Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Living the Good Life--Dubrovnik Style

This trip was full of so many magic moments. I had to pinch myself and ask Jaap, "Is this really my life?" Our evening drinks at Buza Bar in Dubrovnik was one of those times. Just when I thought Dubrovnik couldn't get better, we visited this place.
Finding Buza Bar can be challenge, in fact I'm still not 100% sure that the bar we went to is actually called Buza Bar. (We couldn't find a name anywhere.) Dubrovnik has two bars like this and our apartment manager recommended one of them to us. It's a must see. It's literally a hole in the City Wall that you walk through and it brings you to a rocky outreach, complete with tables, chairs, good music, friendly bartenders, and amazing views of the Adriatic.
Ridiculously happy
People swimming, locals fishing, and drinks with Jaap as the sun started to go down. Croatians know how to live the good life and all I could think was how lucky we are to be here and experience it with them. What a great evening!
Lokrum Island
He's so cute.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our night at the symphony

One night in Dubrovnik we went to the symphony as part of the Summer Festival of Dubrovnik. We watched the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra perform an evening of J.S. Bach music in an open air atrium complete with a warm summer breeze. We got tickets for a performance in the Rector Palace Atrium, a Renaissance style palace in the center of Old Town. Attending concerts on vacation are becoming a tradition for us and I love the variety of performances we have seen abroad.
Before the concert we had a nice stroll down the Stradun and dinner at a Bosnian restaurant. Lots of skewered meat and grilled vegetables. Lekker eten! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cavtat & the Peljesac Peninsula

Driving along the Dalmatian coast is breathtaking. It reminded me of a road trip I once took from L.A. to San Francisco on California's Pacific Coast Highway. Winding roads, high cliffs, and scenic views of the water. Our way to Dubrovnik was a little slow moving coming from Split, but really...there's no other way to get there. The major interstate that goes through Croatia suddenly stops at some point close to the Bosnian border. For political and various other reasons, there is no major highway connecting the bottom portion of Dalmatia to a faster route. This allowed us to drive along the coast and even through Bosnia Herzegovina for 20 minutes. Despite the slow pace, it was a beautiful ride.
Views of Dubronik en route to Cavtat
Fresh OJ in Cavtat
Driving more in Croatia, we took two day trips from Dubrovnik to Cavtat and the Peljesac Peninsula (famous for their wine production). The drives are winding, a little slow, but filled with lots of beauty. From high cliffs on the road you can see tons of hidden beaches all along the coast.
Peninsula surrounding Cavtat
Cavtat is a quiet town. A little more upscale than quaint little Rovinj, but very cute. Even though there is not much to do in this little town the walk around the peninsula made it worth our trip. It's a shaded stroll with tons of little swimming coves. We found a nice spot for a cold drink. We sat there and stared at the Adriatic sipping our drinks for awhile. It doesn't get better than that.
Vacation :)
Jaap and his fish later on that night in the Old Town
The Great Wall of Croatia- medieval fortication
For our last day with the rental car we took a trip to the Peljesac Peninsula, just north of Dubrovnik. This area is famous for their wine production and oysters. We stopped at a few wineries to sample some Croatian wine and made a small purchase.

We found a rocky beach for some swimming in Zuljana. I wondered why there weren't many people in the water until we entered and found it quite chilly. A lot colder than swimming near our apartment in Dubrovnik. Still beautiful though. The beach is secluded and quiet. Much more relaxing than busy Dubrovnik.
Orebic
We ended our tour of Peljesac in a little town called Orebic. Orebic also had a cute little beach, but we opted to sit in a big rocking lounge chair with a mojito instead of taking a dip. Our swings offered a nice, relaxing view of the harbor and the bright blue/green water. Another magic moment with Jaap!
And the perfect ending to our day trip... Returning home to our apartment, sitting on the balcony, sipping wine with a book, and watching the sun go down. Ah...vacation!

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Walled City--Climbing Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik
Early morning view of the Stradun
While in Croatia, Jaap and I spent 7 nights in Dubrovnik, exploring Old Town, the coast, Peljesac Peninsula, Lokrum Island, and a small town called Cavtat.
One morning we woke up very early to walk the City Walls. We wanted to get there by 8:00 a.m. to beat the heat and the crowds. I'm glad we did because there were only a handful of people there that early and the city was roasting by 10:00 a.m. The Old Town is completely encircled by this medieval fortification. The views are great.
It was a perfect day for my big hat!
We learned that roofs with bright orange tiles meant they were new and replaced in the 90s after the siege of Dubrovnik and the fall of Yugoslavia. You can see that most of the city roofs had to be repaired. It's amazing to think that all of this happened only 20 years ago.
It was peaceful walking the walls that early with Jaap. Not many people around and the city was quiet. The sunlight rising over the Stradun was beautiful. It's the best way to see Dubrovnik. 
Afterwards we took the cable car up to Mount Srd. We got a little nostalgic for our New York days riding the Roosevelt Island Cable Car to Jaap's old apartment in NYC. We had a delicious breakfast on top of Mount Srd with panoramic views of Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island, and the coast. We were home by 12:30 enjoying a little siesta. The perfect way to see Dubrovnik in the hot sun.
Lokrum Island
Views from Mount Srd

Friday, August 17, 2012

Visitors, Boston does Europe

Michele, me & Debbie
We've had a whirlwind of  fun over the past two weeks. Some of my closest friends from Boston came to visit. Together we traveled to Amsterdam, Bruges, several amazing days in Paris, a quick day trip to Monschau, Germany, an airport drop-off in Brussels (complete with waffels & beer) and of course, Maastricht.

I'm lucky to have to such great friends that travel across an ocean to see you and come with an adventurous spirit! There were so many times that I wanted to freeze time and hold on to the moment because we were having so much fun. Lots of great memories were made over the last two weeks.

There's too much to write about and too many pictures to choose from, but here are some of the highlights of their trip.

Drinking lots of beer...
 A bike trip to Eijsden & Eijsden Castle...
Celebrating Deb's birthday at one of our favorite restaurants on Rechtstraat in Maastricht, Eetcafé Ceramique and some drinks at a new wine bar...
 Day trip to Bruges...
An amazing four days in Paris...
We were inspired to visit the Musée de Rodin after watching Woody Allen's, Midnight in Paris the night before our trip. :)
Jardin du Luxembourg...
 Notre Dame...
 The Louvre...
 Exploring Montmartre...
 A day trip to Monschau, Germany...
 Last stop...Brussels, to drop Michele off at the airport.
What a great two weeks!