Slovenian and Croatian 9/13/2007-10/7/2007
Steamboat SpringsàDenverà BostonàMilan, ItàZabreb, CroatiaàSamabor, CroatiaàLjubljana, SloveniaàBled, SloveniaàBohjni, SlàJulian Alps, SLàBohjni, SlàIzola, SlàOpitja, CroatiaàPlitvice, CràStarigrad-Palenica, CràZadar, CràZagreb/Samabor, CràMilanàBostonàDenveràSteamboat Springs
Journal Part VII:
tour gathered we walked from the tourist center down a path and then began a
steep decent in to the opening of the cave.
From there it continued to drop as we carefully stepped down wet paths
and stairs until we were 400 ft below the earths surface. The cave was filled with both natural and
archeological wonders. At the low point
we crossed a bridge 100 ft above the
We were not allowed to take pictures in the cave so all I have are some post card images and an old etching.
caves we headed 15 km west to Lipica, the original home and breading ground of
the world famous Lipizzaner Stallions.
The site was first established in 1503, but due to wars and invasions
the horses were scattered around
Not being a horse person, watching the stallions perform dressage and dance was like me watching the Bolshoi Ballet, an opera or drinking a $200 bottle of wine. I can enjoy the good taste and quality, but the fine points and the detail are lost on me. Still it was a beautiful show and walking the farm and seeing the horses and the history of this breed was fascinating and impressive.
Mo having her arm eaten by a world famous Lipizzaner stallion
In the performance arena
Gasparo Nicoletti 1703, One of the original studs
Lipica we headed for the northeast coast of
A very small taste of the 12 km sea side promenade
queens, movie stars and the elite of the world were entertained by the royalty
of the then powerful empire. This all
came to an abrupt end with WWI. The
Austro-Hungarian Empire came to an abrupt end and castles and villas were
abandoned. Over time the villas have
become primarily hotels, although some remained abandoned and decaying. A few were maintained in their original form
for the public, such as Villa Angiolina.
It was built in 1844 and was the original nugget that drew the European
royalty to the northern shores of
Mo at the
When we arrived in town we went straight to the tourist office to enquire about lodging. As usual the worker there immediately got on the phone and called a prospective host. We ended up just a few blocks up from the beach in a very nice apartment tended to by an old, but very lively German woman who had created a beautiful garden on the premises. The deck overlooked the bay and offered a fantastic moon rise our first night in Opatija.
Night one in Opatija, enjoying some Croatian wine and our deck over the bay
Moon rise on the bay
The next night we moved to one of the old villa hotels right on the promenade, the Marianna. Much of the original beauty was evident, but it was also clear that much had been neglected over the years. I suspect with the rapid increase in Croatian tourism the next few years will see a lot of improvements.
Our humble hotel for 60 Euros/night (off season of course)
That night we walked the promenade looking for a dinner spot. After a short time the rain began and increased by the minute. As the rain built to an official down pour our desperation for a shelter and dinner, in that order, increased rapidly. We were beyond the restaurant shopping mode, so the first place we say we ducked in to. The fact that it was elegant establishment was evident right away. We looked like a couple of drowning rats, but the group of greeters at the door treated our entry like the arrival of royalty.
It ended up
being one of the finest dining experiences of our life, with a seven course
meal almost all fresh from the sea. When
we got ready to leave they graciously brought us the bill which we paid with a
credit card. All was fine except in our
haste leaving the hotel we brought no cash and in
couple of days of the good life and some nice hikes in to the hill we headed