A Travellerspoint blog

Cavtat - Day 9 Monday 9/9

On the road again...

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Before leaving Bosnia, we stopped to see the village of Počitelj, a settlement built by Bosnia's King Stjepan Tvrtko in 1383. The village is considered to be an open air museum. Let us share with you some of the gorgeous sites.

Perched high atop the hill is Sahat-kula, a silo-shaped fort overlooking the village. It was used to house watchmen and military to guard against possible invasion.


You can see the minaret of the Hajji Alija mosque, which was built in 1563. The mosque sustained significant damage in the war, but was restored in 2002.


Here are some views from our walk into the city. Note the fig tree growing through the wall.


There was some significant uphill climbing.


There were many stands with homemade products. Look at these beautiful paper cones full of dates, nuts, and other goodies.


We crossed the border to return to Croatia, taking the coastal route to Dubrovnik. Along the way, we passed through Metkovic, the delta growing area, where the fresh water meets the sea. It has been dubbed "Little California."


We made a stop in the town of Ston, where we admired the Wall of Ston, which is the second longest continuous wall in the world (exceeded only by the Great Wall of China). Only about three miles remain, but they were believed to have covered at least five miles when built in the 14th Century.


Ston is also known for its ancient salt production.


This statue represents the importance of "a pinch of salt."


Here is the arched gate of the town, and a few other views.


The interior of the church was closed, but here is the exterior.


Last, but not least, Ston is famous for its oyster beds, and we had the opportunity to experience these delicious gems. Charlie did not share the enthusiasm of most of the group. No problem, I ate his!


From Ston, we traveled along the "Dubrovnik Riviera" to our hotel in Cavtat. The Greeks established a city here in the 6th Century BC (Epidaurum), and it was renamed Cavtat in the Middle Ages. We caught a glimpse of Dubrovnik on our way.


We checked into our final "home" in Croatia, Villa Pattiera, where we will spend our last four nights.


We had time to poke around the charming seaside town.


The Church of St. Nicholas was open.


We took a long walk all around the peninsula. The area reminded me of Maine. Little beach "clubs" are set up right along the rocks.


Before dinner, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.


Photos are tagged Croatia, Mostar and Cavtat

Posted by Cybercsp 01:29 Archived in Croatia Tagged croatia mostar cavtat Comments (1)

Mostar - Day 8 Sunday 9/8

An early start...

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This morning, we bid farewell to Komiža with a 6 AM departure. We arrived in Vis City by 6:30, and had time for a short walk-about as the sun was rising.


Jane had packed each of us a breakfast sack, which we ate on the 7:30 AM ferry that took us from Island Vis to Split. Here are some sailaway views.


After docking in Split, we met a private coach that took us to the neighboring country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We were sorry to have to say goodbye to Josip, who has driven us thus far. We are now in the hands of Zoran, riding in a full size bus that holds 50 people. We are 15...so we have lots of room.

Zoran's mom met us at the van/bus transfer with cheeses, prosciutto, bread, wine and chocolate liquer. This country is seriously a feeding frenzy. Food as love.

Crossing the border from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina took close to an hour. Fortunately, we were able to remain on the bus while our passports were presented by Zoran.

At about 2 PM, we checked into our hotel, the City Star Hotel. Here are photos of our room.


Here is the view from the hotel patio. Note the terrible grenade damage done to the beautiful stone building. So many of the buildings that we pass have damage from shelling. It is heartbreaking.


After a few minutes to settle in, we were led by our guide, Nino, to the historic city of Mostar. The city spans the valley of the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was established initially as an Ottoman frontier town during the 15th Century, and later was annexed by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1908. Traces of both cultures can be seen today in the architecture of this lovely place.

We walked through the Old Bazaar, the Kujundžiluk. As we walked along the cobblestone streets, many of the old crafts, such as rug weaving and copper work, could be observed in the shops. Of course, the bazaar has plenty of tourist shops, as well as cafes and restaurants. There was plenty to admire!


This is the site of the oldest bridge built in Mostar. This smaller bridge was the prototype for the Stari Most, the main bridge of the city. The Turkish architect who was sent to build the bridges was a student of the master bridge builder, and was uncertain as to whether a bridge could be supported by a single arch. When the supportive scaffolding was removed, the architect was forced to stand below the bridge, so that he would be killed should the bridge collapse. The bridge lasted for hundreds of years, but had to be rebuilt in the 1900s after flooding.


Here are the original city walls that are close to the bridge.


The walking in Mostar is not easy.


While much of the architecture in the city is Turkish, this building reflects the city's Austrian influence. While the design was supposed to "blend in". with the Turkish, Islamic leanings of the city, the building was criticized as its window designs resembled the Christian cross.


The city of Mostar gets its name from the bridge keepers (mostari), who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) that spanned the river. The Stari Most was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, and is considered to be an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. It is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most visited landmarks. It is very difficult to walk across as the pavements are slippery, and the pitch is fairly steep.


