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Croatia Trip Report-Getting there and day one


Dec 2nd, 2008, 05:50 AM
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Croatiantravelady, I will correct the report on my blog-unfortunately one cannot correct here We were very impressed with the rebuilding and very impressed with the people. I can only imagine how wonderful it must look at Christmas time. All signs of war should probably not be removed; people forget too quickly the ravage of war. How lucky you are to live in such a glorious town and how lucky they are to have such a great spokeswoman! Hopefully I will be wrapping up my report this week. It has been fun reliving the great time we had and putting it down in writing for review years from now.
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Dec 4th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Fish Picnic/Folk Dancing, September 19, 2008
Today the weather is not as nice as it has been but it isn't raining so we decide to go ahead with the fish picnic excursion. After our morning ritual (and does it get any better than breakfast, beautiful music from next door and stunning views everywhere you look?) on the patio we head on down to the city. The little bay at the old town has a few stands that offer different excursions and we have already decided which one we will take. The pamphlet really doesn't give a name, it simply says Elaphite Islands excursion fish picnic, motor boat Karuzo. It was a small boat and we departed around 10:30 am. I'm quite certain that we got a better deal than is listed but haven't written that info down. This excursion will have us stop at Kolocep for a short time, then to Sipan and final stop Lopud.

The boat ride was quite pleasant. The first island was a short stop. We strolled a little but there really wasn't much to see. Clearly the season is over here for most and with only a little more than a half hour, one isn't going to venture far from the main drag. We did look through a few of the shops. Once back on the boat the tables were all set and once we took off they served the "fish picnic". I hadn't had high expectations for this but it was quite good. Two whole fish per person, they were falling off the plate. Yes the head and bones were still there but they were easy to eat and tasty. The bread baskets were refilled again and again and wine or soda was plentiful. Everyone on this little cruise was friendly and the boat staff exceptionally cordial. The highlight for many was of course when one of the sailors tossed some fish bones overboard and the gulls converged. Yikes! After that out came the cameras and overboard went bones. Everyone got a big kick out of the birds swooping in for a chance at the booty. They had a big bowl of apples out for dessert and we all took a few which we would enjoy later.

We walked through some of the shops and I did get several table clothes and gifts from one gal that had an outside stand. She was very happy to have us as customers (Bon also bought several items) and we were glad we bought all of these items from her. (My table cloth looks spectacular on our dining room table and all the kids loved the table runners we got here as well.) We walked up to the church, looked around a bit and then meandered down to the dock. Once back on the boat the crew offered up drinks to everyone so out came the wine bottles and the ride back to Dubrovnik was a gala one.

Once back to Dubrovnik we checked on the Folk Dance that was to happen that evening and made plans to attend. Back up to our place to refresh and then back down to attend the concert put on by the Folklorni Ansambl Lindo. This was another outdoor venue, just a little ways from one of the entrances to the old town. We lucked out as far as seats go. The seating is quite steep-you enter from the top and then descend. We climbed over a railing once down toward the front and ended up with a row of four seats all to ourselves with a perfect view. The folk dancers were wonderful, very lively and we were quite entertained as was the rest of the crowd. The stone walls and the black sky were the perfect backdrop. After the concert we walked to the city and found a little place to grab a bite. We were very comfortable during the concert but now it was getting quite chilly. We found a place that had some seating on the inside so we grabbed a booth and ordered some late supper. Our meal was quite good and I'm sorry I don't know the name of the place. It was just off the main square, towards the sea, sort of down and around a corner. By now not too many people were eating outside. After our meal we strolled back to the cab stand and caught a cab home. Brisk night, sleeping would be good again.
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Dec 9th, 2008, 05:40 AM
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Enjoying the view-Dubrovnik's beauty, September 20, 2008:
We wake to the last full day we will have in Dubrovnik. Today we have to take care of all the "housekeeping" type chores-properly pack up, empty out the fridge, garbage, etc. and clean out the van. We started out by simply enjoying the gorgeous view for one last time on the patio. Our breakfast was a smorgasbord of what was left in the fridge from our various trips to the grocery store and the leftovers brought back from the meals enjoyed elsewhere. We also still had some apples from the boat trip, so it was a well-rounded meal.

There were a few items we wanted to get in the old town so we did that walk down the stairs one last time. No rush, just savoring this, our last time in the city. We plopped ourselves at a little cafe next to the "atrium" while Bon did some shopping. The guys had beer and I ordered a wine but it wasn't going down as quickly as their beer. Bon helped polish it off when she returned. We decided to walk around and then stop for a lunch. We popped in and out of shops and I did finally find another black Pashmina to purchase. We settled on the place right next door to Mea Culpa for lunch. It was pretty good. We strolled on back up to our place and began the task of getting ready to leave. We were to fly out the next morning to Stuttgart. Once there we would spend the end of our wonderful vacation with the Lobert's.

