|First Posted: July 7, 2007|
Apr 7, 2012
Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro
The Jewels of the Adriatic Gallery
Horse information on Croatia and Sovenia: Lipizzaner
Day 1: Depart USA. Our fascinating journey to Croatia and Slovenia, the "Jewels of the Adriatic," began as we departed on an overnight flight to Europe.
Day 2: We arrived in Zagreb (Croatia). Zagreb is wonderfully historic, elegant, and the Capital of Croatia. We were met at the airport and escorted to our 5 star downtown hotel. Along the way, we witnessed the signs of a city and country prospering anew after falling on hard times. Western visitors are once again warmly welcomed here!Day 3: This morning we took a guided tour to explore some of the highlights of gracious Zagreb. We visited the Upper Old Town and saw St. Stephen's Cathedral and St. Marks Church. We also visited colorful Jelacic Square and wandered the surrounding narrow alleys. We then proceeded to the historic Mirogoj Park Cemetery, known for its opulent sculptures and arcades. The remainder of the day we explored this delightful city on your own and visited the Mimara Museum with its unique arts and artifact collection. We were particularly tired, this time, from jet lag. We're getting older, I guess.
Day 4: Zagreb/Ljubljana/Bled (Slovenia). After breakfast, we journeyed through the lush countryside and crossed the nearby border to the Republic of Slovenia. Husband and I arrived in the thriving Capital of Ljubljana where we explored the unique architecture and admired the work of Joze Plecnik, a 20th-century architect and Ljubljana native, who made significant contributions in restoring the city that suffered from a devastating earthquake in 1895. We also saw some buildings along the riverside promenade and visited the bustling and colorful open air market. It is just great fun and relaxing. This afternoon we proceeded to the enchanting resort town of Lake Bled, situated on the lakeshore and surrounded by the majestic Julian Alps. We enjoyed dinner at our hotel. Our room had a panoramic view of the lake and castle which was brightly illuminated at night. It was spectacularly beautiful like something out of a fairy tale. A word of caution here. Make sure that you have Euros when you come to Lake Bled and Slovenia. Our ATM cards did not work in any of the machines. It just so happened it was a week end so no banks were open either, nor were there any money lenders available. The hotels do not make money transactions on week ends it turned out. It was here that we had booked a day of riding from the Hippodrome and were unable to do it because we had no local currency and US dollars were not accepted, nor were credit cards. Many of the restaurants and shops do not want credit cards even though they say they accept them. BEWARE!
Day 5: We started our day with a guided stroll around emerald-green Lake Bled. Bill and I also visited the Bled Castle perched high on a cliff above the lake. It was being worked on and restored. There was lots of construction materials and debris all around so you really had to be mindful. We took the afternoon at leisure for independent exploration of this charming village. You are also able to take a relaxing cruise around the lake. We did not. We walked the perimeter of the lake instead, and had a really delicious pizza at a restaurant that overlooked the water. It was soothing and wonderful. Never did a pizza taste so good.
Day 6: Lake Bled/Opatija (Croatia). Slovenia's pastoral countryside unfolded as we left Lake Bled for the mysterious Postojna Caves, the second largest in Europe. Here, we rode a train to view the impressive stalagmites and stalactites. Later, we continued on to the fashionable Riviera town of Opatija, arriving at our seaside hotel in time for dinner. Grand Hotel
Day 7: Opatija/Optional Istria Peninsula Excursion. Today Hubby and I took our time and explored Opatija's Austro-Hungarian grandeur, strolling along the waterfront promenade and relaxing in one of the many cafes and restaurants. We joined a delightful excursion that took us to the picturesque towns dotted along the scenic coastline and the exciting surrounding landscape.
Day 8: Opatija/Plitvice Lakes. Today we enjoyed a thrilling ride today to Plitvice Lakes National Park, a string of 16 turquoise colored lakes linked by 92 waterfalls and cascades and surrounded by densely wooded mountains and lush vegetation. In the afternoon we took a short scenic boat ride and a leisurely walk along the lake shore. The waterfalls and the magnificent natural beauty are awesome. Our hotel was located inside the National Park! Jezero Hotel
Day 9: Plitvice Lakes/Zadar/Split. Leaving beautiful Plitvice National Park we later drive to Zadar, the oldest Slavic town on the Adriatic Sea, and once famed for a cultural center. Here we visited to the Roman Forum's ruins. and then continued on along the spectacular coast to Trogir. Trogir is the center of artistic activities where scholars from around the world gather to study and paint. We arrived in Split in time for dinner. Marjan Hotel.
Day 10: Split/Dubrovnik. Located in the center of the Dalmatian coast and nestled between the mountains and sea, Split is a picturesque, ancient town, built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. We visited the impressive Emperor's Palace built in the 3rd century. A breathtaking drive along the spectacular Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic, dotted with palm trees, olive groves, and idyllic fishing villages was a great delight. We arrived in Dubrovnik, one of Europe's best preserved walled cities founded in the 7th century and now declared a World Heritage Site. Argosy Hotel
Day 11: Dubrovnik is certain to enchant any visitor! Thick age-old walls surround the ancient port town. The winding cobblestone streets are filled with old red-tiled roof houses and distinctive medieval age buildings. We enjoyed a guided walking tour through "Old Dubrovnik" saw the harbor, the Franciscan Monastery, and the stately Baroque Cathedral. After resting in the afternoon at the hotel we returned to the walled city to explore the treasures of the historic old town at own pace. We happened upon two weddings that were taking place. One was in the pre party stage and the other was at the Church. It was quite a fun and interesting sight to see. I want to make a note, here, that many cruise ships come into this port. Although they have limited the number to four at a time--you figure 3,000 people per cruise ship and Dubrovnik can get over run with bodies! You have to choose your sight seeing time carefully.
Day 12: Montenegro Excursion. Today, we drove across the border to the Republic of Montenegro and the beautiful Bay of Kotor, the longest and deepest fjord in Southern Europe. We saw the towns of Risan and Kotor located along the curving roadway. We were told, by our guide, that the Montenegro People were the most ferocious fighters in the wars. We enjoyed a breathtaking view of the bay and learned about the rich history of the area. Our next stop was Cetinje, once the seat for the Montenegran rulers. Back to Dubrovnik via a short ferry ride across the scenic bay. It is interesting to note that the Montenegro passport police refused to stamp our passports with the Montenegro stamp. I thought that was quite curious.
Day 13: Today we took a full day at leisure to explore the splendors of Dubrovnik. We shopped for local arts and crafts in the colorful local market. There really was not a lot of stuff to buy on the Dalmatian Coast. They are still recovering from the wars of the 1990s. The dollar does go a long way here. It may be one of the few places left in the world where it does. Food and lodging are not extraordinarily expensive. This is a good value for your globe trotting woes!
Day 14: Dubrovnik/ USA. This morning we transferred to the airport for our return flight. We arrived in New York and took the AMTRAK home. Good night!