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Catch up Time

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Profuse apologies to everyone! I am sorry, from the bottom of my heart that I went a whole big fat month without blogging. I will try to catch up now, and hopefully you’ll forgive me. I’ve been a little distracted, ya know…  

So, now we are in Scotland. In a little town called Inverness. But I’m getting ahead of myself.  

My last post was from Korcula, I think. After that we went to Mljet, which is a perfect little Croatian island, half of which is a national park. There we met our new friends – the Mrkonjic family. We initially planned to stay on Mljet for 2 days, but after we met them, we just didn’t want to leave! They own the soba we stayed in, so if you ever need a place to stay on Mljet, stay with them. House #11. They’ll treat you like family! 

 We went to Dubrovnik with Ljiljana (the mom) and the two daughters, Zrinka (16) and Lucija (13).  

Ljiljana and I - the moms

Zrinka, left, and Lucija, peeking out from a Dubrovnik wall tower

 Dubrovnik is a really beautiful city, it’s hard to believe it was bombed less than 20 years ago. The locals are very proud of their home, and of their culture. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend you drop by. Oh, and eat at Nishta, the vegetarian restaurant. I tried to, twice, but they were closed. So stop by and tell me how it was.  

We walked the city walls, which is a must-do for all tourists. It was hot as hell up there in the baking sun, but at least all that sweat was good for pictures – it gave us a healthy glow. If  you go in the summer, I recommend you go in the morning – you’ll beat the heat and the crowds.  

View of the harbor from the city walls

The girls on the wall - ain't they sweet?

Moi on the wall. Notice the healthy glow. Thanks for the loaner hat, Zrinka!

View from the wall. Love all those red tiles. Notice the cruise ship with sails in the background!

Eat here! This is actually a restaurant! After you dine, cool off with a nice dip in the sea! And the view is great in every direction...

One nice thing about having native friends with you is they can tell you some of the local customs. As soon as you walk through the main gate into Dubrovnik, there is a church on the left. If you look to the left of the door, you will see a tiny little shelf. If you can stand on that shelf, you get good luck. I tried, and fell. So I tried again, and I fell again. Hamsa, however, had a little more success.  


More good luck for Hamsa!  

We visited a palace there in town, I forget the name, but it’s a museum now, with all kinds of historically interesting stuff in it. You should go. There’s a room on the bottom floor where they kept the most hardened criminals. So the girls and I ventured in and imagined what it would’ve been like back then. To really get a feel for it, we had to pretend to be hardened criminals ourselves!We’re going on a hunger strike until we get cable TV! And pedicures. 

We had so much fun with them. On Mljet, we went to the National Park. There are 2 lakes there, and we swam in the small one (it’s warmer) and rode along the current between the two lakes. It’s really beautiful there. Back near the soba, Hamsa and the girls would go swimming in the bay, sometimes all the way across the bay, and look for shells and coral. Ivo, the cool dad, would play chess with Hamsa. And he won, too. Yup, Ivo rocks at chess. And he’s such a funny, nice man. He always kept us laughing. If ever you need a place to stay on Mljet, drop him a line.

One day, we rented the Cat Car. It’s a 50 year old Communist-era heap of metal that was wisely covered in white fur-fabric, then topped off with whiskers, ears and a tail!! It was challenging to drive, to say the least. Hamsa was terrified every time I went around a curve. But we made it to our destination alive, somehow. We went to see the cave where Calypso seduced Odysseus. Apparently Homer spent some time here (7 years) and was inspired by this particular cave. Hamsa was inspired, too. He climbed/slid down to the mouth of the cave, then swam out the other side to the sea. He was fully clothed at the time, but oh well. Sometimes you just gotta grab an experience, even if you didn’t bring your swimshorts!


Alas, all good things must pass, and we left, tearfully, our new family. Ljiljana, bless her heart, dragged herself out of bed and drove us to the ferry at 5 am. Only a true friend does that! 

We hopped a flight to London, where we stayed with my brother’s friend, Greg. Oh, boy! A new city! New sights to see! NOT! Nope, not one sight for me. Why? Hamsa’s shin. It crashed into my foot, breaking 2 toes! No, one wasn’t enough, I had to go for TWO! So, there we were, in London, and all I could do was lie around for over a week, keeping my stupid foot elevated while I waited for the stupid bone to knit. Thank God he has cable. Poor Greg. He thought he’d be putting us up for a couple of nights. Heh heh. 

But heal it did, and we hopped a plane to Inverness. Why Inverness? I don’t know. Just randomly picked it. And boy am I glad I did! We love it here. 

