Flashback Friday: European Sunsets

Flashback Friday is a picture series where we “flashback” to some of our memories – from either from our prior travel or from home. We hope you’ll enjoy some of our remembrances! 

We’ve been experiencing some nice sunsets here in Asia, so naturally, we remembered some of our other nice sunsets from the road. During our self-drive safari in Africa, we saw some amazing sunsets almost every night. We shared some of those in a flashback Friday post. We were in Africa for only 6 weeks and came up with 11 photos we just needed to share. We were in Europe for much longer and saw much fewer nice sunsets. However, there were 14 pictures we wanted to show you. Enjoy some awesome sunsets!

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“The greatest sunset in the world” in Zadar, Croatia

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A closer shot of the “greatest sunset in the world” in Zadar, Croatia

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Sunset over the Adriatic from the walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Sunset over a mosque in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina

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Berat, Albania

Pretty sunset

Tirana, Albania

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Delphi, Greece

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Nafplio, Greece

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Fethiye, Turkey

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This one was so good, we had to show you two! Fethiye, Turkey

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Selcuk, Turkey

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Kas, Turkey

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Pamukkale, Turkey

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Antalya, Turkey

14 Days with Peggy and Wayne in 14 Pictures: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina

We wanted to share the best of our trip with Peggy and Wayne with you all. Here are 14 pictures from 14 days exploring Slovenia, Croatian, and Bosnia Herzegovina.

We met up with Peggy and Wayne in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. They took a long distance train from Vienna, we took one from Eger, Hungary. We met up easily and then spent a rainy day in Zagreb together. Here is our very first attempt at a family jelfie. Not bad for the first try!

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After one day and two nights in Zagreb, we headed into Slovenia. We knew we wanted to see the beautiful Lake Bled, so we wasted no time in getting there. What an amazing place! We enjoyed beautiful weather as we visited this lovely mountain lake. It is distinctive because it has an island in the middle with a church and a castle perched on a high cliff overlooking the region. We only wish we had remembered our swimming suits!

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After visiting Lake Bled, we headed back to Ljubljana. We had heard that this capital city of Slovenia was lovely. Not much to do per se, but perfect to enjoy the “Café Culture.” We did enjoy our day here!

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After one quick day in Ljubljana, we headed off to Skocjan Caves. This UNESCO Heritage site was a large cave in two parts. The first part was not super impressive if you’ve seen the likes of Carlsbad Caverns, but lovely all the same. The second part was magnificent. You are perched over a 47 meter drop to the rushing river below. You aren’t allowed to take pictures until you exit. Blargh.

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After the morning at the caves, we rushed back into Croatia. We stopped briefly at a small town called Opitija in the Istria region. We didn’t stay long, but we did stay long enough to enjoy our first views of the Adriatic and to allow our inner school children to emerge!

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After our brief stop on the coast, we went directly to the Plitvice Lakes region. Here we had the best dinner of the entire trip!

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After a bit of a rocky start, rainy and mist and clouds, we finally got a bit of sun and saw the beautiful lakes.

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After our day at Plitvice, we raced on to the lovely city of Zadar, Croatia. We’ve read blog posts that rank this city as having the best sunsets in the world. It definitely did not disappoint- though we have to say, it would be very hard to rank our top sunsets!

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After our evening in Zadar, we headed to our next destination: Split, Croatia. This amazing city is built inside the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace. It is hard to beat wandering around ancient Roman ruins.

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After enjoying a short trip in Split, we continued on down the Dalmatian Coast to the big event: Dubrovnik. We enjoyed the beautiful city but could have done without the high prices and huge cruise ship crowds. One of our favorite events was walking the walls of the city.

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One of Eric’s favorite things about having Peggy and Wayne along was that they brought along a Rick Steves guidebook. Eric’s new best friend and travel guru!

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After spending a day in Dubrovnik, we picked up rental car number 2. Everyone who knows Della should be exceedingly proud. She drove this one the entire time.. all by herself! After this trip, no one can hate on her driving stamina ever again!

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We arrived in the amazing, interesting city of Sarajevo. It was hard to explain our feelings about being here. We were relived to be away from the crazy tourist crowds, excited to see something completely different from what we had seen before, but in pain when viewing and hearing about the all too recent wars.

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Finally, we arrived in Mostar. A lovely city with a lovely bridge. It was fitting for our last evening together to dine here with an incredibly atmospheric (as Rick Steves would say) view.

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We are so fortunate to have both Peggy and Wayne, and earlier Donna and Steve, join us on our travels. We could hardly ask for anything better. Thank you parents!

 

Dalmation Coast, Croatia

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 view from our highrise during a rainstorm

The view from our highrise during a rainstorm

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.