Bob and Eva's Adventures

We enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of foreign countries.

Zadar in Color

Posted on June 21, 2018

As I wandered the side streets of Zadar, Croatia I was delighted to see lots of color amongst all the ancient buildings of the Old Town. None of the photos are very descriptive or worth a caption. Just enjoy the images for what they are.

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Zadar, Croatia – Lovely Town on the Adriatic Sea

Posted on June 21, 2018

Daughter Suzi really encouraged us to spend a few days in Zadar while we explored the Dalmatian Coast, and we’re so glad we did. By bus, it was less than a two hour ride from Split, then a five minute walk to our apartment in the suburbs.

The heart of Zadar – old as the hills, almost. Remnants of the Roman Forum are in the foreground.

When it comes to tourism, Zadar is relatively sane compared to Split and Dubrovnik, as far as I could tell, despite its port accommodating cruise ships. We were not overwhelmed by tourists here in mid May.

Asian tourists waiting out a rain shower. There was much thunder and lightening.

Aside from wonderful Roman and Venetian architecture in the Old Town, the great draws to Zadar are its Sea Organ, Monument to the Sun, and stirring sunsets described by Alfred Hitchcock as the finest in the world.

During WWII the Axis controlled Zadar, leading to frequent bombing by the Allies during the war. Afterwards, redevelopment was heavy-handed, with the harbor being plastered with monotonous concrete walls. After a lot more fighting as Croatia separated itself from the failing Yugoslavia in 1995, steps were taken to improve Zadar’s lot. The north end of the Old Town peninsula was redesigned and vastly improved.

The Sea Organ opened to the public in 2005. There are only a few in the world, one being in San Francisco. The experience is well worth seeking out. Follow this link for a technical discussion of the organ design.

These marble steps are part of the Sea Organ. Note the vertical vents on the lower left side of the photo.

A few of the Sea Organ orifices are visible here at the lower right side of the photo.

Toward sunset, we walked several times a mile across town from our apartment to watch the sun disappear into the Adriatic Sea, and watch the LED lights turn on and play in the Monument to the Sun. We were always joined by hundreds of tourists and locals alike to enjoy these events.

Fiery sunset

Alfred Hitchcock quote

People at play on the Monument to the Sun after the sun had set.

We arrived in Zadar by bus from Split with all our belongings in packs on our back. By-the-way, we think this is the best way to travel, much easier than dragging suitcases over cobblestones. After settling in at our very nice apartment, we followed our host’s suggestion to have lunch at the pizzeria around the corner. We were delighted.

Our neighborhood pizzeria

As good as they come.

Walking toward town along the waterfront.

The Land Gate built in 1543 was our regular entry into the fortified Old Town.

Sometimes the water was quite disturbed.

Sometimes the water was placid in an unusual way.

The Old Town is closed off to vehicular traffic, so walking the narrow streets is a pleasure, and quiet, too.

Narrow streets, paved with limestone blocks, polished by foot traffic, I suppose.

Plenty of tables for two.

Fellow with a stylish haircut.

A color spot in an inner courtyard

Traditional barber shop. Many signs are in English.

We crossed a small park that contained a number of bronze busts. I photographed one at random. It was of Šime Budinič, a 16th century writer who developed a written language based on Slavic Cyrillic. He used this to translate Latin texts into an orthography that Slavic people could read.

Šime Budinič – 16th century poet, priest and writer

Handicraft vendors peddling their wares along a main street.

Bullet holes in pavement dating from the 1995 Balkan war.

Circular Church of St. Donatus, dating from about 900AD, predates Romanesque style.

Inside this church was an exhibit of a huge statue, clothed in extensible shaving mirrors. Really!

Huge statue

Clothed in shaving mirrors.

Even the stony guy outside was in disbelief.

Man of the ages.

Outside the Church of St. Donatus and across from what’s left of the Roman Forum, I could see another church and bell tower.

