Friday, June 24, 2011

Time Flies

Where does the time go? Recently it has been flying faster than normal (whatever normal is?). My last post was from I’m in Wyoming...which is more than a world away. About the only things that Slovenia and Wyoming have in common are tall mountains and beautiful mountain scenery. Not much else.

We were in Slovenia 3 lovely days. We discovered the region around Lake Bled. Then all too quickly, the mountain idyll ended and we boarded a plane from Ljubljana Airport to Munich. From Munich we flew directly to Denver, then on to San Francisco and finally home! Once home we needed to get ready for our yearly migration to Wyoming. We finished packing the RV and even though we were jet-lagged, we took 4 days to reach western Wyoming and our other home sweet home in the mountains.

Finally, I’m ready to blog. If you been reading the other DrC’s blog, you already know we are here...he started writing almost immediately. I did not feel the muse.

I learned how to download Keynote files from my iPad to my computer...then I converted the files to PowerPoint and there are 6 PowerPoint slideshows of some of the 3000+ pictures I took while on the Adriatic cruise. If you are interested, and have the time, and a high boredom quotient, click on the links and have some fun. Our first stops were Athens to Delphi which also includes a stop in Corfu (a beautiful place). Next stop was Albania which was a surprise for us. We had seen Albania but never stepped foot there. Onward to Montenegro, Dubrovnik and Korcula, three wonderful stops. I fell in love with the tiny walled town of Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo. From there we went to Hvar and Split where we tasted wine and learned more than we needed to about Diocletian’s 3rd Century AD Palace. In Split we left the wonderful little boat and headed inland for Zagreb, Omis, Plitvice Lakes, and Slovenia. The last stops we made were in Slovenia.

I’m not completely finished with my pictures...I still have to put together a slideshow for the Lake Bled area. That will happen soon. In the meantime, here are a few images to whet your appetite.
 Kotor, Montenegro...aka Diagon Alley
 Waterfall at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
Changing of the Guard in Athens...before the riots.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

In Slovenia

We are at the last stop of the adventure. We will be here 3 nights. This morning we entered the EU for the second time on the trip (first time was Greece) and we are using Euros again. In fact it is the 3rd time we have used Euros. Montenegro, not a member of the EU, uses Euros from Germany. 

After driving across the border and getting our passports stamped, we arrived at the capital city of Ljubljana. A compact city that is both old and pretty. Slovenia has about 2 million folks, and about 250,000 live in the capital. It's about 1/4th the size of Zagreb. The place does not seem crowded at all. The old town is bustling with people shopping, walking, or sitting in cafes that line the streets. Since it was Saturday everyone was there. The people watching was great. 

Contrary to my normal routine, I bought a few souvenirs. Slovenia is famous for salt production, but I did not get seemed strange to buy salt when I'm on a low sodium diet.

There was an old car show at the central square. We saw lots of old cute cars...tiny Fiats and Model A Fords, a really cute 1928 Dodge, a bunch of pretty  Mercedes Benz', and a 1954 Chevy BelAir. One old Ford had a Slovenian license plate and a California one too! There were 3 Hurdy Gurdies grinding out fun music too. A great way to be introduced to a city.

From the capital we drove about 30 minutes into the Alps to the resort of Lake Bled. While the name does not sound pleasing to the American ear, don't be discouraged by the name. At first glance the area looks like Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. The tiny lake is a mountain jewel with a tinier island floating just off center. Mountains soar from the lake, and if you look to the right, you see a castle on top of one of the mountains. Atop another mountain is a church. There is a path all around the lake, and there are small boats you can rent to sail upon the lake. This evening at 10 PM, there was a nice fireworks display! Tomorrow we will do some exploring around the lake.

For whatever it is worth, we have just stepped foot on our 90th country!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In Zagreb

Today we walked thru Zagreb...and believe it or not, I liked the city. We had an excellent guided tour of the two parts of the old city. We saw what is left of the old city walls and gates, tons of statues and lots of squares and of course the required churches. But there were 2 highlights.

The Pope is coming to Zagreb on Saturday and we saw a city "ramping up" security for the event. The main Cathedral is shiny! The manhole covers have been welded shut. The speed bumps on city streets have been removed on the route the Pope will take so he will have a smooth ride. Lots of security cameras are being installed. TV news trucks with satellite uplinks are already staking out territory near the main venue. There are helicopters circling the area watching, watching, watching. Our hotel is along the route and we have received a message saying NOT to open our drapes or be tempted to sneak a peek out the windows. It's most interesting to see a city go into high security mode.

The other highlight was the Museum of Naive Art. Naive Art is also called 
Primitive Art...think Grandma Moses. This is not a "high brow" type of art so it is very accessible.  The collection is wonderful and inspiring. If you get to Zagreb, it's something you will want to see.

Yesterday we visited one of Croatia's national parks called Plitvice Lakes which is inland between Split and Zagreb. What a beautiful place. The Park highlights 16 turquoise lakes that are connected by a series of waterfalls and cascades. There is a four mile trail of switchbacks and steps and bridges and boats that give you a firsthand look of the clear lakes as well as the flora and fauna. I walked the trail which ends with 300 stairs bringing you up from the canyon. I'm feeling each of those 300 steps today...but it was worth it. To add to the drama of the setting, a thunderstorm came in about a mile and 300 steps from the end of the trail. I put on my waterproof jacket, pulled up the hood and continued to move forward. By the time I got to the lodge, I was soaked! My shoes are still wet a day later! 
In Split we saw Diocletian's Palace...what a place. We also stopped on the island of Hvar, which is known for it's aromatic wild lavender. It's been a busy few days. When we get home we will need to rest up from this vacation!