Sunday, March 10, 2019

Korcula, Croatia 

Sunday on the island of Korcula. There are 1195 separate islands belonging to the country of Croatia in the eastern Adriatic Sea; Korcula (pronounced KOR choo lah) is one of the largest:  33 kilometers (about 26 miles) long by 8 kilometers (5 miles) at its widest point. 

Once again, this is an ancient part of the world. Archeologists have recently discovered the bones of a fish that dates back one billion years!  The oldest human remains, a man and a woman, are ten thousand years old - geez, that’s a long time ago!

The Greeks arrived here about 500 BC - there is much evidence of their advanced civilization in several museums around the walled Old Korcula Town. The island has been inhabited continually since that time. Like so much of the Adriatic rĂ©gion there is Greek, Roman, Venetian, Ottoman dynasties represented in the architecture and culture. 

This morning I attended Mass at one of the many Roman Catholic Churches here in Korcula, a neat experience, although I didn’t understand a word, save for « Amen. »

The currency in Croatia is the KUNA, its exchange rate is approximately 6.5 to one dollar. The currency in Montenegro, where we visited for two days before this stop, is the Euro, even though Montenegro is not a member of the European Union. It seems that when Yugoslavia was breaking up, leading to the war years of 1991-1995, theMontenegro-inflation   rate became so exorbitant that they decided to adopt the German Deutsche Mark as a much more stable currency system. All went well until Germany (Deutschland) became a part of the European Union. So, Montenegro is the only non-Union country that uses the Euro. In our travels we’re changing currencies almost daily!

I don’t normally exchange US dollars for much of the local currency, as I find it more convenient, and less expensive, to make most purchases with my trusty Visa card. However, several days ago, I did hit an ATM, thinking I’d get a small amount of Kuna. I was so busy chatting with some of my fellow travels as I was accessing the machine, I mistook 5,200 Kuna for 520 Kuna on the ATM screen. After I’d taken my cash from the machine I realized that I’d withdrawn the equivalent of $800!!!!!  I’m definitely hoping I won’t spend it all!!!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Cruising the Adriatic

February 28, 2019

Well, our new adventure got off to a slow start. Sharon, Carol and I flew from Sacramento to SFO to board our long flight to Paris. At SFO we met Sharon’s daughter, Kim, who was joining us for the trip. 

But, oh my!  The flight was delayed five hours due to a repair issue on our plane. We knew early on that we would miss our Paris to Zagreb connection and that we were in for our first unexpected adventure! We let United Airlines know, at SFO, that United in Paris should be aware of our situation; upon our arrival in Paris, United representatives were exceedingly helpful in managing our dilemma. They put us on a flight to Frankfurt where we stayed overnight. Next morning we boarded a Croatian Airlines flight for the hour and fifteen minute flight to Zagreb. At our destination we were met by a representative of Overseas Adventure Travels (OAT), who drove us the about-three-hour distance to the coastal city of Zadar on the Adriatic Sea, where our ship was awaiting us. We were welcomed by the crew and our fellow passengers and our planned adventure began. 

The BV Athena is a lovely small ship with just about fifty passengers, who are amazingly catered to by a crew of about thirty. We are enjoying a leisurely and really lovely cruise along a portion of the Dalmatian Coast, with multiple stops in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, all formerly parts of the country of Yugoslavia, with a rich and complicated history dating back to the ancient Roman times, and before. The officers and management members of the crew are mostly Croatian, the service crew mostly Indonesian.