Cruising the Adriatic
Jan. 27 – Feb. 14, 2010
We visited the absolutely beautiful area of Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina mostly by small ship. Interestingly enough we began our trip in the snow in Zagreb Croatia, and ended our trip two and a half weeks later in Zagreb in the snow. While we were on the ship in the Adriatic we experienced pretty good weather even though it was cold. Away from the coast and in the mountains it was all about snow and I actually loved it because it was like being in a winter wonderland. This was our twenty-second trip with Overseas Adventure Travel, which is our favorite travel company.
We flew into Zagreb, spent the day and night, then headed to the Adriatic coast to begin our ten night adventure on OAT’s Small Ship, the Athena. Our itinerary would take us to Zadar, Sibenik, Krka Falls, Split, Hvar Island, Dubrovnik (all in Croatia) Kotor Island and Cetinje Montengro, Mostar and Blagaj Bosnia, then to Opatija, Zagreb and Varazdin Croatia.
Pictures of the Athena….our cabin, our little balcony, and the lounge.
The peninsula town of Zadar Croatia has Roman ruins dating back to the 3rd century BC, when the Holy Roman Empire ruled the city.
Sibenik Croatia is a hillside city that fans out like an amphitheatre with late-Middle Ages architecture. We enjoyed strolling around the tangled streets and alleys then took a hike to the top of the hill overlooking the town. The Cathedral of St. James, (built 1431-1536) is famous for its sculptures carved all along the outside of the church.
Krka Falls is a series of cascading waterfalls that comprises one of Croatia’s true natural wonders.
The entire old section of Split Croatia, with the palace as its centerpiece, is the Imperial Palace of the Roman Emperor Diocietian and was occupied by Diocietian from 300 – 313 AD. It is a virtual open-air museum with the city’s contemporary life bustling through it.
Hvar Island is the longest of the Croatian Isles. It is supposed to be one of the sunniest spots in Europe. The first three pictures are of the port town which certainly was a pleasant lovely place. We then drove around the island, finding it to be mountainous with lavender fields and vineyards. Loved the sleepy little towns.
Dubrovnik Croatia is one of my favorite places. It is regarded as one of the world’s most exquisite walled cities. It was a fortress city that served as the base for a fleet of ships that carried trade between much of Europe and the Middle east during the years from 1358 to 1808.
While in Dubrovnik we were fortunate to be there for St. Blaise Day. St. Blaise is the patron saint of the city and his feast is celebrated yearly on Feb. 3, when relics of the saint, his head, and a few bones from his body are paraded in reliquaries. We were there early and got to see a lot of church groups marching and singing into town. They paraded the Saint all around town (bottom picture left) and then took him back to the St. Blaise Church (bottom picture right.)
Jim & I walked around the top of the walls of the ancient city. It is 1 1/4 miles around the walkway and is undoubtedly the most fabulous ancient wall-city we will ever walk on. We had done the same walk in Dec. 2005, but the wind was blowing so hard it about blew us off the wall, and then it would rain so hard we’d almost wash off the wall. Not this time. It was a beautiful walk, and the only thing we were missing was the sunshine.
We cruised through Europe’s deepest fjord as we headed to Croatia’s southern neighbor, Montenegro. The scenery was just beautiful! In these pictures we were cruising to Kotor Montenegro, a small Mediterranean country at the foot of the Balkan mountain range.
Kotor Montenegro happens to be another one of my favorite towns. It is truly a picturesque walled city, with one of the largest and best-preserved medieval areas of the Adriatic region. In the picture on the left note the trail up to the walled fort that overlooks the town on the tip top of the mountain.
On the mountain above Kotor is an ancient fort. There is a trail that leads to the top. Jim & I decided to hike to the top, however only Jim accomplished the feat. I got scared on the crumbling trail and only went half way. He got some French kids to take his picture under the flag to prove he had been there. He found his way down on the back side of the mountain and arrived at the ship just before dark.
From Kotor we drove over the mountains to the 15th century town of Cetinje Montengro and guess what we found? Yep, snow!
We docked just outside the fortified towers of Korcula Town, Croatia. It is a charmingly quaint little medieval walled town on an island in the Adriatic. It was easy to walk on every narrow little twisted street…it was rather like walking back into time.
It happened to be “Carnival” in Korcula the night we were there. The crew and a few of us dressed up and attended the festivities. Well…it was dancing, drinking and parading around in costumes with lighted candles. It was rather fun!
Mostar Bosnia & Herzegovina is famous for this bridge. The city is named for the watchtowers of its historic bridge. The bridge spans the Neretva River, which divides the town into Muslim and Croat sections and was built in the 16th century. The original structure was destroyed by a bomb during the Bosnian conflict in 1993, and UNESCO helped fund its rebuilding to look just like the original.
We bid the Athena good-bye (1st picture) and drove by bus up the coast and over the mountains to Opatija, which is located in northern Croatia back down the mountains and on the coast.
Opatija Croatia has a fantastic promenade that goes along the coast about eight miles (1st picture) In Dec. 2005 when Jim & I were there we walked the entire promenade, believe it or not! This time we had time for only a short walk, however I did find a fix-upper located right on the waters edge (middle picture). Sunset while walking on the promenade (3rd picture).
We spent the last four nights in the snow in Zagreb, which is the capital and located in the northeast part of Croatia.
Varazdin Croatia was another one of my favorite towns. Jim & I decided to take the train on a 2 1/2 hour trip to the northeastern corner of Croatia. The entire day it snowed huge flakes and there was a lot of snow in Varazdin, making it an even more beautiful place. We strolled around town and also went to the castle which was begun in the 12th century and today it is a museum featuring everything antique.
purchased tickets on-line to see the ballet “Swan Lake” at the
Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. We had splendid box seats
for the fabulous production! We have seen “Swan Lake” twice in the
last three months, first in Vienna Austria and now in Zagreb, and I’d go
see it again at a moments notice.