Benedictine monastery from the 11th century.

Romanesque St. Chrysogonus Church with outdoor sculpture that looks like Superman.

Around the back side of St. Chrysogonus Church was a plaza with an inviting restaurant.

Zadar Jadera Restaurant, featuring seafood.

We start with the usual bread and olive oil.

I spring for the calamari.

We’re in for another feast. Gnocchi for Eva and skewered lamb for Suzi.

As the day wears on, light begins to fade and the streets and shops take on a warm tone. We head slowly back to our end of town.

Ice cream shop

Ice cream displays are a work of art.

Another view.

No cones inside, please.

Eva brand! We resist.

Inside of a souvenir shop. Look at the ancient floor tiles! Why is there a manhole cover inside the shop?

Down the main street, heading toward home.

Our last view of the bell tower. Notice the stairs inside.

Now we must say goodbye to Zadar and press on to our next stop, the island of Rab. See you there soon.

Hvar – Some Enchanted Island – in Croatia

Posted on May 29, 2018

We have found paradise and it is Hvar. If you want peace and quiet to write that novel in your head here’s a place with little to distract you. Good food; fresh, clean air; friendly folks; quiet (at least when out of season) with great views and trails to explore. We spent a week on Hvar Island in the village of Jelsa and wanted more time.

Panorama from our apartment at sunrise

When we arrived from Split by catamaran, our host met us at the ferry landing and walked with us up the hillside to our flat, all 201 steep steps upward.

Up we go, 201 concrete steps from the harbor.

From an alternate but usual way up, we take these steps, maybe dating from Roman times. Who knows?

Right on our heals, a rainstorm was coming in. We were inside before the clouds really dumped, with lightening and roaring thunder adding to the excitement.

Our host is showing Suzi where to find the bakery and grocery store.

Eva watches safely from the living room as rain pelts the house and thunder claps.

The ferry makes one 1.5 hour run a day between Split and Jelsa. It arrives at 18:00 and leaves again at 06:00, oh so early in the morning for vacationers.

In the evening, Jelsa lights up like a jewel.

The next morning was sparkling. By the time we were stirring the ferry was gone.

Suzi and I head off early enough to the grocery to start filling our larder for a week’s stay. Among the items we get is buckwheat bread, a specialty of the region, dense and so tasty.

The green grocer has opened by 8:00.

Mama has already sent her son out to buy some fresh veggies and fruit for the day.

The bakery is nearly out of goods. Have loaves flown off the shelf already, or are these left from the day before?

Here’s the harbor and center of activity.

Right at the harbor we find an outlet for the local wine cooperative.

We sample the red and the white wine from the tap. We buy a bottle of the red. He fills a recycled liter soda bottle for us.

Later we roam the few back streets of this ancient village.

This young lady would like to sell us some handmade items.

We head for the hills.

Climbing ever upwards

We pass an elder peddling herbed sherries.

A closer look

Our objective is the church up on the hillside.

Oh no, not more steps!

Flowers in a crannied wall

Another day we take a walk to a neighboring village. From our balcony we can see it in the distance. We pass small patches of vegetables, vineyards and olive trees, enough for home consumption but hardly enough to sell at market.

Past Jelsa

Into the countryside. Rock walls define parcels of ownership.

Ancient backroad

Spring flowers color old stone walls.

Our objective ahead

Into the stone hamlet

Concrete and stone, not a soul in sight.

We descend among olive trees and vines.

The way back is rocky and narrow, Jelsa beyond.

We re-enter Jelsa.

Jelsa town square, I suppose. Not too busy at the moment.

We are hot and thirsty after our walk under a cloudless sky and a searing sun. We find a pizzeria.

So inviting after a sweaty hike.

Cold beer hits the spot.

Pizza is good here, and ubiquitous throughout the town (and country). We devour two.

On another day we take a morning walk in another direction for different views of the bay.

