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Croatia & Montenegro

Hidden Treasures of the Adriatic

Vantage Deluxe World Travel

May 14 - 29, 2009

This travel adventure started out with the usual flights

from Binghamton, to Washington, to Frankfurt

and lastly to Zagreb, Croatia.  The fights and related

connections worked out very well and my suitcase

decided to accompany me this time!

Our first two nights were spent at this beautiful

five star hotel.  The Regent Esplanade Hotel was built for

the passengers of the Orient Express train to stay at

while traveling across Europe.  It had been recently refurbished

and was a grand experience. 

Mirogoj Cemetery.  We started out the first morning in

Zagreb with the traditional city tour. Above is the

entrance to the cemetery. 

Many of the burial sites were adorned with statues and flowers.

At midmorning, we had a necessary potty break at a

park near the cemetery. 

From the cemetery we rode our bus to downtown Zagreb. 

Above is the Cathedral of the Assumption of Virgin Mary

and St. Stephen.  It was a large structure that was

undergoing a complete exterior cleaning.

In front of the Cathedral a group of Croatian ladies

were sing for the visitors to the this part of the city.

We walked down a nearby street and came upon the

Saturday market.  This stall was selling fresh fruits. 

Note the large piles of red cherries.  There other stands

selling fresh strawberries.  This was a particularly 

pretty setting with all the red umbrellas.

A funicular connects the area of the main square with

the upper city.  When you ride the funicular you arrive a

the Lotrscak Tower.   A small cannon located in the upper

right window of the tower that fires a shot each day at noon.

This fountain statue located in the small Jezuitski Square 

in the upper city depicts a Fisherman with a Snake. 

The Coats of Arms on St. Mark's roof depicts the

Kingdoms of Croatian, Dalmatian and Slovenia.

Sunday morning was a time "at leisure" for our group. 

I elected to tour some other spots in Zagreb we did not visit. 

I first went over to the city train station which was just behind

our hotel.  It was very busy with numerous passenger trains

arriving and leaving for various cities in Croatia.  Above is a relic

of earlier days of railroading in Croatia.  It has earned a very

nice location near the station.

People hurrying to catch their train.

A statue of Spomenik Kralju Tomislavu one of Croatia's

heroes located in large park that went from the train station

to very near the city's main square.

Sunday afternoon, we flew to Dubrovnik, a one hour flight,

then we were bussed to Budva, Montenegro, a two hour and thirty

minute buss ride for our second stop of the tour.  Above is the

entrance to our Budva hotel, the Queen.  It was very nice and had

a great view of the Adriatic  coast line.  They had their own

beach that was fun to walk on.

On our first full day in Montenegro, we were bussed to Kotor,

a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Gulf of Kotor. 

This walled city was very interesting.  Above is the city's

clock tower located on the main square.

Never miss a chance to get to know the locals!

Cathedral of St. Tripun erected in 1611.

As we drove up into the mountains toward our next stop

we had a great view of the city of Kotor

and the Gulf of Kotor.

We stopped at small inn in the Montenegro Mountains

where we had locally made cheese, cured ham and brandy.

Interestingly, Montenegro means Black Mountains

in the local language.

During our third stop of the day, we visited Cetinje,

the Royal Capital of Montenegro.  Above is the Royal Castle of King Nikola. 

It is now a museum showing artifacts of the king's rule.

The mausoleum of King Nikola and Queen Milena

located near the Royal Castle.

Standing guard in front of the Royal Castle.

We had a late lunch after our stop in Cetinje.  This is a

late afternoon view of the Budva coastline as

we drive back to our hotel.

We passed a new hotel under construction in Budva. 

Montenegro like Croatia is working hard to

revitalize its resort business. 

Day 6, found our hearty group of tourists off to visit

Sveti Stefan (Saint Stephen's). This small island was a very

popular tourist stop before the local war.  Now it is deserted,

waiting for someone to repair and remodel the buildings there.

Our next stop was at the Medieval old town of Budva.  This is the

marina next to the old town.  We toured the part of the City Fortress

called the Citadel.   We had a delightful evening dinner and local

folk show on the patio of the Citadel. 

The Citadel flag flies high in the afternoon breeze.

The next morning it as some time at leisure before we began

our 3 hour bus ride to Dubrovnik.  This a scene from

Boka Kotorska (Boka Bay) along the way.  Located

in the Bay is a man made island where  the

"Lady of the Rocks" church is found. 

Another island on Boka Bay.

Dubrovnik viewed from a roadside stop.  We have made

good time and will be at our hotel in a few minutes.

Our home in Dubrovnik for the next three nights.  I loved

this hotel as my room had a set of windows and louvered

doors that opened on to the Adriatic Sea.  Cool sea

breezes made for great sleeping. 

Fort Lovrijenac

Main Street, Placa Stradun with Bell Tower

in the background.

Stone Masons were busy in the shade of an

umbrella fixing the Main Street.

Cathedral Treasury.

Dubrovnik marina.

The view of the city wall from a boat.  Fred and I took a

glass bottom boat ride around the old city and Lokrum Island. 

Unfortunately our boat's engine died half way through the cruise. 

An interesting time!

