status

Zadar’s Sound and Light

As far as we knew, Zadar was an omelet with ground beef, home fries and American cheese that you could order at Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City.

Zadar old town entrance

poodle on a boat

As it happens, Zadar is also the name of yet another beautiful city on Croatia’s coast.

Ship in the sunset

(A quick Google search reveals that the omelet was not named after the city.)

dog playing fetch

Zadar is most famous for its sea organ, a series of pipes imbedded in the waterfront promenade that make low, mysterious sighs and tones that fluctuate with the waves and wind. There’s nothing to see but a series of small holes in the stone, and its continual song can be both mesmerizing and unsettling as it up hums up from below.

crowds at sundown

And then there’s Sun Salutation, a representation of our star and planets that collects solar power during the day and lights up and pulses at sundown.

blurred silhouettes

blue sun

We sat and listened to the sea organ and watched kids cannonball off the edge of the promenade (click for the video).  When dusk came, families hopped and danced and chased the changing colors on the giant LED sun.  Public art that is perfectly integrated with nature and recreation, and is sustainable and accessible to all is a beautiful thing.  Good job, Zadar.

26
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Croatia

DISCUSSION 1 Comment
status

On the Beaches of Brač Island

We decided to take the ferry from Split to Brač Island.

Brač map

Tony attempted to pass the time by drawing in a sketchbook. This attracted the attention of some 10-year-old boys who hovered over him and then clapped every so often.

Boats in Split harbor

Once on the island, a bus hauled us to the other side, and we caught glimpses of lime and olive groves, goat herds and white stone quarries. Some of that stone has made its way across the globe and was used to build a certain residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.

bus window scenery

We also got glimpses of things and places on the island that we wanted to avoid.

Mankini poster

View from our room

The Adriatic is colder than the eastern Mediterranean. A lot colder.

goosebumps

sailboat silhouette

Tony on the beach

Alicia

But, that didn’t stop us walking through the pine trees to discover hidden coves, or from snorkeling and swimming through schools of silver fish and finding chartreuse coral and black spiky urchins.

Zlatni Rat

shoreline

Crashing waves

more waves

One afternoon, we came across a pair of young Slovakian hitchhikers who were sleeping under the pines. They kindly shared with us a few pulls off of a powerful bottle of homemade sherry. We found them again on our last day and left our snorkels and masks with them. They were so happy, it felt like Christmas.

The best stories rarely come with pictures.

So here are some sunsets.

sunset

another sunset

25
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Croatia

DISCUSSION 2 Comments
status

Palace-City on the Adriatic

As much as we were amazed by Dubrovnik, we had to get out of there as quickly as possible. It was just too much. Too many people crammed into a small area starts to feel like a box. A shiny, lovely box from which you can jump off into a perfect blue sea… but still a box. So we took the next bus up the Dalmatian coast.

The Roman Emperor Diocletian built his palace on the sea about 1700 years ago. Apparently at the time it was so beautiful that Diocletian actually voluntarily retired. He preferred to enjoy his gardens as a civilian so much that he rejected a later invitation to return to Rome to rule. Over time and the flux of empires, the palace was abandoned and then repurposed into a city. The city’s name has changed along the way, but today it goes by Split.

fountain

As you might expect a palace-turned-city to be, Split’s courtyards and alleys are just as picturesque and romantic and as you can imagine.

Bishop Gregory

tower

green shutters

outer wall

shady street

pigeon napping

hostel courtyard

laundry

Cat and car

We loved the breakfast at this cafe so much, we went back several times.

Breakfast

It was easy to linger.

courtyard cafe

The view was worth the few extra kunas. Or, in this case, tunas. (Check out the two kuna piece on the left.)

tuna kuna

Split’s Riva promenade was bumping every night, just like in Dubrovnik, but since it was outside the city walls, we didn’t get the same hemmed-in feeling.

Riva promenade

Still, we were feeling the need to press on… maybe find an island somewhere?

25
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Croatia

DISCUSSION 1 Comment
status

White Stone, Blue Sea

Croatia at last! This was one of the countries we had on the “for sure” list. Although our timing was perfect for beach weather, it also coincided with sweltering heat, cruise ship hordes, high prices and limited availability.

Still, Dubrovnik — at least the section of old town that we visited — was easily one of the more stunning cities we’ve visited so far.  Towering walls, white stone streets polished smooth, dramatic fountains and steps, narrow winding alleys… it all feels a little unreal.

Red roofs

Western wall at sunset

Church - from the side

Harbor

Little fish in the harbor

Big fountain

row of houses

Main street

plant on the wall

Church bells

Anno 1834

Guard station

Swimming hole-in-the-wall

Guard tower - vertical

Neglected walls

Walking up

shadowy alley

laundry day

steps

Sunset

Alley at night

14
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Croatia

DISCUSSION 2 Comments
status
14
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Croatia

DISCUSSION 1 Comment
image
status

What We Ate in Bosnia

Bosnian cuisine is Turkish-meets-Central Europe. Hearty, simple, way too filling. If you’ve recovered from our run down of Turkish food, here is a little taste of Bosnia.

Dveri

We dropped some coin at Dveri, a restaurant a little more upmarket than we usually visit. Goulash with beef, mushrooms and plums. Polenta with smoked beef, cheese, tangy cream and an egg. Flaky, buttery rolls. So rich. We actually did not finish it all, if you can believe it.

