This month I'm writing under my travel writer's hat.
Recently I chose to travel with a tour operator to visit Croatia. The last time I travelled with a group of people was in 1985. Since then I have mostly travelled by myself so I was somewhat uncertain how I would cope with a group of fellow travellers. I was interested in seeing Zagreb and Dubrovnik, as well as the Plitvicka Lakes district and the Makarska and Dalmatian coastlines. The tour seemed a more economical way of handling the distances between all the places.
The journey began in Zagreb, the capital, which is a typical Eastern European city with plenty of culture. I would have liked to stay long enough to attend a concert or two but had to confine myself to tourist vignettes before travelling to the Lakes.
On one of our stops we visited a war museum showing off pieces of planes, tanks, and artillery from the most recent wars. Interesting how such items are still remembered particularly by Croats in the North. Many houses are still marked by holes from bullets. Trying to be positive, I took some photos of mangled planes to use in my abstract painting in the future.
Once we reached the coastline, Zadar proved to be a delightful medieval town, with promenades, squares, shops, cafes, -all very charming. Home of Marascino brandy (powerful brew that it is), it was also the place of sea organs. Fortunately for the group the waves were boisterous, so the organ sounds pealed out from under the promenade. My visit was further enhanced by a moving Chagall exhibition.
The Makarska coastline peppered with islands, resorts and hotels was predictably busy. Dubrovnik, the main tourist hub, was almost as busy as the Prague historic centre.. It wasn't till we settled in the resort of Cavtan that the pace slowed down to include culture, locally available, such as a classical guitar concert in the old local monastery (we passed two other concerts on the way!).
The Trsteno arboretum, extending over an area of 70 acres, was the sole arboretum on the Adriatic coast which combined cultural and natural heritage. It included the summer residence of Ivan Marinov built in 1494, testimony to the influence of Italian Renaissance. architecture. The aqueduct and original fountain created a serenity "far from the madding crowd" of Dubrovnik and it was the place where many a philosopher or poet set up residence to write.
To buy my book about South America, click below
"This book served as a monumental inspiration to me to get out and enjoy the country not as a tourist but as a real traveller, getting to know the customs, way of life, and real people." (Amazon book review by Susan Rivas)