This boat was summoned to rescue us by means

of a cell phone.  We were able to finish our boat ride around the

island which included a brief view of the island's nude beach.

The Excelsior Hotel from the water.

Another group of Mason's facing a stone wall.  It was the

warmest month of May on record during our stay on Croatia. 

These workmen were using umbrellas everyday to stay cool. 

This work was really tough due to the fact that they were using

only sledge hammers and chisels with

mallets to break up the stone.

Dubrovnik has become a very popular tour stop for ocean

liners sailing on the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas.

Traveling friends, Fred, Connie, Jay, Susan & John.

Day 9 found our tour visiting the seaside resort of Cavtat. 

Sail boats are found in all the harbors and marinas. 

The sailing in this region is a sailors dream.

Our second stop of the morning was at a water driven

Mill where grains are ground into flour.  Above is the mill

building, the water comes from above

the building in the rear.

The Miller was grinding corn into flour this day.

We were scheduled to have lunch at the Mill. 

The Miller has just uncovered fresh baked

bread that will be served to us along with

local ham and cheese.  Local wine was also offered

our group.  It was a very delicious meal!

Making a new friend!

As we drive away from Dubrovnik, we are greeted by a large valley

with all kinds of produce being grown.  Our time of travel today

is 6 hours with a stop in the seaside city of Split, Croatia.

A photo a town on the northern Croatian coastline.

We also saw beautiful mountain lakes.

Harbor side cafe's at Split.

The front wall of the Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. 

This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

During the early afternoon, a group of Roman actors performed

for the assembled tourists inside the front gate of the Palace.

Roman ruins inside the Palace.

The Split Bell Tower,

Another seaside Adriatic city.

A muscle farm.  We saw several fish farms along the shore.

A marina as we drive along.  We saw thousands of sail

boats as we toured the various harbors along the coast.

Our hotel in Sibenik, Croatia.  This was part of a very large

resort complex.  The rooms were not up to the earlier

standard but it was for only two nights.  Being the weekend

the hotel was rather crowded.

On day eleven, we traveled to Krka National Park and with

its many waterfalls.  There were dozens of big and

little waterfalls created as the water was carried

down from the mountains to the sea.

The park also had a water driven grist mill. 

They too were grind corn into flour. 

One of the more picturesque waterfalls.

After our visit to the National Park we went to the priest's

home for lunch.  It was an interesting meal.  We were served a hearty

country soup and then heaping plates of cooked anchovies were served. 

The fish were the size of green beans.   There did not seem to be

much enthusiasm for the fish course by our group.

A stone hut like those placed in the field to provide

shelter for field workers when it rained.

One of several garden's at the priest's home.

Croatian Mountain's along the way.

Notice the long bridge connecting Krk Island to the mainland.

Our last seaside stop was at Opatija.  Above is the Milenji Hotel. 

Its location was perfect.  Seaside and a almost downtown location. 

A five star hotel in every way.

The "Statue of a lady with the seagul".

A marina behind our hotel with the city in the background.

We left our hotel early for a bus tour of the Istrian region,

named for the Istrian Peninsula. The coastal town of Pula

was the principal stop this morning.  Above is city

Clock Tower and St. Marija Cathedral.

 

The 'Temple of Augustus' was built between 2 BC and AD 14

during the great reconstruction of the colony.

Trumphal Arch of the Sergi.

Amphitheatre of Pula, Croatia

For lunch today and sightseeing we went to the seaside

village of Rovinj.  The Saint Euphemia Church

dominates the city of Rovinj.

The Bell Tower of Rovinj.

On day 14, I had an optional tour to the spectacular

Postojna Caves in Slovenia.  Above is the

entrance building for the caves.

This is one of the electric locomotives that once
pulled the passenger cars two kilometers into the caves.

Inside the caves.  We walked for about one and a half hours

with a guide.  It was a real herd activity.  Because we were mixed up

with a Japanese group you had to be alert to where you

were walking.  This caused me to not see as much

of the caves as I would have like. 

You were not supposed to take pictures in the caves

but everyone did!  The Japanese tourists were non

stop in taking photos at every point in the tour.

Boarding the electric train for the trip out of the caves.

The wind had picked up when while we were on the

cave trip.  It was much cooler outside.  These brave souls

were enjoying the sea spray and wind.

On our last morning of the tour, we had a optional

"Rivera Boat Trip" along the coast near Opatija.

 

Scenery from the boat!

Our last stop of the morning was at the

Village of Moscenice.

  The village water fountain.

The Bell Tower of the village church.

Our last stop in the village was at their olive press.

This stone wheel was used to press

olive to release the oil.

A last look at the beautiful seashore line of Croatia.

~

This was a great tour.  Many beautiful sights.  Warm friendly people.  Interesting things to see and experience.   Great weather!

I hope these photos bring back memories to those individuals who went on the trip.  For those who were not lucky enough to travel to Croatia and Montenegro, I hope this gives you a picture of this  how beautiful and friendly these two countries can be.  It is hard to pick interesting photos from a collection of almost a thousand shots taken.  I have tried my best to provide a representative cross-section of scenes representing interesting parts of the trip.

Happy Travels!