A Travellerspoint blog

October 2012

Public Art in Tirana


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Skanderbeg statue in central square

Skanderbeg statue in central square


My favorite piece of art in Albania

My favorite piece of art in Albania


The former dictator demanded that thousands of bunkers (approximately 1 for evey 3 Albanians) be built throughout the nation to protect them from the foreign invaders. None ever invaded during his reign. This construction led to the bankruptcy of the nation. Many drab, cement bunkers are still seen throughout the nation, but many were sold for scrap to fund other efforts. This one is a bit of colorful art.
Decorated_bunker.jpg

Decorated_bunker.jpg


There seem to be many statues throughout the ages showing a young woman providing food or drink to a soldier - from the Turks - through WWI - to the last people's revolution in the 90s.
statue_in_parku_nacionale.jpg

statue_in_parku_nacionale.jpg


This hospital where my host worked was built in the 1930s. Laura Bush visited here when she and George made their trip to Albania. Many people love the Americans and George Bush. Because of our support, they believe we helped save their country from communism and dictators. Many people who speak English say " We love America. Thank you." I gotta say - it almost makes you weep.
Gynecological_Hospital.jpg

Gynecological_Hospital.jpg


Graffiti

Graffiti

Posted by pscotterly 00:04 Archived in Albania Tagged art Comments (0)

Dubrovnick

Out of Albania and into Croatia


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Time to leave Albania - I think the hosts are quite ready to see us go.
A slightly bad start at 7 AM when we learn the bus driver needs a typed, printed list of all passengers and their passport numbers to present at each border. No one is pointing any fingers......but....someone didn't know....someone didn't tell.

A long bus ride through Albania, Montenegro, and in to Croatia.
The scenery is beautiful.

The bad start continued when there was a mix up for our group and the travel agency. We had been booked in a different hotel than originally reported. No one is pointing any fingers......but....someone didn't know....someone didn't tell.

I had been told that Dubrovnik was a beautiful spot, but I did not know what to expect.

The walled city, the cable car ride to the Napoleonic fort that is now a museum to the Homeland War, and the beuatiful residential and hotel areas. Add Dubrovnik to your travel plans and have a relaxing week. Just be prepared for thousands of tourists from buses and cruise ships in the walled city day and night.
View from the wall

View from the wall


At home in Dubrovnik

At home in Dubrovnik


Museum_of_Homeland_War.jpg

Museum_of_Homeland_War.jpg


Garden in the convent

Garden in the convent


Stairway  with restaurant

Stairway with restaurant


Flower garden

Flower garden


Dubrovnik_10.jpg

Dubrovnik_10.jpg


Dubrovnik_9.jpg

Dubrovnik_9.jpg

Posted by pscotterly 22:51 Archived in Croatia Tagged dubrovnik Comments (0)

A Swim in the Adriatic


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A beautiful drive from Split to Plitvice National Park.
I had wanted to sea kayak in the Adriatic in Dubrovnik, but I chickened out when I thought the water was too choppy and I wouldn't be able to manage it. I decided I was not going to leave the Adriatic without doing something besides looking at it.

Testing the Waters

Testing the Waters


I go for a swim in the Adriatic

I go for a swim in the Adriatic


Lunch after the swim

Lunch after the swim


A yacht named Paula

A yacht named Paula


Perhaps I should be on this yacht instead of a touring coach.

Posted by pscotterly 23:09 Archived in Croatia Tagged me_sea Comments (0)

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia


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Some people on the tour had been here before and specifically wanted to return.
I enjoyed it very much, but after all the talk about the "wild forrest" and being from Colorado, I was expecting something a little more remote.
The lakes are beautiful, but tourists walk in long rows along the boardwalk around the lakes.
Perhaps it is like getting to Zion in Utah and realizing the unique beauty, but being overwhelmed by the crowds.

I did enjoy the chance to get a fairly good walk, the tasty wine, and a nice local-style dinner.
I didn't enjoy the lower level room with a view of the propane tank.

Jasmina sets us straight

Jasmina sets us straight


At Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia

At Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia


Here comes the bus

Here comes the bus

Posted by pscotterly 23:58 Archived in Croatia Tagged lakes park national plitvice Comments (0)

Split, Croatia


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The drive along the Adriatic from Dubrovnik to Croatia was spectacular.
One beautiful town after another

One beautiful town after another


Farmland Delta

Farmland Delta


Islands along the Adriatic

Islands along the Adriatic

When we first entered Split, I thought it was just "an old, industrial communist city."
Then we were shown the Riva and the old walled city. I am surprised once again!
Originally built as a retirement home for Diocetian, the last pagan emperor of Rome, and then a major medieval Venetian-controlled city.
Many of the Roman walls remain and most of the medieval city was reconstructed from the materials. All are still in use as apartments, shops, churches, and tourist attractions.

