Fiume or Rijeka – once a cruise destination

6 June – Rijeka Croatia AKA Fiume to the Italians

I start my day on “my bench” along Lake Bled. Mama duck and her 12 fuzz balls rest along the shore while two lusty swans create waves. They hiss at little helpless ducks yet squeak at each other. The crews are out practicing their rowing. I refrain from more photos of my gorgeous surroundings. Bled is idyllic and I hate to leave but Rijeka beckons – site of the first torpedo factory in the world. (more…)


Mary Ann and Roland, Plitvice Lakes National Park

30 May – Zagreb Croatia

I bus thru northeastern Serbia, its breadbasket. Good highways, flat farmland and lovely wild flowers of red poppy, lupine, yellow cornflowers and thistle.

Because of its ragged horseshoe shape, we reenter Croatia, requiring us to once again get off the bus and individually go thru customs. Shaky relations between these two countries – a continuation of East verses West? (more…)


Dubrovnik from atop Srd Mountain.

18 May – Dubrovnik Hrvatska (Croatia)

Arrival into Dubrovnik amid blue seas, sun and warmth. Short walk to Rooms Kaja where my host reminds me of Dean but with an accent and curlier hair. Quickly set off for Dubrovnik – among the 10 best medieval walled cities in the world. Explored the 1.24 miles of wall encircling the old city. Almost all roofs in the city were destroyed by the 1991 aggressions. The regime in Montenegro led by Momir Bulatović, installed by and loyal to Serbia’s Slobodan Milošević, claimed Dubrovnik was historically part of Montenegro. This was in spite of a large Croat majority population with few Montenegrins and a mere 6% of Serbs residing there. Many considered Bulatović’s claims as part of Milošević’s nationalist plan to build a Greater Serbia as Yugoslavia collapsed. The citizens of Dubrovnik were sitting ducks as Serbs, Bosnians and JNA (Yugoslav National Army) fired down from Srd Mountain directly behind the city. (more…)

The Balkans

Dubrovnik Croatia

I graduated from Purdue University a history major. Yet, what I know of the Balkans could be counted on one hand 1) where it is 2) Tito lived there 3) Milošević was there 4) the Saracens, Mongols, Huns, Manichæans, Romans, Byzantines, Christian Crusades, Venetians, Ottoman Turks, Napoleon, Italians, Austrians, Hungarians, Nazis and Communists sacked and pillaged at their pleasure over the centuries, and 5) if Franz Ferdinand had stayed home instead of traveling to Sarajevo in 1914, the world could have waited a little longer before plunging into World War One. Therefore, my goal before I dock there in May is to read as much as possible and arrive less ignorant.  If I offend any Croat or Serb in this process, it is out of my ignorance, not out of my efforts to understand a complex situation.