Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Afternoon in Zadar, Croatia

We left the apartment in Split around 10am – and Steven and I sat in the sun by the port drinking good coffee in a café, while Rachel popped back to the market.  We then walked to the bus station and boarded the bus to Zadar.  Anne’s flight to zadar had been cancelled but we decided to juts let things ride and make decisions of what to do later.

On the bus we happened to sit next to a nurse who assisted in Cochlear Implant Operations.  She was based in a small town in Germany, although she was Russian.  Very small world.

We arrived in Zadar in pouring rain so taxi’d to the apartment. We dropped our bags then went out exploring - this is what greeted us right outside our apartment.  Fortunately it had stopped raining...


The Cathedral of St. Anastasia is a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Zadar. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zadar, and the largest church in all of Dalmatia.

The church's origins date back to a Christian basilica built in the 4th and 5th centuries, while much of the currently standing building was constructed in the Romanesque style during the 12th and 13th centuries. The site has been submitted to UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites.




We wandered around the alleyways...

And found this amazing icecream vendor... There were lots of icecream vendors around Zadar but this one was by far the most popular. Proves that it's all about marketing!



We wandered around the small city taking photos, then found a cheap restaurant and stopped for a lovely meal.






 




I also found a very good quality, but very nicely priced makeup shop – I bought a lipstick! That brings my sum total of lipsticks to 67.  I have a lipstick problem!

The airline put on a van to Zadar for Anne but it wasn’t getting in until 1am, so Steven and I waited up and met her to walk her back to the apartment when she arrived.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

From Dubrovnik to Split, Croatia


Cheap Dubrovnik Tours picked us up at 8.00 to take us to Split.  We thought this would be a better option as we could stop and take photos along the way, whereas the bus would mean we were stuck in the bus.  Unfortunately it didn't work out as we liked, but we got to Split nice and early, and we did manage a couple of places for photography on the way.

We were taken down to a little bay with an abandoned house, that nature was gradually claiming back...


Rachel up on the stairs taking photos of the 'lounge'. Our driver was getting worried about our safety!


We stopped to have morning tea. I have no idea what they were called but they were delicious!



A bit further on we stopped for photography at a little picturesque village..




Leaving the village we came across this country scene.  The clouds were starting to look a bit weird!


A long hike up a hill and this opened up for views.  What a beautiful country Croatia is...


I have no idea what these clouds are, or what they convey other than bad weather coming, but I had never seen anything like it!


We dumped our bags at the apartment then walked into split – only a 5 min walk to the old town from our apartment which was great.  Rachel was not feeling so good, but we headed to the bus station to get our tickets to Zadar for tomorrow.


Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city of the region of Dalmatia. It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, centred on the Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian. It is one of the oldest cities in the area. While it is traditionally considered just over 1,700 years old counting from the construction of Diocletian's Palace in 305 CE, archaeological research relating to the original founding of the city as the Greek colony of Aspálathos in the 4th century BCE establishes the urban history of the area as being several centuries older. The city turned into a prominent settlement around 650 AD, when it became successor to the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, Salona. Split became a Byznantine city, and later drifted into the sphere of the Byzantine vassal, the Republic of Venice. For much of the High and Late Middle Ages, Split enjoyed autonomy as a free city, caught in the middle of a struggle between Venice and the King of Hungary for control over the Dalmatian cities. After a long period of Hungarian rule, Venice eventually prevailed.


Prokurative , or officially the Republic Square, the famed Mediterranean plaza in the center, also known as a stage for cultural events in the city

One of the entrances into the old Town..



Inside the Old Town...


One of the narrow streets in Split, if not the narrowest!



We wandered around a bit more, and found these singers in the Diocletian Palace singing traditional Croatian Capellas.  They were amazing.

The Palace was decorated with numerous 3500 year old granite sphinxes originating from the site of Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. Only three have survived the centuries. One is still located on the Peristyle, the second sits headless in front of Jupiter's Temple, and a third is in the city museum.  I guess this is the one located on the Peristyle !

Archeological work still goes on inside Split...


As well as building reconstruction...


Furniture makers working in the street...

Stopped for dinner at a pizza place and I had a glass of red wine for 20 kuna – which was really nice.  Rachel felt worse so Steven walked her back to the apartment while I kept wandering around.  I met Steven back at the cup sculpture about 15 mins later but while I had been walking around I had found a hairdresser that would cut and tidy up my hair for only 75 kuna or 10 euros.  So I booked it, then showed Steven where it was, so he could find me at 8.00 when it was finished.
The hairdresser was brilliant and cut my hair really well – super pleased with it, and I jokingly told them I’d like to book another appointment in 10 years!  Lots of laughs.



