Dubrovnik, Croatia

On Location: Pageantry, Poppies, and the Pearls of the Adriatic

Zegrahm Contributor|April 21, 2009|Blog Post

Springtime is the best time to be in the Adriatic. The hillsides are ablaze with poppies, irises, and gorse and the medieval walled cities are filled with festivals of the season. We watched Easter Pageants in Malta and Sicily and toured the palaces, archaeological sites, and bustling mountain-top bazaars of Corfu and Albania.

In Montenegro we spent the early morning on deck watching as our ship navigated the winding fjord of Boka Kotorska. Once we were alongside beneath the walls of the city of Kotor (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), half our group took off to hike the 2,000 steps up St. Ivan’s Fortress high above us. The rest of us boarded small boats to visit the beautiful 17th-century votive chapel and island of “Our Lady of the Rock.”

We then enjoyed two days and nights in Dubrovnik, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though badly bombed during the war with Serbia in the mid-nineties, the city has been lovingly rebuilt. Strolling along the white marble of the main promenade with music pouring from every café, this “stradun” literally glitters in the evening light and we could understand why this city has been called the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”

Our forays in Croatia took us to the ancient Roman and Illyrian ruins at Salona and through the winding passages of the Palace of Diocletian at Split. In Sibenik we hiked along the waterfalls of Skradinski Buk at Krka National Park, then up to St. Mihovil Fort before descending to explore old town Sibenik below. The fantastic St. Jacov Cathedral dominates the town square and is ringed with an intricate frieze of 71 delicately carved stone faces.

On board our expert lecture team enriched our understanding of this region with talks on the wars, art, music, and natural history of the Adriatic.

Our final day, and most magnificent, finds us sailing into the Grand Canal and the City of Venice. We’ll spend the day and night here and are off this morning to St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace, and the Accademia. This afternoon we’ll go to the Guggenheim Museum and enjoy a private water taxi ride and exclusive tour of the Murano Glass workshop and showroom.

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