It’s a glorious morning! About 6 am we sailed into southern Europe’s only fjord, the Bay of Kotor. Surrounded on both sides by towering mountains, our ship feels small. Soon we’ll go ashore to explore the old walled city of Kotor, a fortified town built by the Venetians.
We’ve enjoyed some wonderful days. Two days ago we sailed into the Croatian port of Sibenik, where we embarked on one of our Signature Journey excursions. Under the care of a young but passionate guide, we drove to nearby Split, Croatia, to begin our day. As you may recall, the Roman emperor Diocletian was the first to actually retire from office instead of dying or losing his office to a military coup. Rather than going into an assisted living community, Diocletian chose this handsome seaport to build an opulent palace. Over the centuries, the locals took over parts of the palace for their own accommodations, however one can still see some the Roman grandeur. Our guide maintains that the cathedral (once a Roman temple) is the oldest Christian church in the world.
After a delightful lunch in the harbor overlooking the grand promenade of Split, we drove along the coastline to explore the medieval village of Trogir. Though the buildings have been modernized with plumbing and electricity, much remains untouched from the middle ages. Delightful; it was a pity we did not have more time. All in all, though, a great day.
Dubrovnik: Yesterday the Seabourn Quest sailed into the waters surrounding the walled city of Dubrovnik, once one of the Mediterranean’s great sea powers. When we first visited Dubrovnik 15-20 years ago, shortly after the conflict in the Balkans came to an end, there was not much activity. The city had been shelled heavily by Serb forces perched on the mountain that dominates the city. The people were grim and the shops mostly empty. What a difference a decade makes. Entrepreneurs have blossomed: many of the old stone buildings have been taken over with shops and restaurants on every corner. Recently a funicular was completed to take visitors to the top of the city’s mountain for stunning panoramas. Surprisingly, in addition to our small ship, four large ships docked in Dubrovnik yesterday, filling the narrow streets with tourists. We stayed in late so the city was virtually ours after all the others sailed away late in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, we’re all healthy and enjoying the wonderful sunshine (it’s expected to be nearly 800 today).
Wish you were here!
Paul and Christine