The pines add so much atmosphere.

The water is crystal clear.

Beautiful Adriatic

Nearing town

The tiny boat harbor

This fish seems to know its fate on someone’s plate.

Restaurant sign on an unfinished wall. Getting time for lunch.

Excellent service

Time for seafood. Eva orders a tuna steak and Suzi seared tuna, fresh from the Adriatic.

I go for fried calamari.

Pirate ships loaded with tourists invade our shore.

We pass a bakery in the afternoon but the selection looks skimpy.

We settle for ice cream.

Spotlight on two happy gals

On our final day in Jelsa we take a walk along the shore in yet another direction.

Off we go.

Beautiful, clear water

View back onto Jelsa

We have dinner at the harbor plaza as evening sets in.

Ferry will leave with us on board at 06:00 tomorrow morning.

Tasty seafood dinner

Lights come on around the harbor.

A few evening strollers are still out and about.

On the back street it’s like medieval days, quiet, not a soul stirs.

We head for home.

Now we bid you all adieu.

Split – Ironed and Grilled

Posted on May 25, 2018

As you blog followers know all too well, my eye and camera get attracted like a magnet to life’s trivia and details. While wandering around Split for several days, I collected a number of photos of items that were made of metal. In particular, I got attracted to window and gate grills. They varied from mundane to ornate, and often required a lot of metalworking skill and design craftsmanship . In the States we often make do with off-the-shelf “burglar bars” and let it go at that.

Let me share these photos with you connoisseurs of small and insignificant things.

Gate



Mailbox

Tight space

This marked where we turned to our apartment. Very important.

Camouflaged railing

Door entry cover

Chicken wire

Art Nouveau style

Hand rail

Drain pipe protector

Bench along the promenade

Simple is OK, too

Unfinished paint job

Water

Metal

Really!

Creepy

The end

Split – Correction

Posted on May 22, 2018

I accidentally hit a wrong key and published the Split post before finishing it. All you followers need to do is click on the blog title and it will open in your browser fully corrected and finished.

In fact, whenever you get the posts by email, you should always click on the title so the photos open (and are so much bigger) in your browser.

Bob

Split – A Crown Jewel of the Croatian Coast

Posted on May 22, 2018

Our arrival by bus from Dubrovnik brings us right close to the long, fantastic promenade that ties the Old Town of Split to the pristine waterfront of the Adriatic Sea.

So Venetian in style

The Promenade

So many places to lounge and watch the people go by

Even a rainy day has its charm.

After a coffee and a bit of time to absorb the atmosphere of our new surroundings, we tote our packs up a slight hill just beyond the end of the promenade to our new apartment for the next four days.

It doesn’t take long for us to get used to climbing lots of stairs.

Thick stone walls exude history.

Since it’s 3:00 and high time for lunch, we ask our hostess for a recommendation. She suggests a small place right down the street.

Local trattoria

Seafood pasta is so very tasty.

Suzi delights in her salmon steak smothered in a fine sauce with a side of chard with garlic.

Split put itself on the map when Roman Emperor Diocletian, who was born here, built his palace and ruled the empire from Spit in the years around 300 AD.

Emperor Diocletian, not to be forgotten in Split.

Good parts of his palace remain, some as a museum, and some as a shopping emporium for the hordes of tourists who stream from cruise ships that dock nearby.

Inside the underground passages of Diocletian’s palace.

Cavernous, indeed, is the palace underground.

There’s lots of ruins above ground to see as well.

Palace and more recent buildings

Seats at the base of Roman columns belong to a coffee house, not a place for tourists to sit a spell.

This person found a free spot to relax.

Gotta get one more selfie, to go with the thousand other unforgettable ones.

Some people do selfies in style.

There’s more to see than old ruins. Let’s head for the nearby fish market.

Off with his head.

Don’t let me be next!

Nor me, says the eel.

Then there’s the farm market and associated cheese and meat stalls.

