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Adriatic Madness: 4 weeks Venice to Sarajevo - Solo!

Adriatic Madness: 4 weeks Venice to Sarajevo - Solo!

Old Sep 9th, 2022, 06:56 AM
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I looked up the port schedule of Split, and I see that there will be two large cruise ships on the day we arrive. Too bad. Another day there will be two ships, but not as large, and one day during our stay there will be none at all.

I don't know what our friend has in mind as far as sightseeing, but she knows my interest in the Roman Empire. We thought of bringing our car on the ferry, but she strongly discouraged that. We're leaving it all in her hands.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci
I looked up the port schedule of Split, and I see that there will be two large cruise ships on the day we arrive. Too bad. Another day there will be two ships, but not as large, and one day during our stay there will be none at all.

I don't know what our friend has in mind as far as sightseeing, but she knows my interest in the Roman Empire. We thought of bringing our car on the ferry, but she strongly discouraged that. We're leaving it all in her hands.
if you are interested in Roman stuff, try to go to the ruins of Spalato. I am sure your friend will take you there.

Split is wonderful when the day trippers leave and there are plenty of places to "chill" outside the walls of the palace. Marjan hill, Bačvice beach, there are people around, but more locals than tourists. I cannot think of any more chilled out spot than the Riva in Split, to be honest. Everyone out drinking and socializing. Trogir is a crashing bore compared to it.

But that is a hijack of TravelNerd's trip report which I am looking forward to reading the rest of!


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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 12:12 PM
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We spent 4 nights in Split and loved it! I agree with rialtogrl about the Riva. So much fun in the evening and lovely during the daytime. We visited Trogir one of the days we were in Split, and while we liked it and are glad we saw it, I would not want to stay there. I don't know if we were just lucky or not, but when we visited Split in September 2019, there were no cruise ships there.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rialtogrl
if you are interested in Roman stuff, try to go to the ruins of Spalato. I am sure your friend will take you there.
one correction - I meant the ruins of Salona, in modern day Solin.
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 11:59 AM
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Sorry for the delay. Got a bit behind in the final week of my trip, plus the travel home and accompanying jet-lag.

Day 3: Dorsoduro & San Giorgio

I pre-booked a ticket for 8:45am at Galleria dell’Accademia. Because of the early morning visit and the timing around when my hotel’s breakfast was offered, I skipped breakfast to ensure I made the entry time. The Accademia was a miss from my previous visit, which was shorted a day by an issue with the plane. Honestly, at least that on this particular day (a Wednesday) and that early in the morning, I do not think a pre-booked ticket was necessary. I do not know what their crowd limits were, but I think I only about 20-25 people were visiting – max!

After the museum, I decided to make my way down to Santa Maria della Salute. The history of this church is fascinating as I had read it was consecrated as a thankgiving for the release from the plague. Given that we’re still dealing with Covid, I felt it was necessary for an homage of sorts to the church. I selfishly said a silent prayer (I am not particularly religious) for some healing of lower back pain I had been experiencing from an ice skating-related injury and all of the walking (and steps!) did not seem to help it.

Afterwards, I took the vaporetto to San Giorgio Maggior and paid the 8€ (if I remember correctly) lift to the top of the campanile. I had read that this is arguably the “best” views of Venice. While I agree it is a fantastic view, I feel that the San Marco Campanile (read on) is better. However, it does offer an awesome view of San Marco and without the crowds. I do recall a rather macabre installation (skeletons in the cupola area of the church, though. I do not remember if I found any explanation of it, though.

After leaving San Giorgio Maggior, I accidentally got on the wrong vaporetto which next stopped at San Marco. Dangit. I either needed to hoof it back to my hotel or buy another ticket. I decided to hoof it. But, that also meant that because I had skipped breakfast, I was getting a little hangry and my patience (already not my best attribute) was very thin. I found a trattoria near nothing I recognized called Trattoria Al Campanile and ordered a half liter of white wine and a calzone that ended up being the size of my arm. It was excellent with mushrooms, mozzarella, tomato sauce and ham. Hangry no more, I did a little bit of gift shopping on the walk returning to my hotel.