But that’s another story. 

Love to everyone. And please, somebody race down to Florida with a fire extinguisher and stop those morons. Sheesh. 

Some photos from Croatia

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Hi everyone!

Here are a few more pics!

A few days ago we were in Bol, on the island of Brač. It’s a great little seaside town to hang out in, and the beach there is superb! We slept on it for 2 nights, which was wonderful. Aint nothing like falling asleep to the sounds of waves, and watching the meteor shower! Here’s  the view from our campsite at sunset

Beach at Sunset

Hamsa ridin' waves at Bol

We’ve spent the last 4 days in Korčula, on the island of the same name. It’s a gorgeous island, with many sweet villages, nice beaches, and a few hiking trails, too. Korčula is wonderful, simply beautiful. We stayed in a soba in the Old Town, and went swimming in the local swimming hole. There’s good snorkeling here, too.

We found a restaurant called Konoba Mareta, which actually had a few vegetarian dishes – a rarity here in Croatia! And we were really lucky because a singing group called Mareta came there for lunch, and they sang the afternoon away at their outdoor table. They sing Balkan harmonious songs, almost like chants – hauntingly beautiful.

Yesterday we rented a sea kayak, and paddled out to some of the nearby tiny islands, which I enjoyed immensly. At one point we were surrounded by sailboats, and had to paddle like hell to get out of their way! Then we found a nice quiet channel in shallow water, between two islands only 200 meters apart, and just floated there in sparkling clear water, soaking up the warm sun. Twas perfect.

Here are some photos of Korčula

Looking west from the Old Town area

The view from Marco Polo's house

Old Town

This is the Old Town section of Korčula. Note the town walls

A typical street in Korčula's Old Town, just after sunrise

You see those pretty limestone and marble street stones? Well, they are deadly! Yup, innocent, unsuspecting tourists go ambling along these streets in their flip-flops and WHAM! Your feet slip out from under you and down you go. Not that it happened to me

We went to see a dance called the Moreska, its been performed by the locals for over 400 years. It celebrates the victory of the good guys over the bad guys. Apparently, it was originally inspired by the final expulsion of the Moors from Spain. It was cool to see a tradition that’s been passed down from father to son for many generations. They really get into their performance, and when the swords were clashing, there were literally sparks flying!

Beginning of the Mareska, the good guys are in red

Besides slipping on smooth stones, I crashed head-on into one other local norm. Let this be a warning to any of you who come to Croatia. The menu may say ˝fresh-squeezed lemonade˝ and the waitress may say, “oh, yes, its fresh lemonade” but what they call lemonade and what we call lemonade are two very different things!

Culture Clash

I'm so lucky Hamsa had the camera out!

It took more than a spoonful of sugar to fix that!

Can you imagine it – a tall glass of fresh-squeezed lemon juice for breakfast? Yowzers!

We’re heading out to Mljet in a few minutes. It’s an island that is partially a national park, so we get to go hiking and camp out! There is a lake on the island, which is unusual, and there are islands in the middle of the lake. Islands on an island! I think we’ll have to go check that out. And then on to Dubrovnik, then the Bay of Kotor, then…  ?

We gotta go hop on our ferry now – it’s a 1 hour ride through paradise! Love and hugs to you all!

A Few Pictures!

Thursday, July 29th, 2010
Hello, my friends and family and fellow vagabonders Here are some pics from our last few days... This is on the bridge at the South end of Krka National Park. Note the pretty waterfall in the background![Continue reading this entry]

Blonde Moment

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
Hi, everybody! First off: I had a blonde moment. I sent some emails with news about the photo album my friend Gregg had put together. Then I forgot to put the link in all but one of those emails! Ooopsy. ... [Continue reading this entry]

I’m Alive! Aliiiiive!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
Hi everyone! Thanks for all your well wishes, I am sure they helped bring me back from the brink of death by phlegm. Well, here we are, in Skradin Croatia. Its a sweet little town next to Krka National Park. We went ... [Continue reading this entry]

we were on croatian tv

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
hello! well my mom and I were by the ocean relaxing. my mom was lying down listening to the sea organ and i was doing flips into the ocean... then all of a sudden a woman asks me to do ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sweating Buckets in Zegrab

Friday, July 16th, 2010
Hi! This is my last and will testament, as I will probably be reduced to a steaming pile of mushy human liquid muck within minutes. I, Laura Mattox, definitely not of sound mind and body, hereby declare: Hamsa gets it all. If ... [Continue reading this entry]