Slovenian and Croatian 9/13/2007-10/7/2007

Steamboat SpringsDenver BostonMilan, ItZabreb, CroatiaSamabor, CroatiaLjubljana, SloveniaBled, SloveniaBohjni, SlJulian Alps, SLBohjni, SlIzola, SlOpitja, CroatiaPlitvice, CrStarigrad-Palenica, CrZadar, CrZagreb/Samabor, CrMilanBostonDenverSteamboat Springs


Journal Part I

9/13/2007: DIA sitting on Delta Flight 107 waiting to take off:

Finally on the airplane with the engines noise rising in anticipation of imminent take off. This is a little like starting labor after a long pregnancy. First there was the thought, then the commitment, then months of planning, picking names and then the combination of romantic dreaming and anticipation about what this would really look like . Would it be well mannered and easy or cranky and stressful?

Yesterday was in Walden until 1 PM, then drove back to Steamboat where we finished last minute packing and headed for Denver. Arrived at Jarod and Heathers house about 7:15 PM and had a fine spaghetti dinner before a few hours of fitful sleep. Up at 4 AM with Jarod going above and beyond the call of duty by driving us to the airport. The rest is history to be made. Hopefully we will be delivered to Zagreb, Croatia in about 9 hours with good APGARS.













Very short stay in Atlanta. The shades are unnecessary, but cool.















Alitalia out of Boston: In and out of Atlanta in an hour. We are angling Northeast across the Atlantic just crossing Newfoundland. I had heard Alitalia is not plush and it is living up to its reputation. There are10 TVs monitors mounted on the ceiling about every 10 rows. No audio right now and the visual is flight information; 190k down and 5,763 km to go. A little depressing. Flight speed is 1,740 km/hr, elevation 33,000 m with the outside air temperature at -500 C. I think Ill stay in side and enjoy my fish, potatoes and quiche.

Currently reading the Virgin Diaries by Jeffry Eugenides. Had just finished Middlesex and enjoyed it so much I thought Id stick with him for another book. Very different novel, but still the same rich characters, remarkable insight and ability to make the seemingly ordinary extraordinary.


9/14/2007: 7:30 AM Milan Italy: Mom, are we there yet? The worst part of traveling is traveling. Actually it has been a very smooth flight with fast efficient connections. We arrived with the sun rising over the city of Milan. The city and the agricultural fields around Milan had that yellow-orange Mediterranean glow. Said high to a few super models as we passed through the airport.










Supermodel Milan, Italy. Not bad for an amateur with a digital camera on the run through the airport.















7/14/2007 8:00 AM: Zagreb, Croatia: Arrived at the Pleso International Airport outside of Zagreb around 11:30 AM. This entire trip is a no reservation adventure. Our cab driver was a very nice guy with good English skills. We had a few central city hotels names from the Lonely Planet Guide in hand and that combined with our cabbies helpful hints and cell phone assistance we secured lodging one block from the train station (perfect location) at the Hotel Central.

After a nap, shower and snack we walked a block to the main parkway and walked north in to town. The parkway was just that, grass, flowers, statues of fallen heroes and streets lined with old, but regal buildings.












First glimpse of Zagreb. Note the modern touch (billboard) enhancing the 18th century architecture and beautiful gardens.

First and lasting impression is that Zagreb is a friendly, safe, beautiful and uncrowded city

























Kralj Tomislav, the first king of Croatia. Appointed by the pope in 925 AD and in 928 AD suddenly disappeared. No other history exists.


















Got some fresh fruit and nut mix at the open market and wandered through the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. After visiting many cathedrals through out Europe I can understand why Catholicism became the dominant religion. Every time I walk in to one of these magnificent works of art and architecture I almost convert.


The Cathedral was first constructed around 1000 AD, but was destroyed in 1242 in the Tartar invasion (also caused gingivitis and tooth decay). It was rebuilt in 1300 and then survived an earthquake in 1800.

On the way back to the hotel went through Ban Jalacic square. The square has existed since the 17th century. The buildings around the square represent a variety of periods and styles and situated in the middle of the square is a large statue of Ban Jelačić on a horse, created by Austrian sculptor Anton Dominik Fernkorn. The statue was first installed in 1866 and at the time was facing north. In 1947 it was removed by the Communist government of Yugoslavia as they denounced Ban Jalacic an Austrian collaborator.

The statue was removed in 1947 as the new Communist government of Yugoslavia denounced Jelačić as an Austrian collaborator. It was hidden in safe keeping by a Dr. Antun Bauer, and in 1990 the statue was reinstated after Croatia regained independence and Jelačićs historic role was reevaluated. There is an urban legend that says that the monument always faces the enemies of Croatia, with the Bans sword ready for action. The statue now faces south toward Serbia.

As we passed Ban Jalacic today there was a group of young musicians standing at the foot Bans sixty foot statue playing some lively Mississippi jazz.

9/15/2007: Zagreb, Croatia: Central Hotel: After a leisurely morning and a cup or two of espresso, took tram #6 to bus #102 to Sestine at the trail head of Mt. Medvednica just outside of Zagreb. As the tram passed our old friend Ban Jalacic there was a new group of musicians performing at the base of the statue in the square. I have been wondering for years where all the Moonies went, now I know, they are chanting in Ban Jalacic Square in Croatia.

We followed a beautiful path along a small stream through a thick beech forest. As the trail climbed it narrower to a single track and beech became pine. We topped out after 2,700 ft of climbing on the highest peak in this area of Croatia. The bonus was that there was a road loop and a bus that passed by every 30 minutes and we were able to descend in cushioned luxury back to Sestine where we reversed our bus and tram route back to Hotel Central.

The real highlight of the day was the assistance that we got going back to Zagreb. Being unsure of where the bus went and where to transfer we found two young woman who spoke some English who were very helpful. As we road down the mountain they conferred in Croatian with each other about the best way for us to go. An elderly lady over heard them and volunteered to personally lead us to the correct busses and trams. She spoke no English, but her grandson who was with her spoke a little. We now had a team of four guides all more eager than the next to deliver us safely to our destination. This kind of extrovert helpfulness turned out to be pretty typical during our stay in Zagreb.











Trail up Mt. Medvednica outside of Zagreb



















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