Friday, August 19, 2005
Croatia: Italy's Cancun!!
Well, it's been awhile since our last post, but we've been keeping busy. We only spent 2 short days in Venice riding the ferries and walking through the old towns but it was absolutely gorgeous. We found a quaint little restaurant off the island of St. Marcus and had a great dinner (a huge improvement from carniverous Ecuador).
We left for Croatia and first arrived in Opatija...we initially had heard that Croatia would be a far more affordable place than Italy...NOT TRUE!! Little did we know that August is PEAK tourist season...the Italians flood in with their swimsuits alone and soak up along the beautiful coastline. (If you look on the map, Croatia is literally all coast, and consists of 1,150 islands!!). Anyway, also add on a bunch of Germans to the mixture and the prices go way up...it reminded us of Americans invading Cancun during spring break. It's quite strange, there are only superexpensive hotels (no hostels or any type of budget hotels) and "private acccomodations". You basically stay in a room of a family and they charge you way more than you would think for 1 room...but that's ok..we have gotten over the shock of the expenses and have seen some remarkable sights and stayed in some nice places.
In Opatija, we did some hiking, exploring of the coast and made a trip to Plitvice National Lake Park. This is a UNESCO site and has over 150 waterfalls and was breathtaking. We then set off to the city of Zadar, which dates back over 3,000 years and has considerable history. It has been under Italian, Austrian, German and Hungarian rule..and despite being completely bombed in WWII, it has been fabulously rebuilt. A really cool site was a place called the "Sea Organ" where organs are placed near the sea, and with wind, it makes relaxing sounds, referred to as the "Symphony of the Sea". Also in Zadar, we stayed at in the guesthouse of a very nice local family..they invited us to eat and drink with them...and man, everyone in Croatia has their own grapes and makes their own wine. They kept bringing out different types of amazing wines and Cognac. Another find, were the local cheeses..Pag cheese in particular is quite strong and very good..made from sheep's milk and olives..as soon as we heard no refrigeration necessary, we bought a nice chunk. Currently we are in the coastal town of Split (another UNESCO site as it contains one of the most impressive Roman ruins in existence) , and will be heading off to Hvar Island by a local ferry. (P.S-the 1st picture is the sunset along the coast of Zadar, at the sea organ, the 2nd is the scenic overlook on top a cathedral in the city of Split, 3rd is in the Plitvice National Park and finally of course in Venice).
We'll try to add more pictures in our trip photos sections soon!!