Next up: Thunderstruck in Verona!







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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 12:42 PM
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Love your photos of Venice!!! I haven't been there yet but hope to visit some day in the near future!
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Old Sep 17th, 2022, 05:33 PM
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Day 4:Thunderstruck in Verona

“These violent delights have violent ends.” – Romeo & Juliet

I had a plan. Of course I had a plan: I was going to conquer this city in a day and fall in love at first sight just like Romeo to Juliet (or was it the other way around?). The weather, Murphy’s Law, and my terrible sense of direction had other plans.

The weather was reporting possible thunderstorms in Verona and they were supposed to hit around noon. I was hoping they would be minor and quick. So, regardless, I was going to head directly to Verona arena, purchase the Verona card and tackle as many points as I could.

My 8:18 train from Venice was due to arrive at 9:30am. It was unfortunately delayed at some point by about 15 – 20 minutes, not arriving in Verona until about 9:50am. I set off from the station and immediately headed in the wrong direction, Twice. In my defense: there is some construction going on around the station, and the signage is…not the best. Once I finally got on the right way, it was already past 10:30. No worries. I got into the city around 10:50 (and an hour of lost time!), I first walked by the arena. Yikes. A line already wrapping its way around the arena. I had a reservation at 12:00 for Torre Lamberti and decided to head there directly.

I of course was early, for that, and only that, and walked around Piazze Erbe a bit. Boy was this city crowded! I decided to go ahead and get in line for the Torre, if nothing else to inform them of my reservation and maybe get in early. They have some strict Covid (or is this their standard practice?) protocols and only allow about 20 people inside at once. Presumably, those same people will be on the tower at the same time as well. But hey, the Torre has a lift and is not covered by the Verona Card, but I think there might be a discount with it. In all, I think I paid 6€.


The views of the city were fantastic and absolutely worth it. It was sprinkling on and off, so I was hoping for this to be the worst of it.






After the tower, it began to rain a bit more and I stopped in Saint Anastasia which was a welcome respite from the rain. I completely fell in love with the ceiling. At least one love at first sight was accomplished today.



After the church, I decided to head to the funicular to Castel San Pietro and to take a walk around the Roman theater and a visit to the archeological museum. As I crossed Ponte Pietra, the sky began to do just a little more than sprinkle, it was a steady rain. I got about halfway to the funicular and decided I was miserable and would head to drier points of the city. As I crossed the Ponte again, full ferocious downpour, lightning and thunder. I huddled in a breezeway with other tourists, using my umbrella with the wind. It didn’t matter. I was completely soaked. I was at least pleased I had worn trousers that day rather than a dress or even my jeans. I even had an extra slosh of water in my shoes. Sounding like I was a quacking duck was not on my list of things to do on that day.

If Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy, Travel Nerd & Verona is officially a comedy.

The rain began to let up to the point where it might be manageable, after about 15 minutes or so. From there, I stopped at Verona Cathedral and stayed there longer than Saint Anastasia – full on thunder and lightning. I began to hum AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” in my head. God may not have appreciated it, but I got a good giggle. Took about 5 hours to get the song out of my head, guess the ear worm was my punishment. While I dried off and waited for the storm to subside, I took in the beautiful red marble and absolutely enjoyed the roman mosaics.




After the cathedral the clouds began to lift and I decided to at least try the arena. I will admit it, I am a sucker for a good Roman ruin. As the Doctor (Doctor Who) would say, “Good. I love a Roman.” That line must have reverted in my brain a few times on this trip.

The line to the arena was not terrible. I believe it took me about 20-25 minutes to get my ticket (this is where if I had the Verona Card, it would have been handy). Ah well. Overall, though, I was a bit underwhelmed with Verona’s arena. If I read correctly, I believe it was built before the Coliseum in Rome. So, I forgive it. It is neat that it still serves as a working theater and was in the midst of the summer opera season. Should I have stayed overnight in Verona, I would have definitely taken a performance.