Between 1992 and 1995, Mostar sustained significant damage during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Much of the city center was left in ruins, and the Stari Most was destroyed. The subsequent reconstruction has been aided by UNESCO, and serves as a symbol of reconciliation and international cooperation.


We enjoyed a typical Bosnian meal on a lovely outdoor covered patio that afforded beautiful views. During dinner we saw two people jump from the bridge into the river (65 feet). Apparently it's a common fun activity, with a little boat waiting in the water to check on the brave souls. Happy to report that both jumpers are healthy (but wise?).


After dinner, we crossed the bridge and explored the opposite side of the river.

Here you can see the restaurant where we ate, with its multiple level patios.


Photos are tagged Croatia and Mostar

Posted by Cybercsp 13:44 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Tagged croatia mostar Comments (0)

Komiža- Day 7 Saturday 9/7

Happy 96th birthday, Rose McCarthy!

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We met at the waterfront at 10 AM to board the Ames tour boat, which took us to Island Bisevo.

It was beautiful to view lovely Komiža from the Adriatic Sea.


Although overcast, the views of the limestone cliffs of Croatia were fabulous.


Bisevo is located five nautical miles southwest of Komiža, and is famous for its Blue Grotto (Cave Bisevo), said to rival the famous Blue Grotto of Capri. While the opening to the cave makes it look impossible for the boats to pass inside, everyone bends to become as flat as possible, and our pilot pushed us in through the opening with the tide. Note how small the cave opening appears.


The ambiance in the cave was beautiful, and unlike Capri, the entrances were staggered, so that we were the only boat in the cave for about ten minutes. I will let the photos tell the story.


You can see our pilot and the other boat in these.


We reboarded our tour boat, which then made a stop at a very small beach. While this was a planned swim stop, we could hear distant thunder, so we decided against it.


Here are some views from the ride back. Some of us ventured out to the bow of the boat.


And, some of us napped.


By the way, we were served a multi-course meal onboard the boat, with a squid salad starter, followed by a course of pasta, and then fresh tuna with a potato salad. And of course, beer and wine. For dessert, we were given a kakao cookie to eat with kakao liquer, as our captain and his wife (who had prepared our meal) serenaded us with local songs.


Once on land, Maureen and I took a stroll around Komiža, while the nappers returned to the apartments to rest.


We spent some afternoon time at the pool. Then, at about 6:45 PM, we walked to the waterfront, and had a bite to eat at a rooftop restaurant. The views of the scenery (and the people) were lovely.


Here are our dinners...pork medallions and scampi. Can you guess who ordered what? We are starting to feel as if we are on an "eat your way across Croatia" trip!


We stopped for gelato to fortify us for the (uphill) walk back to the hotel, where we have to pack for an early departure tomorrow.

Photos are tagged Croatia and Komiza

Posted by Cybercsp 12:27 Archived in Croatia Tagged croatia komiza Comments (1)

Komiža - Day 6 Friday 9/6

The miracle has happened...

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Following a leisurely and ridiculously huge breakfast that no one at our table could finish (here is my avocado and egg toast)...


... we walked around Komiža.

Here are some of the scenic views.


Croatia seems to be a country of cats, as you will note from this street view.


At the very end of town is the Church of Our Lady of Pirates. You certainly might wonder how this church got its name. According to the sign outside the church, in the days of marauding pirates, the altar painting of Mary was stolen from the church and taken aboard the pirate ship. While stories vary a bit, the upshot is that the theft was followed by tremendous wind that damaged the ship, preventing the pirates' escape. Legend has it that the pirates decided that it might be in their best interest to return the painting, and as soon as they did, the weather cleared. There is a slightly different version in which the pirates abscond with a statue of the Madonna, and after treacherous weather, dump the statue overboard in fear. The statue eventually floated in the direction of the shore by the church, and springs of fresh water have sprung up everywhere that the statue has been placed. Either way, here are some photos from the church.


This photo will give you an idea of the beaches on the island.


When we gathered to leave for our excursion, Jane shared the news that our luggage was ON THE FERRY en route to VIs!

(Pause for expressions of joy and relief)

She had arranged for our driver, Josep, to take Charlie to the dock to claim it after the rest of us were dropped for our wine tasting. This is the photo tha we used to confirm that it was our luggage. I am not sure why we are on the Croatian Tourist Board text, but I just want my luggage.


Here is Jane's friend, Miro's farm, which is located in Podspilja. He maintains vineyards and olive groves. This terroir is the origin of zinfandel grapes, which are now grown in many other regions, including California. Miro is known for his Plavac wine, made from the zinfandel grapes, as well as his Vugava, which is a white wine made with grapes found only on the Island Vis. His wines were amazing!

Here is Miro's lovely home and farm.


You know the drill. FIrst, there is the presentation of the welcome drink of rakia.


Then, there must be a "snack."


Today, we had a formal wine tasting. Miro offered two delicious white wines, Vugava and Posip, a Rose', and the Plavac.


