Page 4 of buddymedbery Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Montenegro » Kotor » Kotor August 20th 2016

The drive from Dubrovnik to Kotor Montenegro is a short one, but it involves a change in worlds. Croatia is blessed with a beautiful coast extending for hundreds of miles of shoreline, including islands. The bounteous sun is almost ever-present, and tourists are plentiful. As a result, they have had the money to invest in their infrastructure and it shows. Roads are well-constructed and well-maintained. Hotels are everywhere, and restaurants plentiful. Almost everyone speaks English, a virtual necessity in the tourist trade. The parliamentary government is apparently well-organized, and the population is relatively homogeneous. Croatia has emerged from the break-up of the old Yugoslavia and the resulting civil war with a bright future, realizable now. As far as I can tell, the same is true for Slovenia, although we did not see as much there. It ... read more
View from our pension near Kotor
Mussel farm in Bay of Kotor
St.Tryphon's Cathedral, Kotor

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik August 19th 2016

In the early afternoon of April 13, 1944, a flight of B-24 Liberator bombers were loaded with over 10,000 pounds of bombs, fueled, belched smoke from their engines as they started, made the difficult taxi to the main runway at Giulia airfield near Foggia IT, and took off into the clear air. As the flight formed up, they headed on course of 2440 true, a course that would take them over Yugoslavia and on to their target of Budapest. At least one never made it. Coming in over the Yugoslavia coast it was hit by antiaircraft fire, and began to lose altitude. Three men made it out with parachutes, including the right waist gunner, the navigator, and the tail turret gunner. All the others died when it crashed about 15 miles from the coast in what ... read more
Ploce Gate, Dubrovnik
Jennie on the ramparts of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik ramparts

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Split August 18th 2016

Although the city of Split was founded as a Greek colony in about 400 BCE, all that we know of it currently comes from the fact that Diocletian was the first Roman emperor to retire from rule, and did so when he moved to a new palace he had constructed at Split. The palace had walls that were 50-70 feet high and enclosed about 9.5 acres. With abundant water supplied by an aqueduct from the Jadro spring, and with the palace fronting on the sea to allow easy escape in case of attack, it represented a safe and secure place for refuge. The palace was finished in 305. Following the death of Diocletian in 311, the palace was apparently virtually abandoned, but was later reoccupied by Flavius Julius Nepos, the last emperor of the western half ... read more
Souvenir shops in entrance passageway
Niches for Roman gods in apse of St. John's Church
St. John's Church

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Zadar August 17th 2016

Today was a "beat feet" drive to Zadar, with no dawdling along the way. Zadar is one of several old towns along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, and the current Old Town goes back to the middle ages, although historical evidence of this as an important seafaring town goes back several centuries BCE. Zadar is the largest city in Dalmatia, and the fifth largest in Croatia. It is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the country. Zadar was heavily bombed during World War II, at least in part because Yugoslavian partisans greatly overstated the German presence there in order to further their own power ambitions. There was no important industrial target, and Zadar has sometimes been called the "Dresden of the Adriatic" because of the heavy bombing of a militarily unimportant target. From a tourist standpoint, ... read more
Sign for upcoming maraschino festival
9th century Church of St. Donatus
Interior of Church of St. Donatus

Europe » Croatia » Istria » Pula August 16th 2016

I have been fascinated by the Roman arena in Pula since I first saw the Il Divo video with them singing Amazing Grace there, and that led me here several years ago, and back again today. The Pula Arena is the most complete remaining arena in existence, and one of the 6 largest in existence. Completed in 81 CE, it was long abandoned after the outlawing of gladiatorial contests and fight between prisoners condemned to death. Today it is used for the Pula Film Festival and for various concerts, including artists such as Elton John, Pavarotti, David Gilmour, Sinead O'Connor, and many others. After touring the arena, we elected for an early supper, and had a great repast of grilled branzino and pasta with truffles. A note on the truffles: Istria is famous particularly for the ... read more
Pula Arena
Pula Arena
Pula Arena

Europe » Slovenia August 16th 2016

There is a lot I can't tell you about Slovenia. I cannot speak to the cultural traditions, the traditional dress, the appearance of the cities. Although we stayed near Ljubljana, we did not go into the city center. But what I can tell you about is the beauty of the countryside, and particularly the stunning sights of the Soca River Valley and Slovenia's only national park, Triglav. The latter ranks with the best in the world, and drew comparisons in our group to Yosemite. Leaving Opatija, we headed northward then westward to start up the Soca River valley, culminating in the park. Slovenia has sometimes been called the "green heart of Europe", and the meaning of that sobriquet was obvious on our drive. From what we saw, the vast majority of the country, other than its ... read more
Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park
Triglav National Park

Europe » Croatia » Istria » Rijeka August 14th 2016

Car rental companies do now allow you to rent an automobile in Italy and take it into the former Eastern Bloc countries, such as the countries that formerly formed Yugoslavia. Therefore, we had to take a bus from Trieste to Rijeka in Croatia and pick up the rental cars there, which turned out to be somewhat of an adventure. We got off the bus in town, and took taxis out to the airport, about 30 minutes away. When we got there, the rental office was closed, and while we were working through options the only person in the airport came over and told us we would have to leave since he was closing the airport. We managed to get through to the rental company and after some delay of a little over half an hour were ... read more

Europe » Italy » Friuli-Venezia Giulia » Trieste August 13th 2016

I have visited, and written about Venice before. I will only say that sitting in the Piazza San Marco and drinking limoncello and perhaps having an ice cream sundae while the orchestras play is one of the favorite activities in my life. I have visited, and written about, Trieste before, so I will say little here. But I have always thought of Trieste as an exotic destination. Perhaps it came from the 1956 National Geographic story. Or perhaps conflation with the deep-diving bathysphere of the same name. But it has seemed a far-flung outpost. I like visiting there. It has monumental buildings right on the sea, and our hotel this time was on the square (Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia) that has been called the most lovely square facing the sea in Europe, and certainly the largest. Our ... read more
Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia
Roman Theater
Night street

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris June 23rd 2016

Today was a last look at Paris. WE tried to hook up with Marianne and Dean, but communications difficulties interfered, so the four of us were on our own. We started with coffee and a continental breakfast near Notre Dame, then went to Place de la Bastille. The police presence there was unbelievable as the result of yesterday's labor law protests and riots at that square. A short walk took us to Place des Vosges, and a visit to the Victor Hugo House Museum, of moderate interest. A snack and bottle of provencal rose wine on the Champs-Elysee and we were on our way back to our airport hotel. Tomorrow, back to USA. Will be glad to get back home, but THOROUGHLY enjoyed this trip and look forward to our next one.... read more
Place de la Bastille, Paris
Police vans near Place de la Bastille
Last view of Arc de Triomphe

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris June 22nd 2016

We thought this day was going to be a simple day of visiting two of the Loire Valley châteaus and then driving back to Paris to turn in the rental car. After visiting the chateaus, however, it turned into a test of wills between us and the Paris traffic. I cannot begin to tell you how bad it is. It took us about 2-½ hours to go about 35 km. Ughhhhh The Loire Valley has a number of large châteaus, mostly along the river itself. The Loire Valley was the seat of government for centuries, until the middle of the 16th century, when King Francois I moved the seat to Paris. Even after that time, the valley remained the chosen place of residence or of retreat for many prominent citizens who built large châteaus. Some of ... read more
Moat, Château de Chenonceau
Chapel, Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau

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