02 August 2010

Croatian Road Trip-Day 15-Dolimiti Mountains, Italy + the road home

I had to take the shortest way possible back from Koper because I was short on cash and I know that I can only get about 450 kilometers out of a half tank of gas, which is all I could afford. And forget about taking tollways. So I messed with the GPS until it gave me the shortest route, which went directly through the Dolomite mountains (Dolimiti) in Italy. It was a treat, although it took a very, very long time to drive the direct route. Normally, it would only take 4.5 hours to get back from Koper. In this case it took 10 hours. But as you can see by the photographs, it was a lovely route.

Dolimiti, Italy

A waterfall I happened upon.

"To work, too old.
To die, too young.
To vacation, in perfect shape!"

Mühlbacher Klause.

A possible clue to where the following fortress is because I have no idea what it's called (yet).

And that was my trip! I hope you enjoyed the photographs. Stay tuned for more adventures and don't forget to click on "Older Posts" to see the full series. Thanks!

Photos are available for download in higher resolution here.

01 August 2010

Croatian Road Trip-Day 14: Leaving Croatia + Koper, Slovenia

Koper was nice enough but truthfully I regret not staying an extra day in Croatia. My host was great and the old town was nice, but I missed the Croatian coast. As I'd been told, the coast wasn't as appealing in Slovenia so again I didn't get to go swimming. Every day that I didn't get to go swimming on this trip was a bit of a black spot. Nevertheless, it was a nice evening.

Leaving the lovely Kika & Amor in Opatija (and his and Marko's delicious cooking!).

A kooky "panorama" of the main church in Koper.


My host Matej sneaking across the shot.

They have bicycle roundabouts in Koper!

Sunset from Matej's balcony.

Photos are available for download in higher resolution here.

Croatian Road Trip-Day 13: Cres & Beli

I spent the first half of the day with Teta Andrica & Barba Fabijan. We had another delicious lunch (squid with rice) and enjoyed the lovely, breezy weather: a break from the extreme heat of the week before. I should probably mention that Teta Andrica & Barba Fabijan actually live in Chicago, but they have a summer home in Cres. So I know them well, unlike the family on the other island who I just met/got reacquainted with after more than 20 years.

In the afternoon, Barba Fabijan walked me back to the meeting spot from the day before. We had a beer while I silently schemed on a way to move there one day. I'm still working on that.

Eleonora, Marko & I went back to Beli and this time we went right to the beach. It was quite different than I remembered it. It seems that tourism has found our little secret gem of a beach. At least I had the pleasure of enjoying it for a whole month with limited crowds back when I was 12.

After swimming for awhile, we headed back up the the village. They went to the Eco-center/Griffon vulture rescue and I stayed at the only restaurant in town and talked to the proprietor, who it turns out is a cousin of mine. I'd been to the restaurant many times before when I was in Beli and it hadn't changed a bit.
Anyway, we chatted and caught up and he told me that he'd heard about my dad in church. Apparently only 33 people live in Beli now. Strange, but I expected it to be busier this time around but I'm glad (perhaps selfishly so) that it's not.

Barba Fabijan tending to the grill.

Their lovely garden.

A small bouquet of lavender.

Sitting down to a fine lunch with teta & barba.

Mmmm...squid & rice.

Walking around Cres again.

I cannot believe I didn't make time to go swimming.

From the cliffs of Cres.

Predošćica (on the way to Beli).


On the way down to the beach.

Again, Glavotok in the distance. The running joke for the week was that my grandfather had a pair of binoculars which he used to scope out the chicks on the other island and that's how he found my grandmother. Haha.

Crowded. Ugh.

Buffet Beli.

Leaving Beli. I must say that I really choked up at one point as we drive away that night, just like I did the first time I left Beli in the mid-eighties. It's a very special place to me. So full of history: my family's history.

The ferry.

Photos are available for download in higher resolution here.