Five Weeks in the Former Yugoslovia

May 5th, 2019, 07:58 AM
  #21  
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Tp- definitely an undiscovered part of Croatia and well worth a visit.

progol, welcome aboard. Glad you find our TRs enjoyable. I love yours also.
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May 5th, 2019, 07:59 AM
  #22  
 
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Detail of one of the art nouveau buildings that Yestravel and I saw, Osijek.

Another of the nouveau buildings we visited in Osijek.

On the grounds of the Gallery of Fine Arts, aka “The Wounded Museum,” Osijek.
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May 5th, 2019, 09:15 AM
  #23  
 
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I’m all in! Love following you two. Have a great trip!
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May 5th, 2019, 11:19 AM
  #24  
 
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My one and only visit to the former Yugoslavia was before it was "former", a mere 41 years ago when Bill and I went there for our honeymoon. We spent a week on Lake Bled, [a favourite haunt of Tito so we were told, but he didn't put in an appearance while we were there thank goodness] and a week in Cavtat, just south of Dubrovnik, which we were lucky enough to see before the war and the lesser though more prolonged scourge of the cruise ships. Although we talked about going back, in the way of these things we never did, which seeing your photos I now sort of regret, but we saw other lovely places instead so I have no complaints.

I've no idea where we flew into or out of but I remember that the plane was very basic even for 40 odd years ago and looked as if it could be turned into a troop carrier at a moment's notice.

So thank you for posting this and your photos - I'll be travelling along with you.
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May 5th, 2019, 11:47 AM
  #25  
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Ann- bet it was a very different place back then. Hope our photos bring back some nice memories.
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May 5th, 2019, 01:07 PM
  #26  
 
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Yestravel, I love your report on Osijek! I wish we had time to visit that part of Croatia. Maybe on another trip we could combine it with Bosnia. Your writing and descriptions are excellent! I can't believe you are writing this while traveling! Are you using an ipad? Thank you so much for taking time out of your travels to keep us updated.

Progol, where are you going this year? Your TR was very helpful when I was planning our trip to Andalucia. We chose to go to Malaga partially because of your report, and we loved it!
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May 5th, 2019, 01:22 PM
  #27  
 
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I am loving this, not only because we know yestravel and her DH and have met up with them in various parts of the world but because she is so in the present when she writes.

Following carefully because Croatia has not really been on our radar.Slovenia, yes, but we have a lot to learn about Eastern Europe. I want to get to Warsaw.
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May 5th, 2019, 10:27 PM
  #28  
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Karen, thank you! Mostly the typing is on my iPad, but occasionally I use my iPhone. Thus you can understand the typos. Gottravel and I write together and we’ll do it while driving or hanging out. We travel pretty slowly these days.

Hi StCirq! Glad to have you following along. We have seen little of Croatia so far in our week, but I definitely think you would enjoy inland Croatia and Zagreb. There was much that sounded interesting that we didn’t see. It’s so hard to pick where to go and even though in theory we could travel as long as needed, we never seem to have enough time to see it all. Hi to your dh. I was thinking about you guys as I was reading about the caves here and remembering the great visit to Font-de-Gaume.
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May 6th, 2019, 09:18 AM
  #29  
 
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Wow, yes! This sounds great. I keep forgetting about Croatia - so am so glad you and go are doing an indepth report. Was thinking about calling you for lunch the other day - and now see that I'll need to wait till this latest great trip is complete.
Continued safe and happy travels. I'll definitely be following along!
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May 6th, 2019, 10:31 AM
  #30  
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Glover-glad to have you along. I know what you mean about “forgetting about Croatia, same with me.
I wanted to try and have lunch before we left, but somehow the days slip away.
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May 6th, 2019, 10:40 PM
  #31  
 
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GOING FOR THE BAROQUE

The next morning, Yestravel watched the sunrise over the river through the fog while I slept in. Then we had our first Croatian hotel breakfast...fruit, breads, pastries, yogurt, cheese, eggs, cereal and exotic Balkan lunch meats. We hit the road by ten and were on our way to Varaždin, a legendarily baroque town near the Hungarian border.