Dveri

carrot ginger soup

Carrot ginger soup.

burek

Burek – flaky pastry filled with your choice of meat, cheese, spinach or potato. Best for breakfast, as long as you don’t plan on moving for the rest of the day.

Dolmas

Grape leaf dolmas – just as good as the ones we had in Turkey, but served in broth and smothered with sour cream.

omelet

We don’t remember the Bosnian name for this, but the English menu called it a “mince meat omelet.”

Sogan dolmas

Sogan dolmas – little onions stuffed with minced meat.

ćevapčići

Ćevapčići – little beef or chicken sausages stuffed into an incredible flatbread (warmed by being grilled in the sausage fat), with chopped onion, sour cream and kajmak (a type of clotted cream).

doughnuts

Fresh friend doughnuts with a side of kajmak… topped with regular cream.

pivo

Sarajevska pivo. (Fun fact: the Sarajevska Pivara supplied the city with fresh water during the war.) Živjeli! Cheers!

13
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Bosnia

DISCUSSION 1 Comment
status

Stari Most – Mostar’s Old Bridge

Stari Most from below

“The bridge is like a rainbow arch soaring up to the skies, extending from one cliff to the other. …I, a poor and miserable slave of Allah, have passed through 16 countries, but I have never seen such a high bridge. It is thrown from rock to rock as high as the sky.” – Evliya Çelebi, 17th Century

No photos

“I was in my office, working to the sound of mortar fire, when we heard the cries in the street—cries that the bridge had fallen. And what happened then was so impressive that I will never forget it. Everyone came out to see. Grenades and bombs were falling everywhere, but still they came out of their hiding places: Young, and old, weak and strong, Muslim and Christian, they all came, all crying. Because that bridge, it was part of our identity. It represented us all.” A. Bubić, 1995

Walking over

shoreline

Dog chasing rocks

Dive practice

Cat begging at a restaurant

Bridge at dusk

Although we were vaguely familiar with Sarajevo before we visited there, Mostar was a huge blank.  Several people we had met along the way said we needed to go there.  So we made plans to visit on our way through Bosnia to Dubrovnik.

Mostar was yet another urban battleground during the wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia.  The pieces of its destroyed bridge were hauled out of the river and the span was made whole again in 2004.  Mostar itself is still decidedly not whole, as the broken shells of buildings remain untouched and the impossibly blue Neretva River separates most of the minarets from the steeples. Maybe a future generation will make the symbolism behind the the bridge’s reconstruction a reality.

Bombed-out Razvitak department store

As visitors just passing through briefly, it’s easy to look at the reconstructed center of town, the amazing bridge with its daredevil high divers and the cobblestone streets and miss noticing the separation.  We missed it.  It wasn’t till we were double-checking place names and doing research to get our facts straight that we learned these things.  How much more would we have noticed if we were looking for it?

One conundrum of travel is the question of whether or not to do a bunch of research in advance.  If you don’t do any research, you might end up reaching ignorant, superficial conclusions… or if you’re lucky you’ll come away having your own fresh and unbiased perspective.  Do you risk accidentally overlooking “important” things, or do you experience a place through a lens of what another traveler said you are supposed to see?

Stari Most from the banks

12
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Bosnia

DISCUSSION 1 Comment
video
status

Seeing Sarajevo

chimney?

We met some fellow American travelers (so far a less common animal) and a few Australians (they’re everywhere!) when we met up with Jasmina to see the airport tunnel. We spent the rest of the day visiting the now-indefinitely-closed Bosnian National Museum, sampling a pint at Sarajevsko brewery, and wandering the hilly neighborhoods of Sarajevo.

'mericans

Walking up the hill

It was a long, relaxed, full day.  And what can make you feel quite so right with the world as a puppy?

one fuzzy puppy

(Answer: two puppies.)

two puppies

The puppies followed us, and a few blocks later we met a guy named Fudo who told us that the puppies were called Brownie and Blackie. Naturally.

Fudo

Graham

Hilly neighborhood

cat graffiti

Sarajevo Brewery

Later that night, we discussed important sociological issues like the merits of in-home hookah usage.

Sarajevo hills

Martyr's Cemetery

Sarajevo had a serene, subdued feeling to it, at least during the week we spent there. It was easy to see hints of the worst of what was, but there was a definite flow of life moving on. It’s difficult to describe.

Sarajevo street

Yellow VW Beetle

Pigeons swarmed Sebilj Fountain.

Sebilj - the fountain in Baščaršija

Cafes filled and emptied day after day.

Giannini Cafe

Ladies who lunch

Dogs were walked.  Sometimes they had ice cream.

dog eating ice cream

Parliament and the Holiday Inn, buildings that would have seen engulfed in flames on nightly newscasts less than two decades ago, stood shiny and whole.

Parliament

Holiday Inn

Ammunition boxes found a new purpose as beer garden seating.

Ammo boxes

Eid, the end of Ramadan, arrived so quietly, we hardly noticed.

Eid

And the Miljacka River, shallow from a summer of no rain, crept past the Latin Bridge.

Franz Ferdinand bridge

Hello, and goodbye, beautiful Sarajevo. We were lucky to have met you.

12
Oct 2012
POSTED BY admin
POSTED IN

Bosnia

DISCUSSION 1 Comment