Mustapicked A Good Vacation!

The adventures of Amey and Musty's trip to the Balkans and Italy in September '06...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Trip To Ravenna; & Our Last Day!

Hello Everyone!
Yesterday Fabrizio, Musty and I headed off to the small town of Ravenna. Ravenna is about 1 hour away from Bologna, and close to the Adriatic Coast. It's a neat little town, with a great pedestrian-only downtown, and loads of amazing attractions. Ravenna is mostly famous for its beautiful 5th & 6th century churches, which are decorated with brilliant glass & stone mosaics. The mosaics are so detailed and so gorgeous... there are depictions of biblical figures and stories, as well as plants and animals, and also many bright decorative patterns. All of these designs are done with tiny little squares or triangles of glass or stone... smaller than 1/4 inch square. It's really gorgeous. There are probably 5 or 6 places like this, and we had fun walking around the city and exploring each one. It was a great day trip!

Here we are enjoying an afternoon beverage at a little cafe. Musty is a big fan of the cappucino here... I think Fabrizio got something a little stronger! The coffee in Croatia, but especially in Bosnia & Herzegovina, was really strong and a bit unpredictable, so it's nice for Musty to be back in a land with more dependable coffee patterns.

Of course I loved the beautiful mosaics of Ravenna, but it's got a special place in my heart for something much different - non-dairy hazelnut gelato!!!!! We also found some the night before in Bologna, and I just couldn't believe it. Hazelnut is one of my top 3 ice cream flavors of all time and it was so so so so so good! The stuff in Ravenna was really fantastic, such that I gulttonously returned 2 hours later for a second serving. Observe my maniacal grin. I also like the serious look of contemplation on Fabrizio's face. Ha ha. Apparently, he is deciding whether or not to order some gelato, which of course... he did!

Today is our last day here. All good things must come to an end... We have most of the day to spend here with Fabrizio, and also our mutual friend Sara who is coming to town to visit us all. That will be super fun! Tonight we'll catch a train up to Milan, and then our flight leaves bright and early tomorrow morning.

We are both a little homesick by now, and I can't wait to see my family and my friends and my furries... do some longer yoga sessions, teach some yoga... ahhhh! And Musty is longing for a few days spent playing guitar!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

News from Bologna

Ciao Everyone!
We are having such a fun time in Bologna! Fabrizio's office is close to the center of town, so it's easy for us to go off and explore, and then walk back to meet up with him when he has some available time.

Bologna is a really cool city. It has the oldest university in the world (started around the year 1000), and so the the city is crowded with students. We didn't really realize how small and laid back Croatia was until we arrived here in Bologna.

In Croatia & BiH, there is a "caffe-bar" every 50 feet - with countless chairs and tables spread out in a welcoming fashion. You just pick your table and someone comes up and takes your order. There is a lot of unemployment there, which is a big part of this phenomena, but it also appears to just be a way of life. People are up late, mornings are very quiet and sleepy... there's a very easy, "all in good time" vibe. Even the drivers almost all seem to just poke along at moderate speeds, Musty found it an incredibly easy place to drive. Our last day in Split, we got a bit lost, and ended up driving around in the pedestrian area near the city center (oops!)... a friendly lady casually approached us and said "You must be lost," looked at our map and slowly explained how we could get ourselves out of there. Musty was feeling like we had to urgently get back out to the main street, but then we realized that it was clear from her demeanor, that there was no rush about it. One thing we noticed over and over again is that Croatia & Croatians have really made a decision to prioritize tourists. Tourism is by far their largest economy, and they are very courteous and welcoming to tourists. It's a very easy place to travel.

Bologna is also a really fun and easy place to be, but it's so different! After watching everyone sit around and drink coffee for 3 weeks, it's exhilarating to watch all the people bustling around the city with so much purpose! We feel all caught up in the excitement! There are scooters scooting everywhere, people whirring by on bikes, dogs being walked, babies being pushed in strollers, students walking with their friends... it's so much activity and fun. Croatia was so tourist-oriented, it's exciting and different to be in a place that is not primarily geared towards tourists. Bologna certainly gets plenty of tourists, but it's not one of the prime tourist destinations in Italy, which actually makes it a great place to visit! Instead of revolving around tourists, it has its own plans, and as a visitor you can really see the people of Bologna living their lives.

Bologna is full of big, beautiful buildings, and is especially famous for it's long covered walkways called "porticos" - of which there are miles and miles in the city center. It's such a beautiful sight to look down the street and see archway after archway... I'll try to take an evocative picture. The city center of Bologna is huge compared to anywhere we've been in the last 3 weeks, so we are having a great time just wandering the beautiful streets and looking in all the shop windows. It seems like most of the buildings in the center are painted with really warm natural hues, yellows and oranges... it makes the sunlight all the more warm and lovely.

Fabrizio has been a great guide! Yesterday morning we explored the city center together and he took us to some really great places. First we went and saw the "Seven Churches"... a cluster of 7 small churches that are really old (looks like they were begun around the year 1000). One church was built, then another right next to it... and so on. They are all connected and so you walk through one to the next. Each one had a character of its own, and they were all really beautiful.
Here is a view of the inside of one of the churches... This church houses the tomb of San Petronio, the patron saint of Bologna

And in this picture we are all in courtyard... the churches are very simple, but have a very sweet beauty all the same. The wall behind us is too small to see clearly in this picture, but with simple brick work, its exterior was made special by creating patterns and shapes with the bricks. A nice example of how something can be beatuful even with such basic materials.

After the Seven Churches, we headed over to the open market! Fabrizio has been reading our blog, so he knows that I am crazy about the market. The market in Bologna certainly didn't disappoint! It was a series of small streets, only for pedestrians, full of produce stands and bakeries and specialty food shops. So much stimulation! Everywhere you look is a new color, a new smell, something looking irresistably tasty. Musty and I especially thought of my dad (hi dad!) who would really love it here... it's his kind of place for sure!

Next, we wound our way back to the famous "Two Towers" of Bologna. There two adjacent towers are the most recognizable symbol of Bologna. In the 10th & 11th centuries, families started building towers, ... apparently just to show off?? So, at one point there were 180 towers! Today there are far fewer, but you still see them pretty often. These two are the most famous though, and you can climb up the taller one (which I think is the tallest in all of the city). It has a slight tilt (1.3 meters), but that's nothing compared to its neighbor which has a momumental tilt of 3 meters! You can't climb up that one but you can stand outside and appreciate its kooky tiltiness. Obviously that wasn't intentional... in fact, originally it was supposed to be taller than the one next to it. Too bad!