I decided after the Arena I would do the epitome of touristy in a city of Juliet, I would walk on over to Juliet’s House to take in the…drama and do some light fondling of a statue. As I walked through the (very) crowded Veronese streets, the crowds came to a standstill.. And then I realized, the crowds were actually the line just to get into the courtyard. And I promptly walked right on out, well, as best as I could.

By then, Verona was sunny and I headed to Castelvecchio. I did not enter the museum but instead got myself a gelato (it was my lunch!) and walked on the bridge and around the castle, admiring the red brick.




I had had enough of Verona. It was about 4:30 and I was anxious to head back to Venice. My impression of Verona is that it will be a place I must return to – and not as a day trip – in order to fully take in all that it has to offer.

I got back into Venice around 6:30pm, and went off to have dinner.

Note: my review of the restaurant might be considered colorful. This is based on my experience, especially as a female traveling solo. I settled on a trattoria called Da Bepi. The setting was beautiful: sunset on a sub canale in what looked like a nice spot, romantic even.

The main waiter is the most obnoxious person I have ever met. He would hover over tables, I saw him chase a couple away from a table after they already ordered drinks and said "for families only" while three people (three adults) sat in their spot. He told me that they did not have half liters of wine, just bottles and by the glass. Yet as I was eating, I saw this guy walk by with: a half liter carafe of wine. And the absolute most disgusting thing this guy did was ask me, "Do you think I'm sexy?" For the record, this guy knows he is an obnoxious troll, hence why he even asked that.

I honestly have no clue what I ordered. My photo looked like lasagne, but I cannot be sure. The food was…okay. But I admit the experience absolutely clouded any impressions I had over the meal.

And just when we thought the rain had decided it needed a break, just before I finished paying for my meal, the sky opened again in a full downpour. I had left my umbrella in the hotel room upon my return from Venice after a quick change. I will tell you, I managed to wear every article of clothing I packed on this trip; which I think might be a first!

Next up: San Marco Circus!
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Old Sep 18th, 2022, 02:14 AM
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We loved Verona, I think we had 4 nights, a lot of comments we had read said allocate a half day, but I’m glad we stayed there. We also found some streets really crowded, so it was nice to wander to the gardens, or through the castle, along the river, and escape the hordes. We went to a David Gilmour concert in the Arena, too, brilliant way to see the arena.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 09:36 PM
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It sure is remarkable about how quickly regular life picks up after we return from vacation, doesn't it. Between a wedding (not mine), work, and ice skating competition (yes, mine) I just have not had enough time to work on my report! I need to get cracking - the NBA season starts this week and my schedule is going to be packed!

Day 5: San Marco Circus

Buckle up: it was a very busy day! In all honesty, I apologize in advance for the length - I get a bit wordy at times!

If I had not pre-booked most of today’s attractions, I might have switched my time in Verona. However, not having the pre-booked tickets might have made my trip to San Marco’s landmarks and museums much less tolerable, too. Ah well, it was a toss up in the end, I suppose.

I had previously visited San Marco Basilica and the Doge’s palace in 2015. I decided there was little harm in visiting them again this time around. I pre-booked tickets for the basilica and museum, the campanile and the Secret Itineraries Tour of the palace and was planning on visiting the Correr museum separately. The Doge’s palace and Correr have a combined ticket, but that does not include any of the special tickets (despite that they cost more!), at least from what I could find.

I started with the Basilica and arrived at the Square around 9:15 for my 9:30 slot (at opening). I wanted to get the Basilica done before it was too crowded. The pre-booking of both the Basilica and the Museum cost €15.

On my trip in 2015, they did not allow for any photography and I recall many visitors being scolded for taking photos by the Basilica’s employees. On this day, however, there was no such scolding. Not sure if this is a change since most cell phones take adequate photos without flash or they just did not have the staff to enforce. Or I missed the signs completely and severely broke the rules. If that is the case, I am absolutely apologetic as I try to be very mindful.

