Okay, so this is going to out me, as if it wasn’t too late, but I used to love the album “Liza with a Z,” a recording of the TV special of the same name, which was in turn a film of a live concert performance. It was directed by Bob Fosse, who won a Emmy.

It included a song called “Ring Them Bells.” Take a moment to watch and listen. I won’t go anywhere.

The first time I heard that song, I decided I’d go to Dubrovnik one day. And now I’m here. Though I didn’t meet my Norm Saperstein, and tomorrow I am leaving.

That’s okay, I’ve already met my next door neighbors. And I’ll pass.

But for some reason, that song made me think of Dubrovnik as this exotic place, and I longed to visit it one day. And now, here I am!
Continue reading “Ring Them Bells”

It’s hard to believe at this time yesterday I was sitting on my balcony in Korčula savoring my last moments in paradise before getting on a boat for the two-hour cruise south to Dubrovnik. Now here I am, sitting in my very comfortable and very modernly renovated apartment, overlooking the old port of Dubrovnik and the city walls, with Mount Srđ rising dramatically up to the Napoleonic fort at its summit.

I wouldn’t say I’m still in paradise. When I arrived in Dubrovnik a little past noon yesterday, I was struck by its dramatic Baroque architecture (most of Dubrovnik’s older buildings were destroyed in a 1667 earthquake) and its throngs of sun-drenched tourists licking ice cream cones. I’ve seen plenty of tourists elsewhere on this trip (see Rovinj, Mostar, Split, and Hvar), but Dubrovnik brings it to a whole new level. And it’s still shoulder season. It was hot enough and crowded enough for me, thank you very much. I can’t imagine why anyone comes here in July and August, which is when everyone comes here.

Between the tourists I think I found the beauty of this city.
Continue reading “But where’s the pearl?”

Imagine you’re on a Mediterranean island. You’re sitting on a third-story balcony. In front of you, not ten meters away, the clear blue waters of the Adriatic reach 500 meters to a rugged mountain landscape, a few red-roofed houses clinging to the shore just below the cliffs. A cooling sea breeze is a perfect antidote to the already warm rays of the morning sun. Palm trees line the path along the water in both directions. The sound of the water lapping against the shore is punctuated by the squawking of seagulls and, every fifteen minutes, the clanging of bells from nearby church steeples.

You’re imagining being me right now.

So, okay, I’ll say a little about yesterday, but then I want to get back to enjoying my second paradise in a row.
Continue reading “Paradise Found, Lost, and Regained”

This was one of those days that everyone else calls “vacation.” I call it “nothing to do.” But that’s okay. This is a beautiful place to do nothing.

I simply wandered around most of the day. I sat and watched people. I gazed at the brilliant turquoise water. I sat at a cafe and had a cappuccino. I bought groceries and sat on my balcony and ate breakfast and lunch and dinner with that great view overlooking the town of Hvar. I took a nap in the afternoon. I read a little. I wandered some more.
Continue reading “Less seeing, more being”

While I was waiting in line to board the catamaran to Hvar (along with, it seemed, every other American in Split), someone standing nearby send to his companions, “We’re splitting Split.” No one laughed, and I said to him, “I bet that’s the first time anyone’s ever told that joke.” Everyone laughed.

Well I went to Split, and then I split Split and came to paradise. And nobody’s laughing. Just sighing contentedly.
Continue reading “Split and found paradise”

Before I proceed with my regular daily blog post, I want to make a special appeal for those who aren’t on Facebook and didn’t see my appeal there.

As you know, I just spent three days in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it was raining and the Miljacka River was threatening to overflow in some parts of the city. While Sarajevo was spared, many other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina were severely affected by flooding.

I don’t know how much of this has been covered by US media, but it is a terrible situation, and local resources to aid those in need are very scarce.

I connected with many people in Bosnia and will cherish the connections I made there for the rest of my life. These are warm, kind, friendly people, and we in the United States let them down in a big way once before.

If you are enjoying hearing about my travels, please help. Amir sent me links to two web sites where you can learn more about the situation and make a small donation.

Bosnia flooding fund 2014 at GoFundMe.com
Just a Dollar Flood Relief (and while you’re visiting this site, be sure to click on the Home link to learn more about poverty in BiH)

Thanks.
Continue reading “A town so cute I just wanna give it a hug”

Who’s bored with hearing about breakfast? Let’s skip ahead.

We explored the hill towns of Istria today. When I was first researching this trip, I thought I might want to skip Istria, because it has hill towns just like Tuscany, and I’ve already been there. I wondered whether Istria was special and unique enough to warrant a visit on a crowded itinerary, and I really questioned whether three days was way too much.

But as it turns out, there was not enough time to see everything I would have liked to see. I never made it down to Pula, on the southern tip of the peninsula. It’s famous for having some of the best Roman ruins outside of Italy, and it was definitely part of my planned itinerary to spend part of yesterday down there. But it was so nice to take a day off from driving. I’ll never know whether to regret missing Pula, but I don’t regret what I did instead.
Continue reading “The hills are alive (or not so much)”