Here are Musty and Fabrizio climbing the tower. It's a lot of stairs, but not so hard. We were realizing yesterday that climbing is an important part of a European vacation. We also climbed the tower at Diocletian's palace in Split, and we climbed the walls up to the ancient fort in Kotor (Montenegro)... so if you are coming to Europe, wear some proper footwear! (I don't necessarily recommend just bringing flip flops, like I did.. ha ha!)
And here's our triumphant shot... after having climbed up and back down, here's a view of the towers looming over Musty and Fabrizio.

We're also doing loads of eating here in Italy, which I consider a moral responsibility when you are around this much good food! For lunch yesterday we went to one of Fabrizio's favorite restaurants, specializing in Sicilian cuisine. Yum! And then, for dinner, Musty and Fabrizio were exceedingly generous and decided to take a chance on a little vegetarian place downtown. The restaurant was a casual little spot inside a big yoga/massage/eastern traditions center. It seemed like a really neat place! The food was quite good, and I was most especially thrilled to eat an entire meal that didn't involve bread, refined flour, tomatoes, or lettuce! It was very exciting! So today, I'll happily sit by and watch as they eat all sorts of local treats... with my belly still full and happy from yesterday.

Hope you've enjoyed these little tales...
love, Amey

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do Vidjenja Hrvatska, Buon Giornio Italia!

Hello from Italy!
Yesterday was a pretty administrative travel day. We enjoyed our final morning in Bol, on the Island on Brac. The weather was grey and a bit chilly, which helped because it was easier to leave! We caught a ferry back to the mainland and arrived at the port in Split. We won't bore you with all the details, but we had to purchase tickets for our ship ride to Italy and return our rental car, and stuff like that. Luckily though, it all went smoothly, and we had time to enjoy a nice early dinner in Split. We had some extra dog and cat food left over from our stray animal feeding project, but we easily found many stray cats in Split who were delighted to have a big meal.

The boat to Italy was super cool! We loved it! We decided to get a private cabin, with little beds, so that we could hopefully have a good night's rest. Our little cabin was very small, but very cozy and amazingly comfy too! The ferry boat was really big, but still we could feel the movement of the boat on the water. It was very neat. The boat took off from Split around 9pm and we went up on the deck to watch the lights of Split fade into the distance. We both felt a bit sad to say goodbye to Croatia, after such a fun and interesting trip, but seeing the lights from the sea was a nice goodbye. We spent a couple hours exploring the ship and mostly just sitting out on the deck and watching the water and the lights on the coast... until we were ready for bed.

Then, this morning! We woke up around 5:45 and we were both excited. We got up and went out on the deck to watch the lights of italy get closer and closer. It was really beautiful watching the sunrise over the sea and over the coast.

So, around 7:30 or so, we got off the boat and found ourselves in Ancona, Italy. After 3 weeks, we were both feeling quite accomodated in Croatia, so it's a big suprise to find ourselves somewhere new. Even though I speak pretty good italian, and pretty crummy croatian, I find that all my verbal reflexes are in croatian now! I keep saying "da" instead of "si" or "hvala" instead of "grazie". How weird. However, even with these little hiccups, it is really, really nice to have the ability to communicate effectively, and to be somewhere where I understand the system of how things work.

We made our way to the train station, and eventually up to Bologna, where Fabrizio picked us up! It's super nice to see a familiar friendly face! Fabrizio had a busy day today, but he got us very nicely appointed at his place and then brought us back downtown, so we could explore the city. We spent hours walking around, window shopping, eating snacks, having tea in the piazza... it was great fun. I am super psyched to be back in the land of Italian food!! I had my first gelato of the trip, since the fruit flavors here are mostly all vegan... and I had some nice pasta for lunch, and found a bakery selling great foccacia bread with cherry tomatoes on it. YUM!

There are so many things and stories and observations to share... but only so much time I can spend in front of the computer! Tonight I'm sleepy after our exciting night on the boat, so I think I'll hit the hay early.

love to you all,

Monday, September 25, 2006

A final blog from Croatia

Hello Everyone,
Just a quick little blog entry tonight, because it is our last night in Croatia, and I'd rather be out walking around than blogging!

We've had a few fun and busy days, with a lot of travelling, and with very little internet access. We spent a whole day and a night up at the Plitvicke Lakes, an amazing national park about 4 hours drive north of the region where we've focused most of our trip. It was a beautiful, strange, unique, and refreshing place... and we're so glad that we made the effort to go. We spent over 6 hours walking all over the park. The park is composed of a series of waterfalls, created by calcium deposits that form ridges and terraces over which the water cascades. The lakes are absolutely beautiful - bright turquoise, deep blue, bright green, all different colors depending on the minerals and the sunlight... It was a very beautiful place. In the afternoon, the park was absolutely crammed full with tourists coming off of tour busses, but by late afternoon, we basically had the place to ourselves. The setting is so beautiful and serene, it was nice to have an opportunity to enjoy it in its natural state, without the crowds. The lakes are full of fish, and there are also lots of ducks and small birds. The lakes are set down in a beautiful ravine, so everywhere you look there is a stunning sharp cliff of rock rising on both sides of the water. We also really lucked out and found a great room for rent with a little balcony that had a view of the park! Plus they had a great big dog named Mickey, two cats, chickens, and some sheep with bells on their necks. Yes, I was very content!

After Plitvicke, we decided to make our way back down towards Split, which is where we began our trip and is also where we'll return our rental car tomorrow. Split is on the coast, and there are many islands accessible by ferry from there... We couldn't decide which one we wanted to visit for our last couple of days, so we decided that we would just take the first ferry we could once we arrived in Split. What a fun way to decide! So, that system got us over to the island of Brac. We decided to find a place in the city of Bol, which has a very famous and unusual beach, which we have been enjoying thouroughly. The water and the weather are definitely feeling more fall-like and less summery, but they are still easily enjoyed. Today we went swimming twice, had some sunbathing, and just enjoyed the quiet tranquil fishing town vibe here in Bol. Bol is very tourist friendly, but still has a very simple and natural feeling. There are pine trees everywhere, which provide shade and wind buffering... and it feels like camping and seaside Mediterranean all at once, it's a wonderful combo. The stores and cafes and restaraunts are all on the water front promenade, and it's fun to cruise around in the evening and enjoy the bobbing boats in the harbor, the chatter of local and international coffee drinkers... very sweet.

