My family went to the land of our fathers (Croatia) in May of 2012. I am just now posting the photos! Shame on me. Oh well – better late than never, right? My dad’s side of the family is Croatian, and all from the area around Dubrovnik, so we went there as a family pilgrimage. It was one of the more memorable trips of my life and I am SO happy that I took so many photos! Here’s the cream of the crop:
This was the first hotel we stayed in. It’s in Cavtat, near Dubrovnik. Definitely has that 80′s look, but the stay itself was nice.
This older man was fishing on the cliff right under our hotel. He looks peaceful, no?
This is the little bay in Cavtat.
We went to a touristy restaurant in the hills outside of Cavtat, where I found this beautiful rose…
…and this old water wheel! Look at all of the plant growth – pretty cool.
My dad, aunt and I went for a hike in the hills outside of Cavtat. The Croatian landscape is fantastic! It’s not lush by any means – there are more shrubs than anything else – but as one of the Miss Allens says in A Room with a View, sometimes the things that are indelicate, are also beautiful. (I promise I will stop talking about E.M. Forster in this blog soon.)
This is a house we found on our hike near Cavtat. I remember hanging my clothes out to dry in Florence, and in Germany for that matter. I actually prefer it!
This photo really summarizes my view of Croatia. The real towns and spaces (aka not built for tourists) are not shiny or pretty – they are raw. The above is a deserted basketball court in a tiny village outside of Cavtat.
Now we are in Dubrovnik. This is one of my favorite pictures. I love the darkness of the sky with the dramatic perspective in the image. It looks foreboding, but in a warm way. Does that make sense?
Shhhh…don’t tell my sister that she appears in this post! I wanted to add this picture to show how narrow the streets were – Dubrovnik is an old city. I was just looking up some more information about it and discovered that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to UNESCO, it was first founded in the 7th century. Yes, I think that qualifies as old.
I was fascinated by the roof textures in Dubrovnik and how everything was built so close together, without any real plan. Although it’s not a big city, you could definitely get lost in it.
Older lady knitting! Heck yes! Rock that turquoise, grandma! This picture was taken from the wall surrounding Dubrovnik, hence the overhead angle. I just love that she gave no thought to the fact that there were tons of tourists right above her head. She’s my role model.
There were many small windows overlooking the city in the turrets that dotted the wall. The vignettes were stunning – the bright orange of the roofs pierced the darkness of those little towers and created quite the visual contrast.
All of the cream and terracotta! Dubrovnik really is a charming city.
Do you see the two boys playing soccer? Again, I thought it was lovely that since Dubrovnik is so small, real life and tourist life can’t help but mix.
Now we are in Trsteno, a small village (population: 237) outside of Dubrovnik. Supposedly this is where my great grandfather is from. This picture was taken at the Arboretum in Trsteno which was built in the late 15th century. What I remember most about it is how many of its features are Renaissance, but were built before the full popularity of Renaissance architecture in Italy. Isn’t that interesting? There were so many beautiful flowers, plants and trees there – I highly suggest visiting.
This was taken outside of the Arboretum at the coast. This structure, and the ones following, are completely abandoned.
How cool is this?! It’s a pool carved into the cliff. You can see at the lower left corner there’s a water inlet that allows the water level to rise and fall with the tide. I dig it.
Although this is some crazy awesome graffiti, it’s sad that these buildings have been let go. The views are amazing and the building have fantastic bones.
This is one of the windows of the main villa at the cliff.
Although I may be wrong, this building looks to have a lot of Venetian influence. It would make sense, since Venetians at one point ruled the city of Dubrovnik, but I really am not all that good at identifying architectural periods and influences. Another thing to put on my “to accomplish” list!
Here’s where my Interior Design geek comes out – LOOK AT THESE WINDOWS! That’s original glass! To be completely honest I shouldn’t have been up there – the floor had completely caved in and I was walking along its perimeter. It was exhilarating.
I fell in love with this villa. If I could, I would buy it, renovate it and turn it into an exclusive B&B. I would screen who could stay there and only allow people who respected the Croatian heritage of the area and who truly appreciated its beauty. How amazing would that be?
Croatia has many wild, bright, rambling flowers.
This is the Neptune’s fountain in the Arboretum.
After Trsteno we made our way to Mrcevo, where another one of my ancestors is from. My father remarked, “No wonder they all moved to California, this place is a sh*thole!” While I wouldn’t go that far, it certainly was a desolate landscape and a remote town. We didn’t see a single person. Literally. However, we did see the grave of my great uncle so that was interesting.
This was a scoreboard for some sort of bowling or bocce ball court.
On our tour to find the places of our ancestors, we stopped near a cherry orchard. How beautiful are those?
We decided to ramble around and stumbled on this quaint little bay. I loved the bright blue someone had painted this wooden structure. What is it? I have no idea. The water was so clear and cold and the mountains so rugged – it was simply spectacular.
Now we are on the island of Hvar – what seems to be the most touristy place in all of Croatia. It’s actually an island so we took a ferry to get there. It felt like the Croatian version of Ibiza – we could hear the sounds of partying into the wee hours of the morning. Anyway, this is the main church there. Quite old.
Hvar did have some bright colors going on.
This is the main bay on Hvar. The restaurants on its perimeter would go to the edge and pull up fish for dinner! Most of the food had Italian roots, due to Croatia’s proximity to Italy. If you go, don’t miss the ham, olives and cheese. Mmmmm I could live off of that combination. :)
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this post! I would go back to the Dubrovnik area any day, although I would suggest going in September so that you can get the warm water but avoid the crowds. Have a lovely weekend and I will post again soon!