Gerry Kataoka


Gerry Kataoka

Instead of a long discourse on where I have been, how about I ask you to read something I have written that might interest you. And likewise, please share with me some of your best adventures and thoughts?
People ask, where is your favorite place? Two actually, the Amazon rainforest, and Angkor complex in Siem Reap. But then again, I enjoy many places, having been to all fifty of our United States. I love our National Parks.
I don't count places, but I do count experiences and friends.

Europe » Montenegro » Kotor » Kotor May 22nd 2022

Another country straddling the east and west is Montenegro. And sitting just south southeast of Croatia, it might be a good place to spend a few days. Landing in Dubrovnik, I am so close to Montenegro, why not? Montenegro has been independent since 2006, with a vote ending the Union of Serbia and Montenegro, both remnants of the former Yugoslavia. The split was brokered by the EU to stabilize the area, and prevent further Balkan skirmishes. Montenegro means "black mountains", and borders Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Half of the country is covered by dense forest. They also enjoy an Adriatic coastline, and the Tara River Canyon, the deepest and longest in Europe. With a relatively small population (633,000), and only 5333 square miles, Montenegro is relatively small (about the size of Connecticut). ... read more
Cute inlet city
Sveti Stefan

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Mljet May 20th 2022

It seems every state in the US, and every country that I visit has a wine region. Croatia is no exception, with a big plus. In fact, it is a world class connection, in the person of Miljenko "Mike" Grgic of Napa Valley fame. He left Croatia back in 1954, and became perhaps the most famous winemaker in the world when his 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay won a blind tasting in Paris, aka the Judgment of Paris. He later established Grgic Hills Cellar in (Rutherford) Napa Valley, and is a most respected winemaker. The recent war, 1990-95 for Croatian independence wiped out most of the country's viticulture. But with great weather and geography for wine, Croatia has returned with over 100 indigenous grapes. With numerous microclimates, Vitis vinifera L (the cultivated grapevine) has found the exact ... read more
Grgich Hills, Napa
Dalmatian wine bar

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik May 19th 2022

The Croats use a peka, a dome or bell-shaped terracotta, cast iron, or steel lid that is heated by burning wood beneath it. After it is heated, the food to be cooked is placed in a round tray underneath the peka. The peka is used primarily to cook fish or octopus. But potatoes and vegetables are always a welcome addition, often becoming the star of the dish (who else says that?). The potatoes tend to suck up the flavor of the meat or fish. Peka is an ancient technique, often using an outdoor fireplace, specifically built for peka. It is a slow cooking method, allowing the flavors and aromas to blend perfectly. It is believed to be an adaptation of primitive techniques of baking ingredients in clay, for people who could not afford ovens. Now, peka ... read more
A typical peka dish
The peka oven
Octopus, peka style

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Mljet May 19th 2022

One of the great joys of visiting a country for the first time is the food. Then maybe the coffee, wine, or native beverages. But food comes first. I don't necessarily have a favorite, since I grew up on a variety of both American, Japanese, and Armenian food. But if I had to pick a few favorites, I would choose Peru, Romania, Japan (of course), Hong Kong, and Hungary. Croatia has a riches of seafood along the coast, and a tradition of meat dishes further inland. I enjoy both, so I want to try a little of everything! Here are a few that I want to try. Black risotto A squid risotto using squid ink to make the black color. Add some seafood like mussels, clams, and other shellfish. They say both your teeth and your ... read more
Croatian pasta
Croatian scampi

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Mljet May 18th 2022

After visiting countries around the world, not much can cause culture shock to me. But the experts say to be prepared when visiting Croatia. Croatia is a blend of at least four distinct cultures, with the Illyrian movement the most significant. Croatia is the origin of the cravat, or the precursor to what we know today as the modern necktie, though few wear them anymore. The first order of business is to register with the police within 48 hours of arrival, unless I am booked into a hotel or group tour. I am booked into both, with the first night in Split, then my cycle and cruise down the Dalmatian Coast. All tourists must pay a daily tourist tax, including Croatians staying away from their place of permanent residence! This applies to those staying in private ... read more
Great idea!