My dad asked us what we do in the evening, and what sorts of events we've gone to... In truth, we haven't seen many movie theaters around, and there have been very few outdoor (or indoor!) concerts. When you come in September, there are fewer people, but also fewer things going on. In Dubrovnik, there was some very high quality street music, which we enjoyed... Last night here in Bol (it was Sunday night), we heard the beautiful women's chorus singing in the church, and enjoyed that for a little while. One night in Dubrovnik, we stumbled across the local fishermen's club, where some highly intoxicated fellows were doing their best at 5-part harmonies, it was great listening and so we just ordered some drinks and sat down to listen for an hour or so. Mostly though, we pass our evenings by eating late dinners and walking around in the city scene. Towns and cities here all have an active "korzo" (like a passegiatta, for those of you who are familiar with that italian term), where people just walk around the main drag and eat gelato ("sladoled"), stop for a coffee, and enjoy the evening. It's very pleasant and civilized. Plus, the average dinner here takes about 2 hours... so if you don't get started til 8:30 or 9 pm, that's most of your evening right there!

Tomorrow we head back to split, return the car, enjoy some time in Split, and then in the evening, we'll catch an overnight boat across the Adriatic Sea to Italy. We are headed to Bologna for a few days to visit our friend Fabrizio. I have known Fabrizio for 10 years or so... he works with my dad at the University, and spends at least a few months each year living in Santa Cruz. I am super excited to be back in Italy, and to see Fabrizio in his natural environment!

more from italy!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Beautiful, beautiful Brela

Two days ago we pulled into Brela, a little spot on the Makarska Riviera... looking for a room to rent for the night. We weren't sure how long we'd stay, maybe one or two nights. Well, Brela worked its magic and two nights turned into three! Brela is a sweet little seaside town with 6 kilometers of pebble beaches, sand beaches, and rocky swimming coves. The weather has been great, we found a great little studio apartment with a balcony and a view of the ocean, and Musty found his favorite restaurant of the whole trip. Since arriving, we have walked, swam, sunbathed (with sunscreen of course!), and eaten. That's pretty much it. For two days straight.

Musty and I tend to be pretty active travellers. We like to explore and learn and investigate and see new things. But at this point in the travels, we were needing a break, and anyway, Brela is just such a great spot that we were compelled to sink in and enjoy it for a while.
Here are my toes facing out to sea. Ahh... The water is a bit chilly at first, but its quickly comfortable.

Here I am with a mouthful of tomato... snacking on some veggies. The whole Euro beachgoing scene is fantastically fun, as I've mentioned. Tonight at dinner we met the first Americans here in 3 nights. Mostly there are loads of Germans, lots of Polish and Russian folks, Croatian vacationeers, and quite a few Brits. While I am putting on sunscreen, the Euro bathers are slathering on copious amounts of glistening suntanning oil... gradually becoming darker and darker and darkeer. It's quite a phenomena! There are beach chairs and sun umbrellas for rent, paddle boats for rent... and an occassional jet ski out past the swimming boundaries. But most of all, the folks here just lie around in the sun, getting as tan as they possibly can.
The pebble beaches are actually pretty fun, although it can be a bit tricky getting in and out of the water. Most people wear those funny little water booties. The pebbles are super smooth and round and they sink out from under you with each step... you can spot the locals because they are the only ones walking down the beach without lurching precariously with each step. Musty decided to kick back on a beach chair and amuse himself by tossing pebbles out at sea. ahh, such simple pleasures.

Just a bit more than a week left of our vacation! We could have rushed and squeezed in two more spots, but instead, we let ourself take a vacation from vacationing! Tomorrow we will get up early (that's what we always say!) and set off for a long drive north to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Pretty much everyone says it's amazing and beautiful and very worthwhile.

hope you are all well at home!
love amey and musty

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Hiding under our umbrella... This is apparently Musty's "yucky weather face." I kept trying to take the picture over again, but he insisted on being a goofball!
Torrential Downpour! The streets of Dubrovnik look desserted, but every available dry spot is crammed full with as many people as it can accept. Rain rain rain!
Here's a shot of our rainy day in Dubrovnik, as seen from under our trusty yellow umbrella. See all the tourists huddled under the loggia? They don't even know that the worst is still yet to come!
From that, to this! This photo was taken in Orebić, a cute little seaside town out at the end of the Peljesač penisula. The beach was half pebbles, half sand, and the water was SO clear! It's like swimming in glass or something. You can see that I am looking warm and happy to see the sun.
With our snorkels on! The water is full of fish... all different sizes and varieties. Nobody too bright and colorful, but it still a real treat to observe their quiet underwater world. The water here gets deep quickly, so after a few quick strokes, you are out in pretty deep water. One thing of note is that once you reach the deeper level, the seafloor is full of sea urchins and sea slugs! The sea slugs are funny... they just sit there on the bottom, doing their sea slug thing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Come Rain or Shine

Recently, my aunt Sara commented on our blog and asked "How is the weather?" What a good question!! Weather has been playing a big role in our travels for the last few days. We had a couple of drizzley days, and then... a couple of serious downpour days! It rained really really really hard for two days. The first day, we made the most of it and drove to Montenegro... it was a warm and dry way to see some new territory and we bought ourselves a great umbrella in Kotor. The following day, our plan was to take a speedy boat out to a remote island called Mljet, which is a national park. However, we were awoken at about 6 am by the loudest clap of thunder ever heard, accompanied by torrential rain. This continued, on and off for the entire day. We were a bit stupefied as to how to work with it... and ended up just kicking around Dubrovnik, getting absolutely soaked to the bone. One can only hide in the doorway of a caffe jam-packed with tourists for so long before going nuts! So we just decided to embrace the situation, and headed out into the torrent with our hearty umbrella. It was very fun and very, very wet. There was constant thunder and lightning... and so much rain that the streets of Dubrovnik literally turned into rivers. It was quite a sight to see, and quite a thing to experience! Dubrovnik has many long steep staircases, which became amazing cascades of water, like the most glorious natural waterfalls. The main street at the bottom of all these stairs filled with a few inches of rushing water - so much water I couldn't believe it!

We have great pictures... but the connection here doesn't seem to be good enough to get them online. We'll try again soon!

And then!
A turn for the better! We had planned our trip such that during second half of our time in Croatia we would be travelling up the beautiful Dalmatian coast... swimming in the sea and generally enjoying a laid-back mediterranean vibe. This is harder to enjoy in the pouring rain! So you can imagine our joy that the weather finally remembered that summer isn't quite over yet and came back out to help us all dry up. Hoorah!

