About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Travel Day

We woke up in Korcula and went to bed in Plitvice National Park, and it was a long day of travel.

After checking out of the apartment, we headed across the street to the old city for breakfast. We found a restaurant along the waterfront that served crepes, which is what Brandon was hoping for. Ah...another nice waterfront meal.

We didn't have to be at the ferry landing until 1pm, so we decided to climb the Great Land Gate tower for the view. Today was a very clear and sunny day, so the views were amazing.

The Venetian influence was felt in Korcula

Korcula is famous for the Moreska Dance. The plot helps Korculans remember their hard fought past. An evil king takes the good kings bride, forces of good and evil dancing, swords, and a happy ending.

Korcula's harbor

Onward to Vela Luka. We would be catching the north bound ferry to Split, leaving from Vela Luka on the opposite side of the island - about an hour drive. The drive was nice. The terrain of the island reminds a lot of southern California, maybe a little bit of western Colorado. It is dry with scrub trees and brush.

We arrived in Vela Luka about a little over an hour before the ferry arrived. The ticket office wasn't even open yet, so we walked across the street to a bar and enjoyed some drinks and snacks.

The ferry finally arrived. We pulled the car into the lower deck and headed upstairs to find a place to relax. It would be a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride to Split. We found a table near a window and planted ourselves. Watching the coast, reading, talking and eating lunch filled our time. Brandon and I walked around the upper deck a couple of times, but mostly we just hung out inside where it was air conditioned.

Waiting for the ferry to unload

The ferry arrived in Split around 4:30pm. We had another 3 hours to drive to Plitvice. The drive was nice, mostly on the newish 6 lane highway. We commented several times how the scenery reminded us, once again, of western Colorado, Idaho and at times like Utah. At one point the highway climbed a mountain then headed through one of the longer tunnels (not the longest though) we have been through in Europe. I believe it was 6 or 8 kilometers long.

We finally arrived at Plitvice Lakes National Park around 8pm. Unfortunately, I messed up our reservations at Hotel Jezero. I accidently booked our room for last night, not tonight! Dang!! There were no more triple rooms available. After much converstation, they told us that we would have a suite - for a whole lot more money. We thought it was too much, so we asked if we could have a double and put Brandon on the floor. Then they said that they couldn't allow a kid on the floor, but after speaking to the manager, they found a triple for us. I don't know how it magically appeared, but it did. We had a room and we were tired from traveling.

We had dinner in the restaurant downstairs then headed back to the room to read, watch TV and go to bed. Travel days can be tiring.

Tomorrow we explore the park.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Korcula Trip Video


This morning we had breakfast at the cafe below our apartment, checked out then had a long hot uphill walk to our car. Today was a hot day.

Croatian post office - this one is for Andy


We had about a 3 hour drive to Korcula today. The first part was on the two lane coastal highway heading north, then we turned west and headed out onto a large pennisula for another hour or more. Our initial destination was Orebie on the tip of the pennisula. From there we caught a 20 minute ferry ride across the channel to the island of Korcula.

Photo by Brandon

Korcula - photo by Brandon

Brandon likes to take self portraits - photo by Brandon

Forecast for the upper deck of the ferry: Windy with wild hair

Across the channel is the town of Korcula, on the island of Korcula. We found our hotel (apartment) and checked in. We are staying at the Royal Apartments on the waterfront, but we cannot see it from our room.

Our room

We found a cafe for lunch, then headed into the old town.

The town of Korcula is a small tourist destination with a great old town, a few museums and mountians in the distance. Like many other small Croatian towns, it was founded by the ancient Greeks. It eventually became a part of the Roman empire before ending up as the southern outpost for the Venetian Republic. Marco Polo was born here in 1254.

We wandered through the town, which is on a small penninsula, ending up on the point. Brandon wanted to go swimming, so I agreed to take him over to the beach while Katrina stayed in town to take pictures.

Great Land Gate, the main entrance into town.

The Adriatic is still a little cold in late June.

Brandon played in the water for about an hour, then we headed back to town and waited for Katrina along the waterfront.

Brandon always has a book to read

Once Katrina found us, she wanted to show Brandon Marco Polo's house (or what is believed to be his house). The house has a tower, so we paid to climb up it and see the views to town.

Photo by Brandon

Photo by Brandon

I had seen a poster for How To Train a Dragon in town. We knew that Croatia does not dub over the soundtrack like they do in Italy, so we searched for and found the theater, only to find out that they do dub over childrens movies. Which makes sense, since it would be harder for a child to read or keep up with the subtitles. Oh well, no movie for us.

Brandon played in a park for awhile until we decided we were hungry for dinner. We found a nice restaurant on the waterfront in the old city. Nice views and great food finished off our day in Korcula.

Hummus...never liked it at all until tonight. This was tasty, and served on a seashell

One tired boy

Our hotel

Monday, June 28, 2010


We slept in this morning. We don't get to do that often, so it sure is nice when we can.

We found a small cafe for breakfast, but it didn't turn out to be very good. Brandon was pretty unhappy.

Our plan for this morning was to wander the streets and see what we might find. Brandon wanted to use my camera again, so all pictures today are by Brandon unless otherwise noted.

We started out by exploring the high side of town, in the area where we ate dinner last night. It was already a warm day and getting hotter by the hour.

Side street leading up to the top of town...many steps.

Kittens. You will notice that cats will be a recurring theme for pictures today.

Momma cat

The marks on the wall are schrapnel damage from the recent war.


The town 'guards' marching to their posts at the gates of the old city.

When we made our way to the lower part of the city, I decided to head off on my own. Katrina wanted to explore and take pictures. I was in the mood to do some window shopping. Brandon chose to go with Katrina, and he took my camera with him.

We agreed to meet again at 1:30. I wandered the streets looking in shops and ended up buying some cherry liquer before making my way back to the room for a break from the heat.

Katrina and Brandon wandered the backstreets taking pictures. Here of some of Brandon's shots:

And another cat...

Many of the side streets are steep with steps

Why do we take pictures of other peoples laundry??

The Adriatic Sea

Try pronouncing this sign

Pigeons! I love to chase them.

My Mom, Katrina Sloma. Remember her name, she will be a famous photographer someday.

And another cat...

We met up at 1:30pm and headed to lunch. We found a little cafe that looked nice on a backstreet and in the shade. Our waiter took a liking to Brandon and tried to teach him how to whistle using his hands. He explained how the male residents used different whistle signals to communicate during the war. He also explained to Brandon (which we had already read in our guidebook) that the Principality of Dubrovnik was the the first government to officially recognize the new nation of The United States of America.

Pasta bolognese for the third time in two days.

We had a great lunch and came to the conclusion that Croatia has some really great food and restaurants.

After lunch we headed back to the room to take a break from the heat. Katrina did some reading. I watched TV and Brandon played with his Puffle.

In our room

Early in the evening we headed to the harbor for a boat ride. We chose a glass bottom boat tour around the old city and out to the island of Lokrum. Aside from a few views of the city, the ride was kind of a waste of money. Oh well.

Old Dubrovnik harbor

Self portrait

And another cat...

We took a glass bottom boat tour. The boat ride gave us a few nice views, but overall it was a waste of time. To top it off, my camera battery died, so no pictures.

After the boat ride we headed to dinner near the Stradun, then back to our apartment for the night.

Brandon in our Dubrovnik loft apartment

Dubrovnik is a great city. I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Croatia. We had a good time and a lot of great food.

Tomorrow we head to the island of Korcula.