Sunday, December 9, 2018

Back in Sevilla -- And a Visit to Córdoba

 Yes, we’re back! And very glad to be here!

We enjoyed our time in Alicante, but for me, something just wasn’t right. We had a great apartment with a wonderful view; the ocean was right there with the castle off to the side. We had our favorite restaurants, and knew several other Americans there. We enjoyed using our tram cards to explore the coast north of town. But still, Alicante was missing something.

Now that we’re back, it’s as I suspected. While Alicante had its origins with the Romans and the Moors, it is essentially a recent city. I expect in the ‘50s & ‘60s there wasn’t much there; most of the town seems to have been built in the boom days of the ‘70s and ‘80s, when they just couldn’t build beachfront apartments fast enough. 

Sevilla, on the other hand, was a Moorish capital in the 11th Century. After the discovery of the New World, all the riches Spain took (read: extorted) passed through Sevilla. The galleons carrying tons of gold and silver – and tobacco – came up the Guadalquivir River (it’s silted up now,  but was navigable then) and were off-loaded here. Madrid was the capital of Spain, then as now, and all the good stuff was shipped on. But no doubt there were plenty of “middle men,” packers, shippers, and tax collectors. Sevilla became very very rich. In the 16th Century it was a powerful, beautiful, elegant city. It may be less powerful today, but it is no less elegant or beautiful!
A rather nice modern building in Sevilla

And since we’ve been here before –we spent three months around the Christmas holidays here in 2016 – it’s all familiar. We know our way around. No mean feat, that, since the roads are short, narrow, and winding. A real maze. (I didn’t want to go out alone for the first month we were here for fear I’d never find my way back!) But now we wander the cobbled streets in confidence, admiring the buildings (and discovering some new, really exquisite ones).


Somehow we missed getting to this ancient city last time around, so this time we made it a point to visit it sooner rather than later. It’s a pretty city, with the usual narrow, winding cobbled streets. But we’ve got those here in Sevilla, and more and better of them! What Sevilla doesn’t have is the Great Mosque of Córdoba, known (more accurately) as the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba. Started in the 9th Century by the Moors who occupied Andalusia, it was added on to several times, and eventually was said to serve 100,000 worshipers. In 1236 the Reconquista, or retaking of Iberia by Christians, arrived in Córdoba, and the Spanish added a Renaissance cathedral nave right in the middle of the mosque.

Originally the minaret for the mosque, now a bell tower for the cathedral.

View from the tower. Note the bells...

The Cordoba cathedral, plunked down in the middle of (what was) the Cordoba mosque.

OK, so that’s the Wikipedia part. Paula, in an email to some friends, said I’d “work my magic” on the presentation of our visit. I find I can’t improve on what she said:

I don’t know why it took us three trips to Sevilla to finally get to Córdoba. It’s about an hour train ride from here. I had seen photos of the iconic red and white striped arches [of the mosque]. I was breathless and swept off my feet with the grandeur, magnificence and size of this Mosque Cathedral. Unlike the Alcazar here or the Alhambra in Granada, this Byzantine structure contains many styles of architecture from Roman to Gothic. It is beyond huge….Inside there are over 850 marble and jasper columns connected with arches. I felt like I was walking in a candy cane forest! It was the day before a Spanish holiday and we had the place mostly to ourselves.

The candy cane forest! Astonishing, really.
It’s been added on to by the Moorish rulers to the size of 180 by 130 meters (200 by 150 yards – a football field is 100 by 50 yards, so that’s six American football fields!) for the entire grounds of orange trees and Tower – which we climbed.
The Catholic altars and statutes outline the perimeters inside except for one wall that still has the Islamic and Arabic architecture including the center prayer niche (the Mihrab – ed.), with gold tiles, calligraphy and mosaics. And arches. Lots and lots of arches.

Not even this panorama can give a hint.
In the 800s Cordoba was the largest city in the world – larger than Damascus or Byzantium – with 300,000 people! That’s five 0s. London and Paris had a population of 20,000 each at the time.
Mirhab of the mosque
Transitioning from mosque to cathedral
Unlike the Alhambra or Alcazar, which were places for the rulers to live (aka palaces), this was a place of worship and prayer. I can only imagine what it sounded like with even 50,000 people inside praying together.

And, of course, we were not the first to find this structure extraordinary. The hall was described as having  "countless pillars like rows of palm trees in the oases of Syria[29] while the people living there found that "the beauty of the mosque was so dazzling that it defied any description."[30]  I found the interior more impressive than the Blue Mosque in Istanbul (and yes, I was so dazzled I'm having trouble describing it, too!).
I like the black and white version also
The part that didn’t work for me so well was the insertion of a Christian cathedral into the middle of this enormous mosque. I found the Christian iconography out of place (plus, the 16th Century Spanish had to slather gold and silver all over everything!). And, it turns out I was not alone in my dismay; no less a personage than the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500-1558), who had given permission for the construction of the cathedral, commented upon seeing it, "You have destroyed something unique to build something commonplace."[38]  (My thoughts exactly!)