Yesterday was mostly sunny, and we celebrating by spending the day on the island of Korčula and the penisula of Pelješac... both beautiful places filled with amazing pebble beaches, crystaline acqua water, coves, tiny harbors, fishing nets... it's so beautiful and quiet. We are especially grateful for this calm and peace after all the busses and crowds and busy-ness of Dubrovnik.

Today was Really sunny, and we were so grateful! We drove a bit north today, and now we are hunkered down in the seaside town of Brela. We arrived late in the afternoon, because we kept stopping and swimming everytime we saw a nice looking beach. We couldn't stop ourselves! The water is just so clear you couldn't believe it. There are loads of fish in the water, and so we bought snorkels to watch them. I am not gifted in the art of snorkeling, but am slowly improving. Musty is crazy for snorkeling and can't get enough. Another nice thing about the beaches here is the special Euro-flair. The beaches are full of chubby Germans in their 70's wearing bikinis and speedos... ha! It's quite delightful. Beaches have excellent little changing stations so that you can change into and out of your suit - I think I'll suggest this to the city of Santa Cruz, it's very convenient and civilized. The Adriatic Sea is very salty, so you don't have to work very hard to stay afloat. That's really fun! A few lazy wiggles of your arms is enough to stay up. Also, when we get out, we are covered in salt! Really! My hair practically turns grey from all salt turning it white. It's amazing.

Tonight we are at a cute little internet post in Brela... just two computers, facing out toward the ocean. The air is cool, but not cold. The doors are wide open and outside people are enjoying their coffees and cigarettes... and someone is playing the accordian. It's so picturesque and great. Brela is a long skinny coastal town, and you can walk up and down the whole thing. Our plan for tomorrow is to wake up early, slather on the sunscreen, and get into the water! Swim a little... walk a little... drink some water... swim a little... walk a little further... you get the idea. After a few days of being cold and wet, we are looking forward to being hot and wet!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Vegan Adventures

By the way, if you're interested... I've also posted a few messages on my vegan blog about my eating advetures overseas...
xo Amey

Sleepy Sloppy Montenegro

Today we took a two hour drive down through Montenegro, the planet's youngest nation, having just seperated itself from Serbia Montenegro. Montenegro means Black Mountains, a descriptive name. Today we drove around an enormous fjord there, and around the other side of it is a millineum-old walled town named Kotor. It's incredibly well preserved, owing to its remote location, which is heavily fortified by the surrounding peaks which rise 4,000 feet and extensive perimeter of walls that climb up the slopes about 1,000 feet. Amey and I followed the stairs passed the monestary and up to the main fort at the top. Montenegro does not yet benefit from the quality of economy or government enjoyed in Croatia. The backup at the border lasted 40 minutes. The economy is a wreck. You can also really feel the difference in the environment. The arid ambience of Croatia changes instantly to a lush, humid, and verdant tropical feel. Here are some pictures of today's journey.

Three Cheers for Cavtat!

Cavtat is a a little village about 10 miles down the coast from Dubrovnik. It's a peaceful harbor and prominade with little inns and gift shops. Everywhere here on the mainland is "spoilt" by tourism, there is no authentic. Put another way, everything here is restored by tourism. Economically it's the only thing going on here on the coast, and its working very very well. So I guess it's all authentic after all. Some places have developed more gracefully then others, most very nicely, and this one's a beauty. We found a really great place to swim here. The shore is made of small rocks so it's helpful to have flipflops to wear in. I put them on the little place where I'm standing here while we swam. The water's plenty warm here. If you're whimpy like me it feels "bracing", but not at all uncomfortable. The salty water (and the pounds I'm gaining from a meat heavy diet) really add boyancy. The views are stunning. It's paradise.


It's Everywhere You Look

Yesterday Amey and I went searching for a beach near Dubrovnick that we spotted from a boat the previous afternoon. The coast here consists entirely of steep mountains plunging into the sea, so figuring out how to get from the main road down hundreds of feet via a maze of windy roads that are narrow by European standards is a real fun challenge. Along the way one of my wrong turns took us to what looks to have been a huge and dazzling 5 star resort just across the bay from Dubrovnik that was ruined by the last war. It doesn't appear to have been bombed, but just ransacked from the inside out and then burned so that just the damaged stone and concrete shell is left. A decade of overgrowth and neglect have left a very very spooky place behind. My guess is that it was occupied by Serb forces during their notorious shelling of Dubrovnik. I keep thinking of Baghdad. What a mess.

Republika Srbska

Ok, as you can see, they're a little short on vowels here, but Srbska really is the correct spelling. They're convinced around here that R is a vowel.

As Amey has explained (or will depdending on which of us hits POST first) Republika Srbska is the part of Bosnia i Hercegonvina that is governed by political forces which are generally aligned with Serbia. It's all part of the Dayton Accord, a political patchwork stitched together with the help of our former President, who apparently thought that any peace was better than war.

The Serbs and the Bosnians and the Croats all speak the same language, but the Serbs write it with the Cyrillic alphabet, so it's all goofed up. Fortunately some of the signs, like this one, provide a little help for us ignorant foreigners. Note the reference to Tito spray painted here.

Official Fan of BiH!

Hi Everyone!
Thanks for the comments!

As you know, we spent a few days last week in Mostar, and a few in Sarajevo too. Both of these interesting cities are in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yesterday we took a day trip from Dubrovnik (Croatia) into Trbinje Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a cumbersome name for a somewhat cumbersome country. It's one country with two names and two governments. Bosnia and Herzegovina is comprised of two specific geographic regions - Bosna in the North, and Herzegovina to the South. The country is populated by Muslims, Serbs (Orthodox Christian), & Croats (Catholics). In a fragile balance, the country is governed by two "entities" : the Croat-Muslim Federation and the Republika Srbska, which occupy oddly-shaped portions of the country which bear no relation to the boundaries of the geographical regions of Bosna and Herzegovina. So each goverment has some control in parts of each area. Obviously, Bosna i Herzegovina is a cumbersome name for a country so people often say or write "BiH" instead. Phew!

So, Mostar and Sarajevo are both in the Federation... but yesterday's trip to Trebinje was a journey into new territory for us, as it is located in the RS (or Republika Srbska). Trebinje was a quiet little place, with very little tourist infrastructure. The information office was located down a dirty alley, past a full dumpster and a few walls covered in graffiti. And yet, inside was a friendly fellow with a free map and pretty good English!

