Croatia-2006

Our two-week Insight bus tour started from Vienna, driving through the lovely countryside
of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and even Montenegro. Our tour group was small, only 25,
many from Australia and New Zealand, several from Ireland, South Africa, Canada and 10 Americans.
I enjoyed the ideal September weather, the rocky Dalmation Coast,
the walled towns like Dubrovnik, and the fellow tourists, especially the delightful
Cuban ladies from Florida and two ladies from Ireland. 

An Austrian woman I met at the Schonbrunn had dressed for her visit to the palace. A street performer enlivens the streets of Vienna. On a n afternoon cruise on the Danube from Vienna we pass by the pagoda.
The Albertina: what happened to the prints? The Budapest Cathedral's interior rivals the Vatican. Budapest made me wish I had bought my paints.

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest was fabulous!

 

Budapest Parliament--inaurated by Emperor Franz Joseph St. Mathias Church, Budapest
We hear how great the langos in Szenterdre were. In Hungary it seems that everyone has a vineyard. The Magyars triumphant in Heroes Square in Budapest
You can buy Paprika and peppers in Szentendre. In Szentendre I discovered Margit Kovacs. St. Mark's Church in Upper Zagreb is a small jewel
Does anyone know who this mounted figure in Upper Zagreb is? I know this figure is by Mestrovic. Our small group had dinner at a vineyard in the countryside outside Zagreb.
The castle nearby our vineyard dinner site. Kumrovic, birthplace of Tito, is a time capsule. We stopped to see the Roman ruins at Salona next to Split.
The Manastrine and Tusculum in Salona. Split--Diocletian's Palace Diocletian's Palace occupies the center of the town of Split.
Ivan Mestrovic is well-known to Chicagoans for his Indian sculptures in Grant Park. I had known about Croatia's greatest sculptor since he was artist-in-residence at Notre Dame. My father and I visited his studio on the ND campus in 1960, so I visited his atelier/home in Zagreb and his gallery/home in Split, and saw as many of his sculptures and buildings as I could.
  Mestrovic's sculpture of Pope St. Gregory in Split The Mestrovic Gallery in Split.
Mestrovic had this view of the Adriatic from his home in Split. Distant Agreement by Mestrovic. The Dalmatian Coast between Split and Dubrovnik is spectacular.
All Irish--Nuala Crotty, Mary Shaughnessy, Nuala Fitzgerald Croatian handiwork in Dubrovnik. The State Archives are kept in Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik.
Instead of walking the walls, I sat in the Square. Pieta in Dubrovnik The classic view of Dubrovnik

14th Century cross in Dominican Monastery, Dubrovnik The Gothic cloister of the Dominican Monastery Musicians performing before the Rector's Palace in Dubrovnik
During our free time in Dubrovnik, Serpil and I visited the Dominican Monastery, then, during lunch, I took a panoramic glass-bottom sightseeing boat tour around Dubrovnik, enjoying the marvelous views from the water.
Our tour group stayed at the Hotel Croatia in Cavtat, with a view looking down on the little seacoast village of Cavtat (right and below), and on the other side out to the islands where we could watch the sunset and the cruise ships heading toward Dubrovnik.
We spent three nights in Cavtat and Dubrovnik, I enjoyed the outdoor pool and beach as much as possible.
On Sunday I took the optional trip to Montenegro, where the walled town of Kotor (below) was one of the highlights.

Montnegro has marvelous long sandy beaches. St. Stefan's near Budva is a 5-star hotel that was once a monastery.

From Cavtat we drove to Trogir, a small island, walled city with narrow winding streets. There on the wall of the central loggia was another low relief by Mestrovic (below).

Our next stay was in Plitvice Lakes National Park, which we traversed for 3 hours on footbridges across lakes and streams, past waterfalls, every upward. It was the highlight of the trip, one of the most beautiful places on earth, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

We ended our tour in Ljubljiana, Slovenia, (above) a modern town with a charming old center along the Ljubljiana River. From Ljubljiana we took a day's excursion to the resort area of Lake Bled, which has a castle, an island, a boat tour, and Villa Bled, where we had tea.
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