There’s only one artist from the countries I’ll be visiting that I’ve ever heard of: Ivan Meštrović. But I only just figured out why I’ve heard of him. For a while Meštrović taught at Syracuse University, where I (much later) went to college. And a number of his sculptures are displayed on the SU campus. The one I remember most vividly is this bronze sculpture of Job from 1946.

Meštrović lived from 1883 until 1962. Some of his famous monuments are in places I’ll be visiting.
Continue reading “Balkan Arts”

Just as two years ago I struggled for the right term to describe Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, and Iceland (I settled on “Nordic,” but that wasn’t really right), there isn’t a good term that describes the places I’m visiting on this trip.  I use “Balkan” reluctantly, and I acknowledge that it’s not technically accurate, but it’s better than saying “former Yugoslavian” or “eastern Adriatic.”  Usually when I’m telling people where I’m going, I just list the countries I’m visiting.  But “The Foods of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro” just doesn’t cut it as a title for a blog post.
Continue reading “Balkan Food”

Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going. (Paul Theroux)

I started this post writing about my enthusiasm for seeing Sarajevo because of the extraordinary history that city has experienced.  This is the centennial year of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, the touchstone for World War I.  It’s also 30 years since Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics. (I came across some photos of the facilities that were used in the 1984 games and have since gone to neglect or damage from the Yugoslav War.)  And it’s stunning to think about what was going on in Sarajevo and throughout the areas I’ll be visiting just 20 years ago.
Continue reading “A Balkan History Lesson”

One of the things I am missing out on as I get close to my Balkan adventure is the planning. It’s liberating in a way, but I also feel like I’m missing out on part of the experience by leaving the planning in the hands of JayWay Travel. So I’m really digging into the few parts of the trip that are up to me.

One of those is my day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro.
Continue reading “Planning what I can”

In preparation for my upcoming trip, I bought the Kindle edition of Rick Steves’ Croatia & Slovenia guide book today. It’s coauthored by Cameron Hewitt, who led the travel session I attended in Edmonds last spring, and I suspect it’s more authored than coauthored by Hewitt.

In reading various passages, I started second guessing the itinerary.  It’s already evolved a bit from what I posted earlier. Here’s the latest version from JayWay Travel, whom I’ve pretty much committed to hire to plan this trip for me:
Continue reading “Second guessing myself”

Two days until I leave on my Oregon road trip.

I’m planning to blog daily while I’m gone, posting experiences and photos.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing to think ahead to next May and my trip to the Balkans. I requested a private tour itinerary from JayWay, and I’m now seriously thinking of doing that instead of the Rick Steves tour.
Continue reading “More Balkan dreaming”

With less than two weeks until I leave for my Oregon road trip, I find that I’m already on the verge of putting down a deposit on my next vacation.

I was thinking the Balkans in the fall, but now I’m thinking I won’t wait that long. I’m looking at Rick Steves’ first tour next spring, May 11 — 24, and then extending it with some independent travel.
Continue reading “Next spring? Really?”