We planned our route to take us to the village of Hlebine, the birthplace of Croatian naďve art. We stopped briefly at Gallery of Naďve Art in the center of town, and checked out the primitive, sometimes surreal, paintings it contained. We had a guided tour by a staff member, who explained the history and the changing style of the movement. The story of the genre founder Ivan Generalić was particularly fascinating. He painted on the far side of a sheet of glass, effectively painting and signing his name in a mirror image of the eventual work. We hadn’t paid an admission fee, and there was a heart-stopping moment at the end of our tour when she asked us for one; it turned out to be the princely sum of a little over three dollars for the two of us.

We reached our destination in early afternoon. It was a small but confusing town. Getting to our lodging was a little odd. It was like spiraling in in a series of concentric circles on one way streets until we arrived at our hotel near the center of town. Despite it being the first week of May, the weather was miserable, cold and rainy. We doubled down on misery by driving to the Atlas Obscura-recommended town cemetery for a tour of the elaborate statuary framed by accompanying solemn topiary. We marveled at the sheer volume of colored plastic candle containers on old tombs but were quickly driven back to our car by the inclement weather. The sheer nastiness of the weather resulted in us conducting further explorations of the town by car in search of its baroque rococo heart. Unfortunately, we seemed to be going in circles around the old center. Having not eaten since our morning assault on the Croatian breakfast buffet in Osijek, we took a temporary break from our search to have dinner at Palatin, a commendable restaurant that served tasty Croatian meals of normal portion size. After dinner, we returned to our lodging. The rain had let up and the evening had actually begun to border on the pleasant. We decided to continue our explorations on foot. We found that the baroque center was a pedestrian only neighborhood very near our hotel. Our discovery was sheer accident...we’d set out to check out the lush inviting park - and it’s proliferation of statues and spring flowers - across the street from our hotel. We spent perhaps an hour walking around the baroque area admiring the elaborate buildings, noting the absence of bullet holes and taking photographs. Despite it being about seven p.m. on a Saturday evening, the baroque section was almost abandoned. All of the businesses were closed. Mission accomplished, we returned to our room.

Given our time in both Osijek and Varaždin, we wish we’d spent more time exploring inland Croatia.



Sent from my iPad

Last edited by gottravel; May 6th, 2019 at 11:11 PM.
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May 6th, 2019, 10:53 PM
  #32  
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Sunrise over the Drava River, Osejik

The Croatian Museum of Naive Art
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May 7th, 2019, 12:03 AM
  #33  
 
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Croatian naďve art,

Cemetery topiary, Varaždin

Commemorative baroque manhole cover, Varaždin

In case you haven’t seen enough photos of buildings [Varaždin]*
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May 8th, 2019, 02:35 PM
  #34  
 
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oh this is definitely the road less travelled. Great photos.
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May 10th, 2019, 04:58 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by annhig View Post
oh this is definitely the road less travelled. Great photos.
thanks, Ann. The road more travelled will becoming soon.😊
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May 12th, 2019, 08:44 AM
  #36  
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Slovenia welcomed us with open arms that poured water on us - a cold rain under gray skies.


Before crossing the border we had purchased the mandatory vignette at a filling station. It was €7.50 for 7 days. Unfortunately it was a couple days short for our entire stay in Slovenia, so we’ll need to purchase another 7 day one. We had difficulties parking, dragging our luggage through the rain across the river and checking into our Ljubljana apartment. Once there we collapsed and poured ourselves some of the delicious Croatian wine we had brought with us. The apartment itself was fabulous. It was large, modern, comfortably furnished and on the top floor of an rehabbed old building overlooking the river near the famous Triple Bridge. As much as we liked our apartment my initial feelings on Ljubljana were somewhat ambivalent. Everyone just adores Ljubliana and I wondered what was wrong with me. It was sweet, it was precious, but I didn’t love it. Something about 45 degree weather and dreary rain in May will do that to you

The next morning, in order to save us from a king’s ransom in parking fees, gottravel was up and out bright and early planning to move from the relatively nearby parking garage to a less expensive, albeit more distant, parking lot. I was up with the sun and ecstatic that, while still quite cold, the sun was peeking out. We decided to take a walk that Andrew had described to us. It took us away from the center of Ljubljana. The highlight was the fabulous church in Trvono (Church of St. John the Baptist). Behind it was Plečnik house, now a museum. Unfortunately it was closed on Mondays. He was the architect of many of the older buildings we would be seeing.