Because Trebinje is in the RS, everything is written in the Cyrillic Script! This is totally different! Even finding our way to town was a bit of a challenge, because I had to decode every from Cyrillic to Latin in order to find out where we were on our road map. In town, the unusual script gave everything an exotic feel! Mind you, they speak the same language here, they just use a totally different alphabet to write it. Isn't that bizarre?? (This is a picture of the sign back to Dubrovnik... can't you tell!?)

First we came across a great little market. Going from Croatia into Trebinje took about 30 minutes by car, but they are really worlds apart. In Dubrovnik, most people speak fluent english. When I tell people that I speak English and Italian, their response is simply "Okay, do you want to speak in English or Italian?" Seems like many people here speak at least 5 languages! There are ATMs everywhere, and signs in English, menus in 5 languages... it is an economy built for tourists.

This is not the case in Trebinje! It really feels so untouched, the way I imagine Italy and France must have felt 60 years ago or so. We first came across an outdoor market, which you know I love. We bought some figs and carrots and bananas... all from different vendors. This is the same sort of produce that we also see in the markets here in Croatia. However, here in Trebinje, there were also ladies selling hand-knit woolen socks, hand-made lace, hand-made beeswax candles for lighting in the church, home-made cheese... There is a decidedly more rustic and 2nd world feeling here... and I love it!

I love travelling in BiH because it is basically a very familiar European lifestyle... no shockingly different cultural values or behaviors to be intimidated by, but it is also just uncomfortable enough that it takes courage and motivation to experience it. You have to know a few words of Croatian to interact at the market and tiny successes result in big smiles all around. You've got to be willing to investigate and interact in a way that takes a bit more self-direction than in a place where everyone speaks English. Musty really loves the "shee-shee-la-la" places, beauty, ease and comfort... But lo and behold, it turns out that I like a little grit in my travels!

BiH is a very diverse, very interesting and very beautiful country. It's really not hard to travel there, and yet very few people seem to go there. In Trebinje we saw one other couple who appeared to be tourists. The government hasn't done much to help the situation, and it doesn't really encourage or put money into making the country more outward looking. I hope this changes, for the sake of the people there, but in the meantime, it's an exciting place to travel and explore.

On another note entirely:
Here is a photo of the nice little kitty tribe that we have temporarily adopted here in Dubrovnik. Some of them are pretty hearty, but a few of them are not looking so hot. We don't like to see that, so we have been bringing them nutritious snacks for breakfast and dinner each day. Last night at dinner, Musty ordered "small fried sardines", which turned out to be an enormous serving. So, guess who got a bunch of sardines for breakfast today!? Tonight we'll go up and leave some kitty food for them all. One nice thing about the stray dogs and cats here, is that people are pretty nice to them. With very few exceptions, they are never afraid of people and come running up to you for food. They are happy to be picked up and patted. Last night when we arrived with some cat food, there was already a little pile of kibble that someone else had left (of course, we had wet food, so our pile was a bit more popular)... and in the morning it was all gone!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hi Everyone!
It's a picture extravaganza today! Some of these pictures relate to our last two long posts from yesterday, and a few are new ones...

Here we are with Don Pero Marić, the guitar-playing priest at Hutovo... ancient homeland of the Mustapić people. He was such a pleasant person to be with, a gentle and playful presence. This is his little patio, in the shade of an abundant grape vine, where we enjoyed beer (Musty) and apple juice (Amey) and a great time (all 3 of us!).
This is taken in the sweet and picturesque town of Poćitelj that Musty blogged about yesterday. This woman was so nice, and was cleverly selling beautiful little cones of fresh and dried fruits. I bought some green figs for the way up into town, and some green grapes before getting back on the road. Yum yum fresh fruit!
This is one of many pictures we took on the stunning drive between Mostar and Sarajevo that I mentioned a posting or two ago. I'm sure one little picture can't do the trip justice, but man-o-man, it is such a magical and beautiful place. Musty is slightly less enthusiastic, but I am a seriously devoted Bosnia i Herzegovina fan. I need an "I Heart BiH" shirt!
Here we are surveying the evidence of the pyramid!!! Can you see the yellow tape and the excavated stones? So can we! Unfortunately, that is all we can see, and since we couldn't understand a single word of the pyramid pep-talk... we can't relay anything more convincing. Take a look at the picture and judge for yourselves!

This evening we took a superfun walk along the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik. What a beautiful walk... it takes about 1.5 hours in all, and it's really fun. Great views into the gorgeous Old City, out into the Adriatic Sea, and into the gardens of local residents. Dubrovnik is almost entirely restored from the massive damage it suffered at the hands of Serbian and Montenegran forces... it's a glittering pearl of beauty!
This little sweetie is one of the many doggies and kitties that we have encountered. She was pretty lucky because she belonged to someone! We see a lot of pets, but also - as I've mentioned - a lot of strays. Now, we've taken to always carrying in our pack a bag of dog bones and a package of lunch meat... and each time we meet a stray doggie or kitty we give them a treat or two. We have a policy of giving "treatys to the needies". It's so heartwarming to watch a hungry little kitten scarf down a piece of turkey! Even though this sweet girl had a home, we couldn't resist and gave her a couple of bones, which she thanked us for by doing some ridiculously cute little wiggle dances on the other side of the fence. We snugged her for a little while before moving along.
Here's a lovely shot of the evening scene picking up on the main street in Dubrovnik. It's full of cafes, shops, people, ice cream vendors, cats, dogs, souvenir vendors... it's magical, magical, magical. Musty is particularly smitten and has already written many little jingles about its splendors.

Hope you've enjoyed... Love to you all... you may be surprised to know that even with all this fun travelling, I really am thinking about you all a lot!
much love, Amey

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This morning we woke up early in chilly gray Sarajevo with overcast skies. We headed back downstream along the Neretva river, through the wooded mountains and then through Imotski. The further south you go in Hercegovina the more arid and scrubby and craggy it becomes. As we neared the coast we came to a very old and beautiful little Ottoman village along the river called Pocitelja. It's one of the western-most outposts of the Ottoman empire. Today Islam is the majority religion in Hercegovina. As Amey has mentioned, it's really interesting for post 9-11 American eyes to see Europeans populating an area that looks a little bit like the North Carolina Piedmont with the tractors, the agriculture (small scale family farming exclusively, lone sheppards), with mosques dotting the countryside everywhere in the exact same way we're accustomed to seeing little churches.

