Some of my Croat friends will take exception with putting Croatia in the Balkans.  Driving to Zagreb from Slovakia I once said to a friend “It is good to be back in the Balkans.”  He scowled and said, Zagreb is not in the Balkans, the Balkans are south of the Sava.  He than thought a minute and said “So Zagreb’s airport is in the Balkans, but Zagreb isn’t.”   Metternich is supposed to have said: “The Balkans begin at the Rennweg.”  More commonly the Viennese aphorism is “The Balkans begin in the third district.”  I will take Metternich’s definition. We have … Continue reading Croatia

Rovinj, Croatia

October 1, 2011 Belgrade, Serbia Dear Friends, A week ago in Rovinji, Croatia, I went to sleep and woke up to the sounds of waves lapping at the sea wall three floors below our apartment window.  As the morning progressed I could hear gulls calling, flocking around the boats that had been seining all night for sardines, now coming into port, their wakes made the slap against the sea wall more pronounced.  At 7 AM the church bells at St. Eufemia called the city to wake. If you go to the window, just then, you can see the sun rise … Continue reading Rovinj, Croatia

Vukovar, Croatia

Note, Vukovar was the first major victim in the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  It is a border town on the Danube, in Croatia but, before the wars, with a slight Serbian majority.  The Serbs finally took the town over but after the Dayton Accords the town was administered by the UN before being turned over to the Croats, 13 days before we arrived.  Our job was to work with the Serbian radio stations in the region to make sure they got licenses from the Croatian government and to help assure that the rights of the Serbian, Roma and Hungarian … Continue reading Vukovar, Croatia

Zagreb, 1997, Operetta at the Presidential Palace

This is from 1997.  I threw in the picture of the necktie shop in this tranche of photos, just because it seemed to go with the uniforms. May 11, 1997 Zagreb, Croatia Dear Friends, We’re in our eleventh week of wandering Europe after the evacuation.  We had planned to be gone two.   We’ll be in Zagreb another week before traveling to Vienna to get visas and then to Serbia as IREX plans our alternative lives for us. I still enjoy being awakened by church bells at 6:00 AM.  Since it’s summer they seem louder with the windows open. Earlier in … Continue reading Zagreb, 1997, Operetta at the Presidential Palace

Zagreb, Croatia

This letter included my first impressions of Zagreb. I took the pictures in this post in 2001 and 2011.  We had been evacuated from Tirana and had been traveling for two months on only the carryon bags we got out with.  We were working TDY jobs for our IREX as needed.  We had just come from Prague. Zagreb, Croatia April 25, 1997 Dear Friends, Sometimes something you learn in the first hours visiting a place can prejudice you against it before you have a chance to really get to appreciate it.  That could have happened to me in Croatia.  According … Continue reading Zagreb, Croatia

Mali Ston and Ston, Croatia

May 23, 2004 Mali Ston, Croatia, Dear Friends, Mali Ston is on a cove, not spectacularly beautiful, but restfully pretty.  Mali Ston is not distinctive compared with other historic towns along the coast.  The reason to go to Mali Stone is to eat.  Big busses bring eating tours to Mali Ston.  This weekend a busload of French Tourists came to sample local seafood and wines.  The cove has oysters and mussels and the local wine is from the next valley.  The town makes much of its income from seafood wedding feasts.  I’m allergic to seafood but everyone assured me that … Continue reading Mali Ston and Ston, Croatia

Korcula, Croatia

On Saturday we took a daytrip to Marko Polo’s birth town, Korcula.  We went through Korcula on a ferry in 1997 and have wanted to explore it ever since.  Korcula is a very small walled city of gothic construction with renaissance flourishes, built on a rocky spit of land at the end of an island.  The spit is less than 1000 feet across.  The town is laid out to take advantage of the prevailing winds.  The summer “maistral” winds come from the west and the streets climbing from the west wall to the centerline are strait to allow the wind … Continue reading Korcula, Croatia