We got that beast of a van closer to where we were staying so we could clean it out and begin to pack it up. This is where Bon ended up breaking her foot (something not officially confirmed until she saw the doctor two days after we returned home). It is a "girlfriend" joke, Bon is always the one cleaning up, always the one pictured with the broom in goofy pictures (we have been friends for years, travel to Door County every year and for years {when we were all younger} traveled to Las Vegas every other year). Well she was sweeping the van out, backing herself out of the van and her foot got caught on one of the door or seat slides and crash, out the wide open side door she went. She said she heard the bone snap. Luckily it would seem the break was a clean one. And thank God she didnít break her back! She hobbled back to the room and up that foot went with some ice. That is pretty much how she spent her evening. It did help the swelling though and that was the big concern. Tomorrow we would be sitting in a van, walking an airport and then sitting on a plane again. We did just all spend the evening in, no one was hungry, it was rather chilly and Bon sure wasn't going to make the steps in this condition. So we polished off the rest of what was opened, readied everything for a quick getaway and tucked ourselves in to bed in Dubrovnik one final time.

Thoughts on Dubrovnik: This is simply a must-see. It cannot be described it must be experienced. The scenery, the people and the beautiful walled city offer a unique and wonderful respite from the rest of the world. We were simply enchanted by the city.
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Dec 13th, 2008, 05:18 AM
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Stopover in Nurtingen, September 21/22, 2008
Up and out in the morning, barely a chance to savor one last time out on the patio to drink in the beauty of Dubrovnik. The drive to the airport was an easy one and even though the road was winding and sort of narrow, we got out of town with no problem at all. Once at the airport we found the little strip-mall sort of site for the car drop, dropped the car, checked in and then found our gate. Our flight was uneventful and the luggage arrived safely as did we. In Stuttgart we would get a car, stay over with the Lobert's and then take off the next day for Frankfurt where we would get our flight back to the US.

We were surprised to see Patrick waiting for us at the gate! The plans they had for us this day was to ride the steam train to Neuffen and enjoy the wine festival and the celebration of 150 years of postal service there. We were sort of in a time crunch, he was there so we could just follow him to the train station once we had our car. We found the rental counter and got all checked in and they told us where to go get the car. Since Patrick travels extensively he knows the airport like the back of his hand. Even at that it took a long time to find the car and by the time we finally did get out of the garage with our car there was concern we wouldn't make the station in time to get the train. Relief for the family, we made it to the station before the train.

The Sofazügle ("Sofa Train") are over 100 years old and are listed as protected in Germany. The historical steam train travels between Nürtingen and Neuffen on one Sunday in each of the months of May, July (two Sundays), August, September, October and December (our lucky Sunday). Link-http://www.sofazuegle.de/ It is a big deal, the conductors were in full regalia, authentic I believe. Many families were on board. Renate had "reserved" a section for us and it was a very pleasant ride through the lovely countryside and through small towns to Neuffen. We took the horse drawn Postal carriage from the train station in to town, Rollie even got to sit up front with the "driver" while the rest of us were in the coach. Full costume here as well. We walked through the building that housed a display of some postal memorabilia and then strolled on down to the wine festival. Tables were set up for folks to sit and enjoy the wine and the delights being cooked up in huge fry pans and kettles. Zwiebelkuchen and sausages along with some wine and beer. Yum. The town was just charming, window boxes overflowing with beautiful flowers, harvest displays on doorsteps and at storefronts. Quaint and lovely as are all these little German towns. It is a shame the day was quite chilly. A little more strolling around and then we caught the train back to Stuttgart.

Just enough time to freshen up and then it was off to dinner. They took us to Gasthaus Loewen in Unterensigen, a suburb of Nurtingen, about 5 km out of town. Our meal was wonderful. It was a cozy place and the service was great. We each had something different and all of the meals were delicious. Back to their place and of course schnapps, Jagermeister and wine. Bon really needed to put her foot up and Renate had a nice ice bag for her. We could stay up late tonight as we didn't have to get up early. Our flight was later in the day on Monday.

In the morning Renate once again had a huge fresh breakfast ready for us. Pretzel rolls, fresh from the bakery, they are simply scrumptious! Home made jams, fresh coffee...we are so spoiled. A pleasant and relaxing morning and then we loaded up the car and were off to the airport. Rollie got us there with no problems. Checked luggage, parked ourselves at a little "kiosk" bar and enjoyed a wine and pretzel. We flew Air India again, as we had round trip tickets. Once on board we found a nice fresh airplane compared to the one we came in on and since it wasn't full we were free to move around once in the air. I moved up to a seat just behind first class, two free seats and nothing but wall in front of me. Spent the ride home with my legs swung over the middle seat, blanket on and book light on my book to read the way home. Wonderful flight! We arrived safely in Chicago, were picked up by the parking company, taken to our car and on the road to Milwaukee in nothing flat. We seemed to have missed the traffic so the ride home was very uneventful. And while vacations are wonderful it is great to be home. The next day will have both of us returning to work
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Dec 15th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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