Between the presentation of the first and the second white wines, Charlie and Josep joined us in triumph. They were greeted with great enthusiasm from the girl who missed her clothing; here I am with Josep. (And don't worry, I saved Charlie a glass of the first wine, which is the only one that he missed.)


We had such a pleasant time with Miro and his wife.


After wine tasting, it is always a good idea to eat, and we traveled to a beachside restaurant owned by three brothers for a late lunch. The meal showcased their home-grown organic produce, meats, fresh fish, and homemade wine from their vineyards. As the meal was prepared, we had time for a swim at their private beach. In addition to the lobster, the grilled fish were outstanding, and there was plenty of meat for those who do not love fish.


On our way back to the apartments, we made a stop for dessert and coffee on the white rocks, to take in the peaceful view.


When we got back to the hotel. I was delighted to be reunited with the contents of my luggage!

Photos are tagged Croatia and Komiza

Posted by Cybercsp 13:37 Archived in Croatia Tagged croatia komiza Comments (1)

Komiža - Day 5 Thursday 9/5

And still, no luggage...but a glimmer of hope.

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Does the island of Vis look familiar? The 2017 movie, "Mama Mia, Here We Go Again" was filmed in Vis, the oldest established town in Croatia. The island is known to have been inhabited since 3,000 BC, but there has been evidence of Neolithic activity dating from 8,000 BC.

What to do with a morning at leisure? Well, we slept until 9 AM, which is really late for us. Then, we walked downhill to the waterfront, to one of two restaurants where Jane has arranged for us to have our daily breakfast.

We left at 11:30 AM for an excursion to Žena Glava. Some attribute the name of this town to a translation of “Thirsty Head” (žedna glava), an allusion to a dry area, while others believe it refers to “Headwoman” (žena-glava) – a village's chief woman. Our first stop took us to the home of Darko, who is a fisherman and an affable host. As you can see, Darko raises goats. He also had this morning's fresh catch hanging up.


Here is his area for preparing peka, and his rakia fermentation area. We are becoming acquainted with Croatian necessities.


It has become apparent that no one leaves without a "snack," and today it was a fish based panini and some delicious garlic knots. And wine. Always homemade wine.


Please note that my awful hair is a combination of wearing my sun hat and the heat, exacerbated by the fact that all of our hair products are in the lost luggage. The other photo shows Jay (in the blue shirt) with our host, Darko.


We then traveled to see "Tito's secret cave." As WWII ended and the Cold War began, Vis was transformed by Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito into a military base for the communist Yugoslav army. Tito established a number of military fortifications on the island, including a submarine base and a network of secret underground tunnels and caves across the island. Tito used this cave as a hideout from the invading Nazi forces during the Second World War. I suspect it was a most effective location because the bombers would never notice it, and any land troops would not enjoy the hike to reach it (about 250 steps). By the way, Vis island was closed to visitors until 1989.


Note that Tommy is solo in the cave niche because Maureen was smart enough to realize that this might not be worth the hike.

The views along the drive were amazing.


After this workout, it was time to eat again. We visited the home of Ine who, as you can see, was waiting for us. To say that she is a MOST GREGARIOUS hostess might be an understatement.


Again, we enjoyed a meal in a lovely ambiance....


...feasting on a cuttlefish cold salad appetizer, followed by beef and gnocchi, and ending with the most delicious homemade cookies.


We started with a rakia toast, and Ine's wines have been (in my opinion) the best of the trip so far.


Ine's neighbor entertained us with traditional Croatian music (joined by Ine's husband), as well as a number of songs that were familiar to us. The wine encouraged us all to sing along.


At various moments, Ine became so excited by our enjoyment that she would engage in spontaneous showers of affection, and to my utter shock, she literally lifted me off the floor.


Maureen enjoyed a dance with our hostess.


Suffice it to say that a good time was had by all.

On our return trip, our driver, Josep, dropped those who wished to swim off at the beach. Fortunately, my bathing suit was in my carry on luggage, so I was good to go. The beaches here are rocky, so water shoes are a must. The water is absolutely delightful. After a refreshing swim, we walked back to the apartments and spent some time outdoors on the patio.

Now for the glimmer of hope about the luggage. Last night, it occurred to Jane that she could ask her friend Luca, who is a lawyer for Croatian Air, whether he might be able to suggest a resource to help us to locate the luggage. He told her that he would take it on as his mission. In a matter of a few hours, he was sending her photos of our suitcases. American Airlines initially told him that there were no identifying tags on the luggage, and his comment to Jane was that he actually could read our phone numbers and emails that were on the tags from the pictures that they sent him...yet no one contacted us. Suddenly, with his intervention, our luggage is supposed to be expedited from Rome to Split airport, where a driver will pick it up and put it on the ferry to Vis tomorrow. Jane is a maker of miracles.

Photos are tagged Croatia and Komiza

Posted by Cybercsp 23:19 Archived in Croatia Tagged croatia komiza Comments (2)

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