Archive for May, 2008


Karie on May 30th 2008 07:12 pm

After I got our Croatia itinerary mostly ironed out, it occurred to me that a day trip to Montenegro was within reach.  I asked Scott what he thought about the idea and he said, “I’ve aaalways wanted to go to Montenegro!!!”  What???  When I asked him why he’s never mentioned this lifelong dream, he jumped up and dug out a magazine that he purchased in the airport as we were leaving the U.S. in September (I think “always” meant “for the last 8 months”).

The magazine was called “Budget Travel”, and on the front was a picture of Montenegro.  That settles it. We’re going.  We decided to rent a car versus taking the bus, so we could seek out the location of the photograph on the cover of the magazine. (Also, with 4 of us, renting a car was about the same price as bus tickets.)

I had read a comment in an online forum that said going into Montenegro makes Croatia feel like the west.  I suppose by “the west” the writer was referring to development of the land, economy, tourism, etc.  By that definition, I thought that Croatia felt very “western” even before our visit to Montenegro, but I still get the writer’s point.
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Dubrovnik, Croatia

Karie on May 29th 2008 06:54 pm

If you see a sign that says “Cold Drinks” with an arrow that appears to point nowhere, follow it.  We ordered some cold drinks and a can of Pringles just so we could sit there and enjoy the view.  The old town of Dubrovnik is a walled city set right on the sea.  You can actually walk all the way around the city atop the walls, which we had intended to do in the evening when the city was all lit up… but this was before we realized that you can only do that in the summer, and “summer” would begin 2 days after we left.

Since we had already spent a little time in Dubrovnik before heading up the coast, we decided to venture out to some nearby islands on a small day cruise.  After Mary’s failed attempts to rent one of these, we finally settled on this one.  We really wanted to take this trip, despite the Sales Prevention Force at the ticket counter, who delivered the following marketing schpeal with a smile:

“First you’ll stop at this island, but only for 45 minutes, because there’s nothing to do there. Most people just get coffee then get back on the boat.  Next you’ll go here for an hour.  This island used to be a summer vacation spot for the wealthy. There is a really beautiful home there that is now a museum, but it’s closed so you can’t see it.  It’s too bad it’s closed because it’s really nice.  Next, you’ll be going to this island for 2 ½ hours. You’ll spend the most amount of time here because it has a sandy beach with real sand.  Then you come back.”

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Korcula, Croatia – Marco??? ………(say it!)

Karie on May 27th 2008 10:37 pm

Korcula is the birthplace of the world’s first known travel writer, Marco Polo.  Although there is a chance he was actually born in Venice but set sail on his famous journey from here.  Or, that his true birthplace remains “unknown”, but we for sure know that he lived in this house right here for at least a while.  Ok, well the original house is long gone, but it was definitely on this island, around this area, and probably looked something like this.

Either way, this house was one of the main attractions in the town of Korcula.  We didn’t have a lot of time on this island, as we were having so much fun in Hvar we sacrificed some time on this island to stay there longer.  It worked out well, as the town of Korcula is actually very small, and you could easily see the whole thing in a day.  Of course there are plenty of things to see and do on the rest of the island, but I wouldn’t know anything about that.

Our time in Korcula was spent finding good food, walking around three sides of the city to take pictures of the Adriatic from every angle, and of course, touring the infamous house museum (which takes 10 minutes, if you read all the signs and climb stairs slowly).

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Hvar, Croatia Part II: Dumb & Dumber Style

Karie on May 26th 2008 10:25 pm

I have a newfound appreciation for windshields.  I’m not sure which is worse: getting a bug bite, or getting hit in the face by a bug at 40 mph.  The former usually goes unnoticed at the time of the event, but then you’re left with the itchy bite; whereas the second stings at the time but doesn’t leave any damage… that is, except the memory.

Scott was probably the most affected, after getting a bug in the mouth while driving the motor scooter.  I was sitting behind him and heard “Pppffftttthhh!!!! YUCK!!!”  I couldn’t stop laughing, but knew that I better keep my mouth shut for fear of karma.  It seems the Croatian bugs had a thing for me anyway, so I didn’t want to take any chances.

Other things I learned while riding a scooter:
1. Tunnels are really really cold
2. 40mph feels like 100mph (especially in tunnels)
(click here to see a brief example of #1 and #2)
3. Bikes with motors are better than bikes with pedals (people you pass on bicycles also know this)
4. Helmet head is worse than regular hat head

There are obviously millions of people around the world who ride scooters every day, but this was all new to me.  I kinda felt like a kid riding a roller coaster for the first time.  Ok, so I am easily amused.

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Hvar, Croatia Part I: “Just Sit Right Back and You’ll Hear a Tale…”

Karie on May 25th 2008 08:54 pm

“Four passengers set sail that day for a three hour tour
(a three hour tour)”

If you’re not familiar with Gilligan’s Island, I recommend you have a listen to the theme song before proceeding. It was stuck in my head the entire time we were in Hvar, so I feel it’s important that you understand my inspiration in order to grasp the full experience here. If you’re lucky, it will stay with you for the rest of the day (or week).

Hvar is the self-proclaimed “Queen of the Croatian Dalmatian Islands.”  Ironically, the Dalmatian coastline resembles the Dalmatian dog… but then again it’s believed that the breed of dog is native to Croatia, so maybe not so ironic after all.  Anyhow, think tons of islands dotting the coastline, some big, some small, some inhabited, some not.  Hvar is one of the largest islands, and the Pakleni Islands are scattered about nearby.

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Dubrovnik to Split, Croatia

Karie on May 24th 2008 06:09 pm

I fell in love the minute we landed.  No, actually, it was before that – it was at my first glimpse of the turquoise waters dotted with islands that loosely follow the jagged coastline.  Ok, maybe it was even as early as the Michael Palin’s New Europe special we watched several months ago.

Croatia was one the top places on my “must see” list, and it completely lived up to my expectations.  Scott’s mom and step-father (Mary & John) are here from Los Angeles to visit and do some traveling with us, and I think it’s safe to say that they are also pleased.  To quote Mary, “I don’t know what I was expecting, but this is better.”

We toured the country in a big circle, as our flights were in/out of the same city.  We started in Dubrovnik for a couple of days, drove up to Split, then slowly worked our way back to Dubrovnik via boats, stopping at the islands of Hvar & Korcula.  There are literally hundreds of islands, as well as amazing spots on the mainland, so it was tough to figure out where we should go and for how long.  However, I now realize that it’s impossible to make a poor decision – it’s all breathtaking.

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Miss us?

Karie on May 14th 2008 10:14 pm

Sorry we’ve been kinda quiet lately… just taking a break and staying put in Barcelona for a while! The weather has been weird - beautiful for a few weeks, then rain moving back in. Even so, it’s good to be “home” for a bit. I love traveling, but also like being able to put my clothes in a drawer, and know where the nearest market is. It’s peaceful here, despite the noisy bar down the alley.

More excitement to come though! Scott’s mom and step-father are coming to visit soon, and we’ll be doing a bit of traveling with them, so stay tuned…

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