People were sitting around drinking wine and listening to entertainment here...


Steven and I then carried on walking around, exploring the little alleyways, and taking photos of the town as night fell.  At about 10pm we decided to head back, but we found a winebar and stopped for some red wine – beautiful.  When I told the waiter I was from Marlborough he just about swooned and said it’s the best wine growing region he knows!
Rachel was already sound asleep when we got in.


Last day in Dubrovnik...Walking the wall!

We mucked around all morning doing washing and catching up on emails and generally having a slower day.  We then went out about 1pm, walked to the old town, then caught the cable car up to the top where we sat and had lunch looking out on the view. It was beautiful. Compared with the old Town though, it was quite chilly up there on the hill!



After lunch we headed down to the old town again where Steven and I got the tickets for the walk on the city walls, and Rachel went to the art gallery to buy a painting.

We met at the art gallery then headed to the Port and wandered around there – which was lovely.  Very laid back and warm.  I was amazed at how clear the water was, even in the port.


It would have been very remiss of us not to do the typical star jump to remind us that we are tourists!


My two fellow photographers...


We waited until about 4pm to do the wall walk for two reasons. First, most of the tourists had gone by then, and secondly, it was much cooler!

At the start of the city wall walk, we found an oasis for stray cats.  Residents around the area have banded together to create this lovely area, full of plants, wicker chairs, blankets, pots, and even a sun umbrella for the stray cats to feel safe, looked after, and fed.  They even had built little homes for them.  Both Steven and I donated a few euros for this amazing oasis, and really pleased someone is looking after at least some of the strays of which there are many.  I got talking to a woman who is part of it and she told me 20 cats were using this area at the moment. Every morning and night they hose the whole area down with fire hoses to keep everything clean.


After climbing up heaps of steps, we are now on top of the wall looking at a completely different part of the Old Town!



Looking down below...


Walking on the above and people walking in the alleys below...


The Port is simply gorgeous...


Looking over the rooftops...


And into abandoned buildings...


Looking up the main thoroughfare, and down on the main square...



 More abandoned buildings...


The wall...


I had thought the ruins had been part of the war in 1991, but on asking, I found that they had happened in an earthquake in April 1979. Reconstruction had halted during the war but are now starting again.





Steven and I were a bit slower and lost Rachel, but we found her at the bottom of the wall waiting for us - lost in internet heaven....


 My last image makes me laugh. I photographed that door on my first day, but I was with other photographers who were just as keen as I.  I don't think the photographers wife looks very patient!


I am so impressed with Dubrovnik. In 1991 during the offensive, 11,425 buildings in the region sustained damage; 886 were totally destroyed and 1,675 sustained damage. The cost of the damage was estimated at 480 million Deutsche Marks. Damage to the Old Town of Dubrovnik was observed by a UNESCO team which stayed in the city from 27 November until 20 December 1991. It was estimated that 55.9% of buildings were damaged, that 11.1% were heavily damaged and 1% were burnt down. Seven burnt Baroque palaces were the greatest losses. Additional damage was caused by the JNA troops looting museums, businesses and private homes. The Franciscan monastery of St. Jerome in Slano was also targeted. The JNA admitted that looting took place, but Jokić said the property would be distributed to Serbian refugees by a special JNA administration set up on 15 December 1991. It is probable, however, that the looted property ended up in private homes or was sold on the black market.

Following attempts to justify the JNA offensive, authorities in Serbia and Montenegro tried to deny damage to the Old Town. Radio TV in Serbia said that smoke rising from the Old Town was the result of automobile tyres set on fire by the population of Dubrovnik. According to a 2010 survey of public opinion in Serbia, 40% of those polled did not know who bombarded Dubrovnik, while 14% believed that no shelling occurred. In a June 2000 meeting with Croatian President Mesić, the President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović apologized to Croatia for the attack. The gesture was welcomed in Croatia, but it was condemned by Đukanović's political opponents in Montenegro and by authorities in Serbia.

If you take a look on Google of some of the images of the damage of the Old Town back in 1991 and then compare them to what you see from my images today, the reconstruction has been a huge job and very successful. I hope it never happens again as it's a beautiful place.