Anyway, Pocitelja is a particularly picturesque little cobblestone village with an old Ottoman fort up on the ridge and a mosque and stone houses built into the hillside. We'll post pictures tomorrow. You have to see it.

During the war Muslims were forced out of their countryside homes in little places like Pocitelja and took refuge in the cities of Mostar and Sarajevo. Now, the older generations are returning to their former homes when they can and fixing these little villages up, rebuilding homes from rubble. All over western Hercegovina you can see mile after mile of abondoned farmland gone to seed. Little two acre stone-walled plots now just have tall grass. It's shocking.

From Pocitelja we headed south and east about 20km, up into the tall Dinar mountain range, along an endless one lane road through moonscape to a tiny village called Hutovo where we'd been told was the 17th century origin of the name Mustapic (though there are accounts of the name in Serbia go back to the 15th century). It felt a little spooky-crazy how far out we got into this remote mountainous territory. Finally we found a church and some homes and a cemetery. We got out and looked at the one-acre cemetery...Mustapic everywhere, from mid-1800s to modern times.

We rang the priest's door bell and i showed him my driver's license and he gave me the customary local welcome, which is to point to a chair on the porch and say 'pivo', which means 'beer'. So Amey's hard work and genius for language kicked in and we had a nice conversation about how some Mustapics had been in this spot for at least 300 years, and how somewhere along the line some of them took off for imotski, about 60km to the north. My grand-grandfather was probably from the Imotski branch of the 'family'. Amey managed to communicate that I build guitars so he really lit up and ran into the house to get his classical guitar. We handed it back and forth for about 20 minutes while we 'talked'. It was really just fantastic. We exchanged email addresses and he said he'd get in touch with the priests in Lokvicici, Lovrec, and Imotski to see what he could figure out for me. What fun!

On our way out of the moutains we followed a much more straightforward path (still incredibly windy) toward the coast just a bit north of Dubrovnik. Just as we were pulling out of Hutovo, driving over the ridge, we literally drove THROUGH an old stone Ottomon fortress. We've founded out that around Hercegovina Mustafic is a very common muslim name. It's easy to speculate about the relationship between these names.

We pulled into Dubrovnik at about 4:30 this afternoon and quickly found unbelievably beautiful lodging in an old elegant villa, not nearly as expensive as we thought it might be here. All I can say about Dubrovnik is WOW! I had absolutely no idea a place could be so beautiful. It's a stunning, gleaming storybook place. Pictures and more very soon.

Our Final Day in Sarajevo

First off, thanks so much to all of you who commented... it really warms our spirits to "hear" some voices and news from home!!! Also, no pics today as this spot doesn't have the proper equipment. We'll try to get right on that!

Yesterday we had a really maximized travel day... so full of such diverse experiences that it felt like at least two days rolled into one. We woke up nice and early and drove a little ways down to the southern part of Sarajevo. Sarajevo has a population of about 605,000... so it's a bit big to just walk around. We were just cruising around in the car looking for something interesting to explore besides the tourist center, when we saw a huge, great market. The market was an outdoor vending market featuring absolutely everything - fruit, veggies, beans, clothes, soap, snacks, liquor, shoes, stovepipes... really bustling with life and activity and a cheery sense of commerce. Markets are so amazing... It's interesting to think about how this fundamental act of commerce and trade also contributes to so many human and intimate interactions. At all the markets we've been to on this trip, we've shared so many smiles, laughs, questions... We always leave with more vitality and enthusiasm than we started with.

After the market, we walked back to the car, past ACRES of cemetaries. Gravestone after gravestone reads xxxx-1993 or -1994 ... in all we read that about 10,500 people from Sarajevo were killed during the 3.5 year siege. All across Bosnia i Herzegovina and Croatia there are cemetaries full of new grave markers, but the numbers in Sarajevo really stunned me into speechlessness.

Next to the cemetaries is the Olympic sports stadium, from when Sarajevo hosted the 1984 winter olympics. We happened to park next to the public tennis courts, so we had a great time watching the little Sarajevan kiddos getting tennis lessons. We'll be looking for them on the pro circuit in 10 years or so!

After that excursion, we went over to the National Museum, which is still largely closed, but hosts a very nice and compelling collection of ancient artifacts from the Bosnia i Herzegovina area... Illyrian, Roman, Medieval... including some really nice pieces of ancient art work. In the same complex was a sweet botanical garden, and Natural History Museum hosting an incredible collection of taxidermied animals and birds and insects of the Balkan Pennisula.

Next door to that was the History Museum, which hosts an amazingly compelling, important, beautiful, and heartbreaking exhibit about the siege of Sarajevo in the early90's. For 3 and a half years, Serbian troups surrounded the city and held the citizens captive... they went largely without food, water, or electricity for that entire time. 10,500 were killed and 50,000 were injured. Staggering numbers. Musty and I both found that the extent of the tragedy is so immense and so grotesque and so so so sad that it becomes very hard to separate the people and the city from the tragedy. It seems to me that it would be nice to have a reason to be here long enough to get over that shock, and just begin to experience the people and the city without having that be on the forefront of one's mind. The museum was very profoundly moving and effective... a combination of documents, photographs, text, and artifacts that citizens of the city donated. I still can't shake it... it had a huge impact, as it should. I'm so sorry for the people of this city (and all these cities and countries) that they have suffered so much. And I am also so amazed that we see them laughing and living and being so friendly and so gracious... We have both had the impression that the people here are very kind and gentle... An amazing number of them speak nearly fluent English too, which helps our cause since my Croatian language skills are only limping along under the most dire of circumstances.

After that sober exhibit... we needed a breath of fresh air, so we headed out into the countryside to investigate the purported Pyramid at Visoko. If you don't know about this story... it's so fun. Some guy claims that a mountain in this little town is actually a pyramid, the largest in the world. There is significant scepticism, and I must say... we both headed in really wanting to believe it... but unfortunately, seeing was not believing. Mostly it just looked like excavated rock strata to us! Anyhow, they're making some tourist income out of it, and I commend them for that. BiH is hard up, and it's a beautiful place that deserves a lot more love and attention than it gets!

We were poking around trying to locate a path up to the "pyramid", when a little girl named Selma discovered us and became our self-appointed guide, along with her two little friends. She marched us up the steep hill at a rapid fire rate that nearly killed us both... chattering away in Bosnian (aka Croatian). She deftly waved off the grown men lurking to lure tourists, telling them that they were too late and she had already claimed us! She gave us a detailed and completely unintelligable lecture on the finer points of the pyramid's structure, entireley in Bosnian, and we were quite delighted. We paid her a bit, and she and her friends went scampering happily back down the mountain. Mind you, this was no little climb! The kids in this town are going to be serious athletes if the pyramid situation continues.