You want to get a head?

Maybe go whole hog.

You can see the kinds of things offered by Croatian restaurants.

Here’s a real visual.

Some cafes are tucked into tight quarters.

Some restaurants find grand venues.

But it never fails – restaurant staff are ready to strike as soon as you hesitate a moment in front of their place.

Not only food, but books are indulged, too. Bishop Grgur Ninski broke with the Pope and introduced the Croatian language into church services, back in 926. Now that was quite a feat. This strengthened both the language and the Christian faith, since most people at the time did not understand Latin.

Gregory of Nin. That finger is enough to tell he means business.

One fine morning we take a walk up to the nature preserve on Mt.Marjan. It’s quite a climb but the views from there worth the effort.

Right up from our apartment

Through nice pine forest

The route narrows with few others on the trail.

View from above. Two cruise ships and several ferries are in port.

The Old Town lies below.

Evening is coming on so we go out for a stroll. There’ll be a full moon tonight.

Evening is coming on.

Our local tavern

Fountain in front of Republic Square

Full moon rises over the promenade.

On our last morning we say goodbye to our host and her daughter.

A cutie

Ready for new adventures.

Then it’s off to the catamaran for a 1.5 hour ride to the island paradise of Hvar. See you there soon enough.

Dubrovnik, Croatia – Fortress Town on the Azure Adriatic Sea

Posted on May 22, 2018

People come from everywhere to visit this famous historic fortress town, clinging to the rocky Croatian coast. Although it is off-season now in early May, it seems as though everybody is already here.

We would have arrived by bus ourselves, but a friendly taxi driver offered us a good deal and drove us all the way from Herceg Novi in Montenegro, an hour’s drive away. At the border he removed his taxi medallion and became a regular guy. And a very nice guy at that.

Here we are, inside the high walls, seeking shade against 86 degree heat (30º C).

We’re staying in a nice apartment a couple of miles outside the Old Town, where the walk into town is so very scenic, high above the sea.

Along the way into town. Note the swimmers below.

We enter via the main gate.

A huge orange tree by the main gate

Here come the throngs.

What an ancient town it is.

Down the main street we go.

We try to reach the tourist office by voice mail but get no response.

The tourist office is behind the heavy wooden doors.

It’s warm and the main relief is ice cream.

We walk around on the outside of the wall to the marina.

Look how clear and clean the water is, and so colorful.

Clear as a bell

Right early one morning, Suzi and Eva get to the top of the local peak for a fine, classic view of Dubrovnik. Eva takes the cable car and Suzi climbs up the path. Both walk the stony route down.

Up on top is quite the viewpoint to see the red roofs of Old Town below.

Eva takes the easy way. Photo by Eva

Old Town within the walls. Photo by Eva

We of course like to wander the narrow side streets. We find out that most of them are filled with eateries of one sort or another.

The side streets are often less than two meters wide.

Here’s one restaurant row.

On a wider street the restaurants take turns on which side they occupy. Tourists meander accordingly.

We find an excellent place for a most tasty meal.

There are actually a few out of the way places to discover.

Housing above the street

The preferred place to dry laundry

A colorful spot

More color

Not everyone is pleased with our presence.

Hey, I’m not happy, either.

The heat gets to us. It’s ice cream time.

I dive into this sinful banana split.

One evening Eva and I go to the opera – The New York Metropolitan Opera. It’s showing in HD video direct from New York in live time. Cinderella. The Massenet version. We had tried to reserve tickets online before we left on our trip but it was impossibly hard to do. We took our chances. Incredible but true, the performance is free of charge. We are told it’s free because it’s the last Met showing of the season. The experience is unforgettable.

The opera Cinderella is at the theater tonight.

We enter the main gate after dark.

View at intermission from the theater

Curtain call. Look at those outlandish costumes.

We head for home for a short night of sleep. Early next morning we take the bus to Split.

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