Adriatic.

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Sunny today, so some pictures of Rovinj in good light to come!

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Rovinj

This is a beautiful town in a picturesque setting. Colors, vistas, details, the Adriatic. Just charming

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You might just make out the Alps in the background

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These pictures, for the most part, have been taken in flat light. So imagine what it would look like when the sun is out. Then there was last night’s sunset.

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Vecerja Two

We had to go back. It was just too good. And it did not disappoint! Mila was at school – she is getting a degree in international affairs. She came in later, but it was Sandra assisting this night. We started off with a different kind of drink that he could not explain – homemade with what looked like an olive, was crisp like an apple but somewhat flavorless.

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Then Robert gave us some smoked horsemeat sausage made with pork fat to give it a different flavor. That is the fruit that was in the aperitif beside the sausage.

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Next up a cheese platter and veggie plate. The cheeses are an old goat cheese, mozzarella, and a very young cheese that is like butter. The veggies are impossibly thin asparagus and ramps, done of course, on the grill, and topped with pancetta crisped up on the grill.

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A second vegetable platter with mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers on a bed of arrugula. Just incredible flavor again.

A couple of stories of the evening. As Robert is cooking an oriental man comes in and asks for a pot. Apparently he is staying in Robert’s apartment. Robert leaves the restaurant to go up and help him get set up to cook. Ten minutes later the guy returns. “Do you have a knife to cut the fish?” Robert is busy but directs him to a knife. So easy and natural this exchange.

Later we ask for a business card. Robert says the guy who makes them hasn’t delivered them. Some minutes later the guy and his wife arrive. Robert has called him. The guy, Mihael, says if we can wait 15-20 minutes he’ll go make us some cards. We say sure and his wife, Ameliana, sits down with us to chat. Next thing we know several shots of honey schnapps are sitting in front of us to finish our meal and give us something to drink while we wait.

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The schnapps

Just another amazing and wonderful evening. And so we had a wonderful least evening and meal in Ljubljana.  . . . So remember the phone used to pay for breakfast? Here it is

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. . . . we’re now in Rovinj. It is unbelievably picturesque. À hint of what’s to come.

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