Bok (hello) and Dobrodošao (welcome) to our blog!
08/31/2019 - 08/31/2019
Many of you have asked us. "Why Croatia?"...so let's start with that. When visiting the Philadelphia Travel Show, we met Jane Ruth and her husband, Jay, founders of Niche Touring. Jane and Jay organize and lead small group tours to Croatia twice a year, in May and September. Their "niche" is a focus on straying "off the beaten path." Their trips offer more personal experiences with stays in smaller, often family-owned accommodations and visits to smaller family-operated restaurants and vineyards. That sounded delightful to us.
Let's begin with a little historical background: The Eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea is known as the Dalmatian Coast. Dalmatia's name is derived from an ancient tribe (the Dalmatae) who lived in the area of the eastern Adriatic coast in the 1st millennium BC. (In case you wondered, this also is the area of origin of the Dalmatian dog.) Croatia is part of the region formerly known as Yugoslavia. After World War I, six Slavic states were consolidated to form Yugoslavia, which translates to "Land of the South Slavs." While the inhabitants spoke a common language, the regions had different histories, beliefs, and distinct identities. After World War II, Yugoslavia was subdivided along ethnic lines into six republics, governed under communist rule by Marshal Tito ("President for Life"). After Tito's death in 1980 and the fall of communism, the Yugoslavian union began to pull apart. In 1991, Slovenia and Croatia each declared their independence, and as each region asserted itself, there was domestic strife that included nationalistic "ethnic cleansing." The Croatian War of Independence ended in 1995, with the Bosnian conflict sometimes referred to as "a war within a war." I suspect that we will be learning a lot more about this as the trip unfolds.
Let's end this prologue with a fun fact: Croatia is the birthplace of the necktie. In the early 17th Century, Croatian soldiers would be given a narrow scarf by a loved one to symbolize love and remembrance, and thousands of Croatian soldiers wore them when they were sent to France to fight in the Thirty Years' War. It is said that King Louis XIV admired these jaunty neckerchiefs and took to wearing one himself. Voilà ...a new fashion was born. King Charles II of England, who was in exile in France during this time jumped on the fashion bandwagon, eventually returning to England with what the French called a "croate." The word eventually morphed into "cravat" (a synonym for necktie). Love them or hate them, thank the Croatians for the necktie.
If all goes as planned, we will leave Philadelphia at 6:50 PM tonight (Saturday, 8/31), and after connecting flights in Zurich and Zagreb, will (finally) arrive in Split. Thanks for following along and let the trip begin....
No photos today.