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Korcula May 17th 2022

Known as the sleepy island, Korcula was founded by the ancient Greeks, then became part of the Roman Empire. Eventually, it became part of the Venetian Republic for four centuries. Korcula is quirky Gothic-Renaissance mixed with a strong siesta tradition. They also insist that the great explorer, Marco Polo was born here in 1254. Who am I to argue with the Venetians? The town is also famous for shipbuilding and the traditional Moreska sword dance. Maybe my buddy Paul will demonstrate that for us at dinner tonight? Bottom line, there is little to do here besides taking it easy. Kick back at a cafe, or lounge on the beach! The main town is also called Korcula (kohr-CHEW lah). Since the town claims Marco Polo, though he sailed under the Venetian Republic, and was technically a Venetian, ... read more
Korcula cycling path??

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Hvar May 15th 2022

Hvar is a long and slim island that lies almost perpendicular ti the Dalmatian coast. Hvar Town is the capital and sits on the southwest corner of the island. It was ruled for centuries by Venice, and it was one of the first safe ports of call for ships traveling to and from the Orient. The town square opens onto the waterfront. It is home to the Renaissance Katedrala Sv Stjepena (Cathedral of St. Stephen). Also on the square is the Palace Hektorovic, dating from the 15th century. Stari Grad in the north part of the island was founded in the 4th century. You know I am not much for these historic buildings. Hvar is famous for its lavender, best seen in later May and June. Lavender, honey, and agave are plentiful here. Makarska is wedged ... read more
The party island

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Split May 15th 2022

My cycling cruise, originally scheduled for October, was pushed to May of this year. And I am hoping Putin's senseless war does not interefere with my plans. If you have not heard of Croatia's Dalmatian coast, it is about time you learn more about it. From Fodor's: If Croatia’s url= Coast isn’t already on your travel radar, you’re going to want to add it immediately. Nearby countries like Italy and Greece have long reveled in the spotlight as established European beach destinations; however, Croatia only began attracting tourists after it claimed independence in 1991 following decades of quasi-communist rule. Now, Croatia’s stunning coastline is quickly becoming a European hotspot. Picturesque Islands like ... read more
Split green market

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Split May 14th 2022

This cycling trip has changed more times than an untrained baby in diapers. We started planning this trip in 2019, and (so far), the trip has been postponed at least 3 times!!! But it will be worth it, as my dear friends, Paul and Christina are great friends, dedicated cyclists, and great story tellers. The Dalmatian Coast is one of the best for cycling, beaches, historical sites, wine, and just hanging out. We start and end in Split, though I would love to visit Dubrovnik as well. Split is known for its beaches and fortress like complex at its center, Diocletian Palace, erected by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the 4th century. Once home to thousands, its sprawling remains now include more than 200 buildings. Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards and galleries ... read more
Great fun!
Great views
Great exercise

Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Split May 14th 2022

How about this for an interesting place? Although some tourist destinations have us saying, “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there,” you’ll never say, “let’s split,” in Split, Croatia. It’s one of those few destinations you won’t want to leave. Mountains and sea meet, making for breathtaking scenery, and when you cross the Old City Wall Gate, you’re stepping back in time. The lively city on the Dalmatian Coast offers coastal boardwalks stretching into the sparkling Adriatic waters; enough bars, shops, and restaurants to satisfy even the most snobbish of gourmands; and of course Diocletian’s Palace, a 4th-century Roman monument that forms half of Split’s Old Town. I arrive here the day before I embark on my cycling and cruise of the Dalmatian coast. I think I need to explore ... read more
Split harbor
Fabulous Riva in Split

Tot: 0.087s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 11; qc: 65; dbt: 0.0158s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb