There’s nothing worse (in blogging terms) than subjecting loyal readers to a day-by-day account of a holiday... That said, the first place we visited....
We have just returned from a week-long cruise, a break for which we have been working and saving for a long time... The ship, the Thomson Majesty, was superb; we were treated really well, the food, the drink, the facilities, the entertainment - everything was fantastic. It’s a brilliant way to relax and visit several countries all in one go... and if money was no object...
Anyway, we went to Koper and Piran in Slovenia, which were lovely... Venice, which was full of water and bloody tourists... and also Kotor in Montenegro, which was surrounded by stunning scenery, but not the most interesting of towns. However, the highlight was definitely the two days we spent in Croatia.
It helped that the weather was glorious, but perhaps even more importantly, the tour guides we had were wonderful. Apparently, the kids start learning English whilst at primary school and it shows... they were even able to chat and joke in a foreign language; I know some native English speakers that can’t do that..!
First up was Split, a port built around the ancient palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian... a forward-thinking reformer, who could be incredibly ruthless but would become the only Emperor to voluntarily abdicate.
His mausoleum was probably the most jaw-dropping piece of architecture on the whole trip (Venice included)... and it was interesting to see a black granite sphinx, an ancient artefact which may have watched over centuries of history, but wasn’t able to withstand a group of students clambering over it a few years ago... hence the fracture running right through the body...
Away from the palace, there is also a statue to St Gregorius of Nin, whose polished big toe is supposed to grant a wish to anyone who touches it... I’ll let you know.
The other city we visited was Dubrovnik, a beautiful walled coastal city steeped in history, littered with palaces and churches, but bearing the scars of the 1991 siege during the Croatian War of Independence. Modern Dubrovnik also has numerous cafés and restaurants; the locals were really friendly although I had a bit of trouble getting used to the currency, the Kune, which has such high denominations, you assume you’re paying a fortune for something that actually is reasonably priced (I guess that’s just the Yorkshire-man in me).
But surely the most impressive aspect of our time in Dubrovnik was the fact that I managed to thank the guide in her native tongue – and she was suitably impressed. So, with a couple of photos, I will bid you doviđénja...
All my own work... almost.