Pyramid or no, Visoko was a beautiful, quiet little town with a river and riverside restaurants and little shops... a sweet and peaceful place to explore and get out of the city for a while.

In the evening we headed back to Sarajevo, and spent the night wandering around the beautiful old bazaar, glittering with jewelry shops, bronze and metal workers, trinket shops, and restaurants. It's really a beautiful nightlife here....

hope that wasn't too long and boring - but we really wanted to share it with you all!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hi Everyone!
Just a couple of photos tonight, because I'm tired and because the connection here is pretty slow. This first picture is the famous Stari Most, or Old Bridge, in Mostar... at dusk. Isn't is Beautiful?! Just a glamour shot, but it will show you a little bit of why we fell in love with Mostar.
Today we drove from Mostar to Sarajevo, which took about 3 hours or so. We drove through one of the most spetacular and amazing and magical places I have ever seen. Bosnia and Herzegovina is full of absolutely stunning landscapes. The drive was mostly all alongside the Neretva river (same one going under the Stari Most)... and up through the mountains, with HUGE dramatic rocks, and crystal clear acquamarine water, and wildflowers, and farms... wow. We were ooohing and aaahing for about 2 hours straight.

Finding a place to stay in Sarajevo turned out to be a difficult, tiring, and pricey endeavor... and it took a few hours too! We're settled in now at a little pension. It's alright, a pretty room but quite cold! Sarajevo has a lot of beauty, but also so much destruction... it really is so heartbreaking. By and large, the people are exceptionally friendly ... and we have found that most people speak at least enough english to help answer our questions!

One thing that has us both so fascinated is the experience of meeting and seeing so many white, European muslims. This is certainly not the image of Islam that we see so often in the American press. 70% of the 605,000 people here in Sarajevo are Muslims. It's very interesting. Some of the ladies have hijabs on (headscarves), and some the men have traditional beards, but mostly they all just look like the hip, friendly, and extremely(!!!) stylish Europeans that they are!

Here in Sarajevo there is an Iranian Embassz which hosts a very sweet little Iranian Cultural Center. We popped in to check it out, and here I am with the great woman who talked with us. We are standing in front of a case of stunning enamel platters from Iran... such exquisite worksmanship!! She was very sweet and fun to talk with. She is Bosnian, but works at the embassy-cultural center. She speaks Bosnian, English, Farsi, and Arabic! Whoa!

Monday, September 11, 2006

We took tons of pictures today but they can take some time to upload. Here's a very good photo gallery Mostar that shows much of what we saw today. Among many notable things was the widespread devstation of modern warfare. Since these photos were taken there has been a bit more reconstruction, especially in the touristy and beautiful old-town which features a gleamingly reconstructed stone bridge that the town is most famous for. As you look through the pictures in this gallery you might thing that each picture of a totally blown up building is an isolated thing....not so. There's just not a wide enough lens to capture how widespread the destruction is. It just engulfs you. Throughout about half of the city, even where buildings look intact from a distance, you can plainly see from within 300 feet that they've been thoroughly strafed with artillery.
Mostar Photo Gallery
Another picture

It's also just about impossible to fathom how the people here have the courage and resolve to reconstruct as much as they have. They're fixing things from the ground floor up, and from the inside out. It's an incredible achievement already, with a long long way to go.

Hi Everyone!
We walked Mostar into the ground today!! We walked for hours and hours... all over the old town, all over the Muslim part of town, all over the Croat part of town, saw the university, saw the two new shopping centers... and now we are dog tired!

Speaking of dogs... there are lots of them here. In Croatia we saw loads of pet dogs, about 75% purebreds and the other 25% mutts. Here in Mostar, there are some pet dogs, but there also a lot of stray dogs. They are all very, very cute... and also very friendly. This afternoon, a cute little sweetie accosted us with her silly face and wagging tail. I was inspired to go in the market and buy her some dog bones and a little package of mini hot dogs. She was really, really skinny... so I hope those treats gave her a little boost. I'm already creating fantasies of finding her tomorrow morning and taking her home with us! Sigh, I guess one can only do so much sometimes.

Tomorrow morning we will drive off to Sarajevo, maybe stop at a sight or two along the way.

love to you all!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Here are a few photos to go with our last two posts that we made earlier tonight! Hoorah! We are so glad to be able to share photos with you all.

These are some pictures of Matt with many other people, ALL with the surname Mustapić!!....

These are the Mustapić people from the village near Lovreč. They were all looking at Matt's family tree and trying to figure out if there were any relations. Unfortunately, we really don't have enough information. They invited us for a great lunch - including some delicious potatoes with olive oil & red onion, some tomato and bell pepper salad, and some fantastic local greens (like a combo of collards and spinach... so tasty!), homemade wine, homegrown grapes and figs... oh yeah!)

This is Matt Mustapick and Mate Mustapić... fun!

Hi Friends!

Thanks for the comment mom... It feels great to hear some sweet news from home... especially tonight when we are really feeling in a different world. This evening we drove from Imotski (in Croatia) over into Mostar, a beautiful town in Bosnia i Herzegovina. We were instantly suprised that just crossing the border gave us new foliage to see, and different looking houses... a whole new look. In the Croatian countryside the houses looked very old and were all made of stone and mortar with red tile rooves. Here, the houses are brick with stucco. The most noticable thing here is that in the countryside ALL the houses are brand new. Everywhere you look you see new houses being built. We are able to guess that these are people rebuilding after the war, and-or people who relocated to Bosnia because of the war.

Mostar is a beatiful little city --- half plateau and half rocky, extra-dramatic landscape. The heart of the old city is an AMAZING river, so beautiful... with many bridges going across it. All the bridges were destroyed during the war, including the most beautiful and beloved 500-year old Stari Most bridge. It was rebuilt 3 years ago, and it is so special and beautiful. We got a great little apartment about 50 feet away from it! We are really looking forward to waking up early and exploring this beautiful place in the morning light.

The city is composed of a Christian Croat section and a Muslim section. It's an enchanting combination of eastern and western cultures all rolled into one magical place. Very, very different from anywhere either of us has ever been before.

Unforunately, this great city is still quite full of buildings that were destroyed in the war. It's very sad and very unavoidable. Even in the heart of the city center, we can see all around us signs of the conflict. The people seem eager to live their lives with joy though, and we have encountered nothing but exceptional friendliness. For example, when we accidentally drove our car the wrong way down a one-way street the guy coming toward us stopped us and gave us directions in Italian (which I speak) on how to get into the Center. Amazing. Such warm smiles everywhere.