Basilica San Marco


Previously, I missed the museum but since I was traveling solo (ahem, without my inpatient father), I made sure to visit and absolutely enjoyed the experience. The Triumphal Quadriga (or Horses of the Hippodrome of Constantinople) were interesting to see. Bronzed horses that are believed to be part of another arch or building, likely from Constantinople and were looted during the Crusades (or believed to be). I suppose though, that I was a bit conflicted given the looting history behind them and whether their place should truly be in Venice. Outside on the terrace roof, the replicas of the horses stand, however the facade is currently under restoration, which you can almost see one behind the scaffolding. Also in the museum were fantastic mosaics albeit too incomplete and/or damaged to be in the basilica and a spectacular view of the interior of the basilica.




Once I was done with the Basilica, it was only about 10:10am and I had about an hour and a half to kill before my 12pm campanile reservation. I decided to head directly to Museo Correr. I figured if I did not see everything I wanted to see that I might try to re-enter later in the afternoon. To be fair, I am not sure this is allowed.

Museo Correr is housed in what was intended to be used by the then-sovereign, Napoleon, it was not completed until Venice was under Hapsburg (Austria) rule. The interior design absolutely screamed Hapsburg imperialism to me before I knew the building’s history. Looking through my photos post-trip, the style jumps out even more.

I had not previously visited this museum before and I was glad to have the opportunity on this trip to visit. There was a short line into the museum and it was not crowded during my visit (and really did not expect it to be). As mentioned previously, there is a combined ticket with the Doge’s palace, which for those who do not pre-book the Doge’s Palace, this would be a good option for a “skip-the-line” for the Palace if visit the Correr first. This option, though, does not include special tours.

I enjoyed the extensive collection, especially the portrait gallery (second floor, I believe) and the Canova collection - his Cupid and Psyche (I believe is in Louvre), is amongst my favorite sculptures. Though probably my favorite was the map room containing huge globes, solidifying Venice’s history of a seafaring empire. The archeological exhibition has many items from the Antiquity, obviously not “native” to Venice. My only complaint about this portion of the visit was that sprinkled throughout were large curated social media “posters” (placards if you will) of noted events over the last five or so years; covering Covid, the events of January 6th, Black Lives Matter protests, and some notable celebrity postings. I personally found this to be distracting from what I was actually in the room to see. I would have appreciated it more if the social media portion was in their own separate space. Perhaps it was to show the dichotomy of the Roman era to now? Not sure. I do suspect that this is a temporary exhibition, though I did not verify specifically. The visit ended with a small tour of some of the imperial rooms, and yup, Hapsburg!




For point of reference, I finished my visit of the Correr in about an hour and 45 minutes. I felt it was an adequate amount of time and did not feel like I was rushing through the museum.

Just before noon, I left the quiet, uncrowded Correr to head back to the Campanile and what I had dubbed the San Marco circus. I had my pre-booked ticket (€12) and headed straight for the advanced tickets line. There was a short wait at the elevator but not 7 minutes since leaving the Correr, I was at the top of the Campanile. It was crowded up there, but not suffocating, which surprised me. I enjoyed the views at the top and actually would argue it does have a “better” view over the city than that of San Giorgio Maggior. But I can definitely see that weighing the pros and cons between the two that San Giorgio is a more pleasant experience overall.



Once I was done with the Campanile, I had about 40 minutes or so before my Doge’s tour. Not enough time to eat (plus did not want to pay the “tourist” prices), I found a spot next to the Campanile to sit and people watch. During that time, between 12:25pm to 12:50pm on a Friday, the line of visitors for the Campanile moved quickly and flowed. The Basilica, on the other hand, not so much. I heard a few complain (in English) about how long it was taking and how hot it was.

