Mustapicked A Good Vacation!

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

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!


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Sara said...

how beautiful is that park!! it is wonderful to hear that you are going at such a relaxed pace that you can enjoy just being where you are. And the decision making about where next...what fun to throw the answer to the wind once in a while...Love hearing from you and I look forward to a direct report on time in Bologna and with Fabrizio.

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

What a lovely trip you guys have been having (and what an AMAZING park you discovered!) I liked hearing about the park, and how you made the decision to go to the island, and about your evening adventures. How much fun! I find it fun that Andrew and I are off traveling and blogging at the same time as you guys. I love learning more about the places you're visiting, and how you both are spending your time. Say hi to Fabrizio for me. I hope I get to visit him some day in Italy, too!


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