I am subsisting off fresh bread, fruit, sparkling water, and a few snacks I brought from home. Musty meanwhile is able to be adventurous and is enjoying eating all sorts of anonymous meaty specialties. Last night, at our delightfully Eastern European hotel in Imotski, he ordered a local special which was meat stuffed with more meat, stuffed with cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs, and fried! DANG! And the 2 Croatian couples next to us ordered dinner and received a huge platter with 8 sausages, 6 steaks, and 6 kabobs. I cannot emphasize what an absurd amount of meat this was! With it they got about 1.5 gallons of greasy french fries and about 16 pieces of fresh bread. The countryside is absolutely full of veggie gardens and farms, but the restaraunts are not serving any veggies, that's for sure!

more soon, xo Amey

We spent yesterday being entertained by the Mustapic families who live in their own eponymous settlement near Lovrec, about 11 miles north-northeast of Imotski. Lots of food and stilted conversation. One of the Mustapics there was a very nice lady named Maria Mustapic, who left Lovrec to go to Vancouver in 1968, when she was 14 years old. She had just gotten back to Lovrec two days ago. A young guy named Mate Mustapic (same name as me!) showed us the church and the cemetery, Mustapics everywhere. He*s studying computer science in Split, and will continue his studies in Zagreb next year.

This morning we woke up in a hotel near Imotski and went to explore some unbelievablz enormous sinkhole lakes near the town. Each of them are about 1,700 feet across, and 1,700 feet deep, and each with lakes at the bottom.

Then we went to visit a whole other group of Mustapic families who all live in another settlement near Lokvicici, about 4 miles north-northeast of Imotski. I met a little baby named Mate (yup, there*s that name again!). We had lots of stilted conversation and got a tour of the church.

This afternoon we drove into Mostar, Bosnia i Herzegovina. On our way in BiH we passed an industrial facility named Mustapic Frigo filled with shipping trucks with Mustapic Frigo emblazened on them. Since Amey is sitting right next to me typing all about Mostar (an amazingly exotic place) I*ll save my fingers for next time. We*ll be here another day or two, then off to Sarajevo.

We don*t have a usb port on this computer, so no pictures this time, but I*m sure a few quick Google searches will show you just where we are and we we*ve been. Please drop us a comment below to let us know you*ve received our latest installment.


Friday, September 08, 2006

First off... apologies for no pictures... we can't the website to work right now. Sigh, I guess that's what you get for free.

What a great day we had today!!

The highlight of our day was our afternoon trek out to the beaches. It was a bit of a walk, but it was a beautiful day and a cool walk through some pretty interesting areas. We went to a great museum featuring the scultpures by Ivan Meštrović, a sculptor from the 30's-50's. Really great work, a wide range of expressions and mediums - some wood carvings, a lot of great marble carvings, and many bronze castings. Some were Really intense and others were quiet... pretty cool!

Then, on to the Beach!! Fun and beautiful! Across the street from the museum we saw a little staircase... looking only barely inviting, but we investigated and it was great! The beach had a great Euro-vibe going on. Their were lots of old guys, tanner than seems possible, with big ponches, sitting around in their speedos playing cards. There were chubby old ladies with their bikinis on... and kiddos screaming and romping in the water. The water is amazing - perfect temperature, no waves, gorgeously turquoise and clear, and very salty so we were feeling downright bouyant! It was great! Hoorah for the Adriatic! In all our excitement, we forgot to photodocument our first dip in the Adriatic Sea...

We love the nighttime scene on the seaside prominade in Split. Seems like 3/4 of the town comes down each night and wanders around. It's so fun. We are getting braver with our Croatian speaking skills and enjoy saying Good Evening and such. Who knew such a tiny thing could take such courage and elicit such thrills!?

ps. a fun tidbit. When we type these messages, the keyboards here are quite different... The Z and the Y have changed places, and then they've added in ĆŠŽĐČ... it takes a little getting used to!

pps. leave us some comments & let us know that you're reading!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Musty here...
We made it safely to Croatia! We arrived a few minutes late, but generally our journey was very smooth!

We have a beautiful apartment in the center of the city... a great location with sounds and views of the Adriatic Sea.

This morning we started with a short walk along the shore on the east side of town, past a dock with small boats and then a dock with some big fancy yachts. We stopped so Musty could fill his belly with a chocolate pastry and a coffee with cream, which 'round here means ice cream! Da, dobro! Further along our walk we were overlooking a beautiful bluff where we could see way down into the water and watch the fish swimming. We saw a lone fisherman heading out in his 14-foot boat for a day at the "office". Then Amey got stung by a bee. Ouch!

Next stop, Diocleatian's palace. Roman emperor about 300AD. Not a particularly good one it seems, but he was from around here and built himself one hell of a pad. Now it's a really cool, really huge old building.

Next to that was the farmer's market, definitely the highlight of my day. I learned before our trip from a little Internet research that Mustapič's originate from a little town, Imotski. When I saw a woman there selling "Imotski" grapes we rifled through our phrasebook to find out how to ask if she knew of the Mustapič family. She said yes, then I showed her my driver's license. Her face lit up and she told me her grandfather was a Mustapič! That's her in the picture. We had a big high five and a cheer. Another woman from a nearby table came running over and wanted a high five too, her relatives were Mustapič! We think we probably go to the tiny little settlement of Mustapič, outside the tiny town Imotski, this weekend.

Cheers, Musty

Amey here,

As a general impression, the town of Split is very beautiful. The weather is HOT and lovely... There is very similar feeling to Italy, but with a unique spin. When we arrived around 9pm last night, we went for a long walk until about midnight, with shorts and tank tops! Oh yeah! Now I remember why I love this part of the world so much!

At the market we had fun buying ourselves loads of produce... figs, bananas, grapes, and a big red pepper. Very tasty. This afternoon we both crashed, a combination of heat and a long walk, and major sleep deprivation. But we're back out this evening and looking forward to some dinner and a temperate stroll. The night life here is extremely active - there were loads and loads of people of all ages walking around, drinking, eating late, listening to music until at least midnight last night (a Wednesday night!). As you might imagine, the streets weren't so full when our jet lag and excitement got us out of the apartment at 7 am. So we've got every reason to believe that tonight will be just as fun.

More soon! love to you all! Amey & Musty