Just before 1:00pm, I headed over to the Doges’ to join my Secret Itineraries tour, which must be pre-booked and cost €29 and includes the regular visit as well. I had previously visited the Doge’s Palace in 2015 but did not visit on a special tour. I found it absolutely enjoyable with a very dynamic and entertaining guide. We went into the underbelly to the dungeons, the torture chamber, and then were treated with legendary tales of the clever and charismatic Casanova and his exploits in prison. I highly recommend this tour! Should I ever return to Venice, I will be sure to take in the other special tour, which I believe is called the Hidden Treasures tour.

At the completion of the tour, I then went onto the regular tour of the Palace, taking breaks when I could (the lower back was still causing fits), which always gives good people watching opportunities. The last time I visited, walking across the Bridge of Sighs (both times) was an unpleasant experience with the crowds. This time, I was able to take a breath (intended) as I walked across and enjoy the experience. At the point I was doing this, it must have been around 2:45pm or so, for point of reference for other travelers should they visit. Not that my experience will be the same, of course.



When I was done with the Palace at around 3:00pm, I decided I had enough of the circus and headed back to my hotel for a little siesta.

For dinner, I went to a restaurant near my hotel, Trattoria Povoledo, with a terrace right on the grand canale. Being my final night in the city, I decided to splurge a bit and order a two plate dinner. I first ordered the spaghetti all’amatriciana with bacon, tomato and onion and my second dish was Chicken filets with peppers, tomatoes and salad. I ordered a small bottle of Mosole Pinot Grigio as well. Having two plates was a bit much but I took my time and enjoyed the view. Really enjoyed this restaurant and recommend it. Their prices were reasonable, I want to say my entire meal was about €35.


View from Trattoria Povoledo

After dinner, I decided to head back to San Marco for a final view of the sights at night. Despite the activity of the square with street vendors tossing lighted items (birds, drones, no idea!) in the air, the fellow tourists, and the restaurant bands playing music; I found it strangely serene. But maybe the nostalgia of leaving had set in at that point.



Next up: The loudest ferry ride to Piran!

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Old Oct 18th, 2022, 09:23 PM
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Day 6: Arrivederci Venezia

Final day in Venice and I slept in a bit. After the events from San Marco, I welcomed the break.
After breakfast and packing my bags, I left my luggage at the front desk.

The only sightseeing on deck was a stop at Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. While one can visit the interior, I opted not to since the snail-like exterior spiral staircase was my goal to see.


After, I finished my shopping for family and friends at home. Murano glass makes for great gifts, but my bag sure felt it the remainder of the trip.

After I was done buying half of Murano, I stopped at restaurant Al Scalzi near my hotel. I ordered prosciutto and mushroom pizza and a prosecco. While prosecco does not exactly pair with pizza, I felt Venice needed a proper send-off. Not knowing what restaurant options I would have in Piran or on the ferry, I ate every bit of that pizza.


Afraid I would get lost (I have a propensity to do so), I ended up arriving at the ferry terminal 75 minutes before check in (which is an hour before departure). The ferry terminal does not have any services other than a vending machine.

Security was required and baggage limits were the same as a plane.

Venezia Lines runs a ferry service between Istria and Venice and is marketed as a day trip from Istria. Fron reviewing the schedule, it seems as if it is more frequent from Croatian destinations than Piran, Slovenia as Saturday was the only departure point. Cost was €75.

My impressions, at least on that day that it was the loudest darn boat I've ever been on. Not sure if it's because it serves as a day trip (morning - evening) from Istria to Venice or if it was just a hyperactive group. I would have thought the bulk of the passengers would have been tired having only one day in Venice. Nope.

Venezia lines does have a concessions on board. I could have gotten a snack, but opted not to. Instead, watched pre-downloaded movie, Uncharted, during the journey.

The boat was scheduled to arrive in Piran at 7:45, but did not arrive until 8:30pm. Not sure if there was some traffic out of Venice or not as the boat took off on time.

Upon arrival in Piran, I managed to find my guesthouse, Guesthouse PachaMama, in the dark, just off Tartini Square. The guesthouse is run by a young couple who’s goal is to have a sustainably-ran business. They were very pleasant and offered kitchen should guests need it.

Beat from my trip, I turned in early.

Next up: Pretty Piran

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