On our way back into town at 11 in the morning, we were surprised by two things. Firstly, it turned out we were right by our car parking lot and, secondly, a party was going on in the street with wine being handed out. Of course we wandered over and couldn’t refuse the glasses of wine that were handed to us. This was happening on the grounds of the university and it appeared it was some kind of academic celebration. Inside a nearby building there was a crowd and two tables with some appetizer-sized snacks. We sampled some. Tasty. When we started getting some quizzical looks, we decided to flee before someone tried to talk to us in Slovenian. At this point gottravel had learned exactly one Slovenian word, “dobro,” which means good.

Plečnik had not been the only architect in town. Elizabeth_S had given us a tour that covered the highlights of Ljubljana’s Viennese Secessionist - a type of art nouveau - architecture. We crossed Plečnik’s Triple Bridge to check out the Hauptmann House, a spectacular Secessionist building near the Bridge. We then moved on to the Galeria Emporium, the Grand Hotel Union and the notably flamboyant Vurnikova hiša building. We ended at Miklošičev Park, which was largely lined with beautiful Secessionist buildings. As a bonus, there were some nearby modernist buildings for contrast.

Continuing on our tour day, at 4:00 we joined a food tour that also was to include highlights of the city. The tour was a comprehensive sampling of local food and wine from six Ljubljana restaurants. Our guide, Jasmine, was both knowledgeable and entertaining about Ljubljana and the Balkans in general. We ended up at 8:00 with a Ljubljana specialty dessert on the top floor of the “Skyscraper,” a 1930s building that had once been the tallest building in the Balkans. We waddled home to our apartment.

Over the next two days we did the usual Ljubljana tourist stuff (the funicular to the castle, the Dragon Bridge, the open air market, the Cathedral of St Nicholas and it’s fantastic bronze doors, etc), all of which we would recommend visitors do. In addition, we...Went to a photography exhibition at the Galerija Fotografia; while the exhibition itself was so-so, the other photos on display and the photography books on offer were world class. Saw the fantastic Super Hilda exhibition at Galerija Kresija next door to tourist info officeChecked out the exhaustive - and exhausting - overview of Yugoslavian art between the wars at Museum of Modern Art. Stumbled across the Saint Joseoh’s church and monastery, perhaps Ljubljana’s most beautiful church. And just did a whole lot of rambling in the old town.
We ran across what may have been the best item on our last day. Even the most casual, temporary visitor to Ljubljana will notice that the town has a lot of statues - a whole, whole lot of statues, perhaps the world’s highest statues to actual humans ratio. This is embodied by the Slovenian National Assembly building in the old town. The front entrance to this incredible building incorporates dozens and dozens of life size statues. It has to be seen to be believed.

At some point, maybe on the second day after the rain had stopped and temperatures increased, We found that our ambivalence had disappeared. We’d become Ljubljana converts.

Last edited by yestravel; May 12th, 2019 at 09:32 AM.
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May 12th, 2019, 09:34 AM
  #37  
 
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You know we are huge travel fans of yours. We've got the maps out, old-fashioned style across the tables, and dreaming of heading east.
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May 12th, 2019, 11:46 AM
  #38  
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I almost forgot, a very important tip if you visit Ljubljana and stay in the pedestrian zone. They have a free service that will pick you up where the car free zone begins and take you to yours or/hotel. They also will do the reverse. It’s a great service.

StCirq-only way to plan is to lay out a proper paper map and have a go at it.��

Last edited by yestravel; May 12th, 2019 at 11:56 AM.
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May 12th, 2019, 12:02 PM
  #39  
 
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Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana

Vurnikova Hia Building, Ljubljana

National Assembly, Ljubljana

Old town, Ljubljana
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May 12th, 2019, 12:04 PM
  #40  
 
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Odd. All the apostrophes seem to be removed from Ljubljana post.
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