Adriatic Treasures: Croatia to Venice
Mike and Judy Henderson
September 13-29, 2019
I'm going to leave the map at the start of each page so you can see where we are.
9/15/2019 (Sunday) We enjoyed waking up late this morning and seeing the view of the Old City from our balcony - it's not very far from our hotel.
After having breakfast in the hotel we headed to the Old City to walk the walls. The fee to walk the walls is 200 Kuna, which is about $30 US per person. It's a popular tourist activity.
The wall walk going completely around the city is 1.2 miles. I took a bit more than two hundred pictures during the walk but I won't bore you with them all :-)
Here's a view of the Old City from the walls.
And part of the walk.
The north side of the city wall.
Judy took this picture of me. She said that I'm always taking pictures of her so turn-around is fair play.
It was fairly warm on the walk, but not as hot as it was in Egypt:-)
After our walk we went to one of the cafes to sit and cool off with a cold drink. Then it was back to the hotel to work on this blog and prepare for our first Tauck get-together at 6:15 this evening.
At 6:15 we met in one of the hotel meeting rooms. Our tour guide is Matt Mazanec. This picture doesn't do him justice - he's usually smiling but I caught him as he was listening to a guest.
Our group is fairly small - about 25 people once everyone arrives. One couple had flight problems and did not arrive until Monday.
Here are Bonnie and Marguerite. Bonnie is from Madisonville, Louisiana. For those familiar with the New Orleans area, Madisonville is across the lake, sort of northeast from Mandeville.
Prior to going to dinner we had an interesting lecture from Dr. Lovro Kunčević about the history of Croatia and the surrounding area.
One of the slides from his talk.
Then we took a coach to Proto Fish Restaurant in the Old City. Across the table from us were Paul and Julie from Beverly, MA. Julie's son and his wife have a bee business in Beverly, MA called Beverly Bees (I'm also a beekeeper). Dr. Kunčević joined us about half-way through dinner and answered a lot of questions we had about Croatia, both past and present.
Near the end of the meal a local singing group arrived to entertain us. They sang a variety of songs, some in the local language, some in Spanish and some in English (including California Dreaming). They harmonized very well.
But then it was late and many of us were fading (although Al claims to have just been focusing on the music). We boarded the coach back to the hotel. Unfortunately for Judy and me, the dreaded 3am wide-awake struck us again. And this time we couldn't get back to sleep.
9/16/2019 (Monday) Our tour starts this morning at 8:30 when we board the coach for the day's activities. The first stop was at the Dubrovnik Cable Car which goes up to the top of Srđ Hill.
Here's what the cable car looks like.
From the top we had a good view of the Old Town. It's really not a big area. I couldn't get a picture without the cables from the cable car.
Tauck had a photographer take a group photo at the top of the cable car ride.
After descending we went for a walk through the Old City.
Our local guide, Paulina.
At the end of the main street, Stradun, she pointed out the St. Saviour Church, a 16th Century church which survived the earthquake of 1667 which destroyed about 80% of the buildings in Dubrovnik. Here's another link to the story of the 1667 earthquake.
It was damaged during the siege of Dubrovnik of 1991-1992 and they've left the shrapnel damage as a memento to the war. The siege of Dubrovnik was part of the larger Yugoslav Wars of 1991 to 2001. Paulina and her family were refugees for more than a year.
I should add a comment here that Dubrovnik has been destroyed and re-built several times in it's history. Although the walled area is called the "Old City" essentially everything in it is new and modern - either rebuilt or renovated.
Judy and I had already explored the Old City, so this tour was essentially a repeat of what we did yesterday.
We made our way to the port area where we boarded this boat for a water tour.
The group on board the boat. As you can see, it's a small group, which is nice.
We sailed around the walls of the city, which allowed us to see the city as it would have been seen by sailors in antiquity approaching the city (here from the north).
The we sailed around Lokrum Island which is just off the coast near Dubrovnik. Here's another description of the island.
Kayaking is popular around the island.
It's a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.
And there's even a nude beach.
After we finished our loop around the island and were headed back to the port, we passed the quarantine building. Back in the 14th Century when deadly diseases, such as the Black Plague, were ravaging countries, the Republic of Ragusa decreed that anyone coming into the country must undergo a month of quarantine. This building, the Lazzarettos of Dubrovnik, was built in late 16th and early 17th Century to implement this quarantine.
After the boat ride, Judy and I went to a cafe for lunch.
When we got back to the hotel Judy wanted to put her feet in the Adriatic, so we went down to the waterfront at the hotel and Judy got her feet wet. There are very few real sand beaches on this rocky coastline.
We departed the hotel on a coach at 2:30 and headed to the Karaman Winery.
They grow the Malvasia grape that is traditional to this area to make their wine.
Here's our group in the tasting area of the winery.
The proprietor, who has a faint resemblance to Meryl Streep, holds one of the awards for their wine. She proudly explained in Croatian the accomplishments of their winery. Translations followed.
We each received a bottle of their Malvasia (white) wine as a gift from Tauck.
Next we went to the atelier of a local artisan who raises silkworms, harvests the silk and produces hand embroidery using the silk.
Here we are on the second floor. The artisan was preparing to give us a talk about her work.
Here she is, with some of her work on the wall behind her.
She began by showing us the traditional costume of the area.
In her work area she had some of the silkworms.
Here are a few that had started making cocoons.
And a close up of a cocoon that a moth has come out of. The moth chews its way out of the cocoon and destroys the value of the cocoon for making silk so the cocoon has to be processed before the moth exits. She shared her excitement and dedication to the silk-making process, and she is a true artist.
Then we headed back to the hotel. The sunset was spectacular and I took this picture of Judy and the sunset over the Old City.
Later we went to dinner and had a view of the fading sunset from the restaurant terrace.
Tomorrow is an early day as we head to Montenegro.
Our adventure continues here.