I can't believe how ignorant I have been about this part of the world.
Roman wall

Roman wall


Flowers on home in Split

Flowers on home in Split


Oour guide describing the en suite in Roman home. Some of the aquaducts built then are still in use today. Before lead was used, so the water is completely safe.
Roman en suite

Roman en suite

Medieval homes in Split

Medieval homes in Split


Cellar of Diocletian retirement home

Cellar of Diocletian retirement home

Posted by pscotterly 15:55 Archived in Croatia Tagged split Comments (0)

Slovenia


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I would never imagined Slovenia would be such a beautiful and friendly country. But then, neither did anyone else on the tour.
Misty_morning_in_Slovenia.jpg

Misty_morning_in_Slovenia.jpg


Green pastures in Slovenia

Green pastures in Slovenia


View from Castle

View from Castle


We all imagined that Slovenia was ravaged by war and had snipers from the church towers. (Actually, Croatia had been like that in 1991 and 1992, but not now.) The Homeland War was over in Slovenia in only 10 days, with very little damage or injury. Apparently, Slovenia has always been populated by one population group and was even fairly isolated politically from the rest of Yugoslavia during the communist era.

Our guide, a Slovenian woman of 38, gave us many hours of history lessons and personal tales as we drove along in the bus. Once she told about how much more they had in Slovenia than the others communist countries. Slovenians could easily travel into Italy. They could buy goods that no one else had access to. Of course, they had to smuggle everything back into the country. This became a fun-filled challenge to see how much they could creatively get past the Slovenia border patrol. Her father's record was wearing 6 pairs of jeans at one time. He would then smuggle these jeans into Russia and trade them - once he traded one pair of jeans for a fur coat.

Bled is a beautiful town. Well known for its medal winning rowing team. Some of us visited one of Tito's former homes that is now a hotel. We ran into some staff membrs who took time out from their chores to show us some of the special areas and features. Everyone in Slovenia seemed so pleasant and were especially friendly to tourists.
I couldl have spent 2 or 3 days more in Bled. I would have really loved to ride a bike, row a boat, and wander through the town.
Rainbow over Bled

Rainbow over Bled


Bled from the Castle Wall

Bled from the Castle Wall


Bled_Lake_from_the_castle.jpg

Bled_Lake_from_the_castle.jpg


But it was back on the bus - we had more castles and shops to visit.
Flags

Flags


Adam and Eve Exiled

Adam and Eve Exiled


Fresh Market

Fresh Market

Posted by pscotterly 19:50 Archived in Slovenia Comments (0)

Life on a Venice Canal

Everyone knows that Venice is a city of canals and no streets.
Everything that comes into Venice must arrive by boat.
If tide is too high, traffic in and out must stop

If tide is too high, traffic in and out must stop


Supplies delivery

Supplies delivery


Everything that moves around by Venice goes by foot or boat.
Personal_transport.jpg

Personal_transport.jpg

Everything that leaves Venice must go by boat.
Bucket by bucket

Bucket by bucket

I only really understood how "no roads" impacted daily life when I sat in my 3rd floor apartment overlooking a canal in a residential neighborhood.
Of course, I found watching life on a canal much more interesting than looking through thousands of gift shops and paying another 3 euro to look at another church.

An apartment across the canal was being remodeled. All the debris had to be hauled out bucket by bucket. All the new materials had to be brought in piece by piece, then hauled by hand to the apartment building, and carried up many flights of steps.
One day, someone in a neighboring apartment was moving out while all the constrution was coming in and out. He merely tied his boat to the other side of the delivery boat. One box at a time, he moveed everything out the apartment door, crossed over the delivery boat, jumped into his boat, stowed the box, retraced his steps over the delivery boat, and repeated the process until his boat was filled.
I assume he reversed the steps at his new apartment, because he returned with an empty boat and continued his work. I didn't see when the furnitre was moved.

The construction delivery was quite a process using a lift.
No sooner was it unloaded and the boat left than a group started checking the bill of lading to the order. Apparently, wrong materials were delivered. Later that afternoon, the workmen had to load another piece by piece, all the misshipped items. They did not have the luxury or a lift.

Congestion_in_the_canal.jpg

Congestion_in_the_canal.jpg

At one point the "moving boat" became untied and started floating down the canal. Other boats came through all the time and everything had to come to halt to make sure there was enough room.
UnLoad finished

UnLoad finished


Notice the man carrying a box is still moving out of his apartment.
Wrong_Shipment.jpg

Wrong_Shipment.jpg

The workers are loading the misshipment back onto another a boat.

I am fatigued just from watching all this. Time for some refreshment.

Spritz is an afternoon apertif. Every bar has its specialities

Spritz is an afternoon apertif. Every bar has its specialities

Posted by pscotterly 22:22 Archived in Italy Tagged venice_canals Comments (0)

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