This is a guest post by Peggy, Della’s mom, who joined us, along with Wayne, for 14 days in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia Herzegovina.
After finishing up at Plitvice Lakes National Park, we headed directly to the coast. Our first stop was Zadar. This was high on Della and Eric’s list because Zadar is home to Maraska, a maker of slivovitz. We didn’t find a brewery tour but we did find the equivalent of an outlet store. We bought several small bottles. Peg’s favorite was Orahovac, made of green walnut.
Zadar is famous for its sunsets and we were not disappointed. It’s really nice sitting on the sea wall listening to the eerie but somewhat repetitive sounds of the sea organ. Embedded pipes in the sea wall produce the sound. We were a little disappointed by the Salute to the Sun but maybe it wasn’t quite dark enough to fully appreciate its virtues. It reminded us of water fountains, like the one in front of Denver’s natural history museum. Instead of randomly shooting water it randomly produces lights in the pavement. (Editor’s Note: We tried to take videos of the Sea Organ and Salute to the Sun but neither came out great). In the morning, Della and Wayne took a quick swim on the more sheltered side of town.
Then we were off to Split. The main attraction here is Diocletian’s palace, built for the retirement of the emperor of the Roman empire around 300 AD. There are an interesting mix of original roman structures and other houses and shops built during the next several centuries after villagers moved inside the walls following the Slavic invasion in 700 AD.
In both Zadar and Split we had excellent airbnbs in fairly ugly high rise Tito era buildings, but with modern interiors. We think both cities warranted longer stays.
The next day we drove to Dubrovnik. We had a bit of a snafu when our airbnb canceled at the last minute due to a roof leak. Our host helped us find something else, though not quite as nice. We also had a snafu with the rental car. The office was closed so we left the car and hoped for the best. It all turned out OK.
Dubrovnik is a beautiful walled city which oozes charm. But it was packed with tourists and felt a teeny bit like Disney world. Or perhaps the set for a film. Which indeed it was. We missed Game of Thrones filming by a couple of days! We spent 2 days in Dubrovnik. We enjoyed walking the wall and also swimming in a cool lagoon.
While everywhere we went in Croatia had great natural beauty and grand historic sites, there is also ample evidence of the recent ugly past and the damage from the Yugoslav wars. The area around Plivice had been home to many Serbs, placed there by the Austrians to serve as a first line of defense against the Ottomons. You could see many abandoned homes. And of course Dubrovnik was subject to a siege, although the war stories in Croatia paled in comparison to those we heard later in Bosnia.