The Christian cathedral built entirely within the (former) mosque.
Of course, there’s more to Córdoba than the Mosque–Cathedral, but that was the reason we went. We did have a 20-minute walk from the train station, and found some other aspects of the city to admire.

View of the minaret -- bell tower from outside the walls

2nd Century Roman bridge (used as Long Bridge to Volantis in Game of Thrones)

View of the city walls and a very nice fountain!

Street art, outside an auto repair shop (!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

¡Adios, Alicante!

Today we said good-bye to Alicante. It’s only Sunday and we don’t leave ‘till Tuesday, but Sunday is a good day to stroll around, with all the locals out on a pleasant sunny day. Paula wanted to visit a cafeteria (a bar that serves food; essentially, a small restaurant) we had passed a week ago (or was it two??) – the sign in front said caña y tapas   2€” (that’s a small beer and small plate of food – a snack – for about $2.30USD). While it’s not far from where we’re staying, we just never get over to that neighborhood. And here it is! Paula checked in with the owner: vegitariana? (Our broken Spanish for “do you have vegetarian dishes?”) No, only carne y pescado. OK, yeah, that one, the pescado thing!
The Cafeteria Kruna, unremarkable from the outside
Cold beer, good food! And, did I mention not expensive?
The beer was icy cold, the food delicious. Every time he passed by the owner told us, in his earnest but imperfect English, about all the fine dishes he had. ¡Fifty! he said (five fingers and a zero with his other thumb and forefinger). We had some bocadillos, little sandwiches made with rolls. Tuna for Paula, calamari for me. I wasn’t hungry when we walked in, but we kept ordering. The owner passed by, serving other customers, but always concerned about how we were doing, and what he could get us next. He was very proud of his food, and justifiably so! 

The owner and his wife. Never did get their names...

Well that was a fun encounter, and totally unexpected. Now that lunch was handled, we continued on our farewell trek through town, returning along the waterfront. The beach was well populated today, it being a warm Sunday. We took it all in, the crazy tile patterns on the walkway; the long sweeping sand beach; the clever spiral ramp bridge that crosses the highway; the tall buildings on the distant shore up the coast. We’re leaving soon, and who knows if we’ll be back…

View of Castillo Santa Barbara from the Alicante harbor, on a late November afternoon.

We had one more visit to a roof-top bar, which serves the best Mojitos. Admittedly, it was better last spring when we could sip our drinks in the warmth of the sun; now it’s almost dark by the time the bar opens. But we’d run into the bartender in town (at another bar…) a few days earlier, and we’d told him we’d be back. (Well, I would have come back regardless: I’d been waiting, all these past months, to have another of his Mojitos.). It was fun to see him again, he appreciated that we took the time to come, and he does make a damn good Mojito (generous with the rum), although the price has gone up another Euro to 6€ (almost $7USD).
World's Best Mojito? I'd vote for it!
Our bartender explains exactly what he's served Paula.

As part of our farewell tour we returned to the archeological museum. Aside from being just up the street from us, it is quite an incredible place (it won some European Museum of the Year award in 2004). It’s not so much about archeological finds, as about how archeology is conducted, with full-scale mock-ups of recent discoveries.

Our entry ticket included two “remote” sites we had not visited before, areas of archeological interest, both just a short tram ride up the coast. One, Lucentum, was a Roman town, considered to be the origins of the city of Alicante. The other, La Illeta, was a much older settlement, dating back perhaps 3000 years, on a tiny peninsula jutting into the sea. One point that particularly interested me was the ponds carved into the shore rock, to catch and hold fish – an early form of fish farming.
La Illetta. Not really a big place.

The fish ponds of La Illetta, still a good fishing spot.
We got a late start – the sites open at 3:30 after siesta – so the sun was low as we explored them. While I’ve seen a goodly number of Roman ruins, these are different in that they are in the middle of a city and surrounded by high rise apartments! It was kinda odd.

Lucentum (or the ruins of it), in the midst of the modern El Campello

Modern art on the ancient site at La Illetta

On our way to the second site we ran into some people we knew. (Nothing makes you feel like a local like running into friends on the street.) Michael and Grace, a couple of Scots we met while playing boules (we discussed the weekly boule game in an earlier blog), live not far from La Illeta. It was a pleasant surprise to see them! We chatted for a while, and we explained that this was our last hurrah and we would be leaving Alicante soon. It was a nice, and unexpected, good-bye.

Once of the treats we indulged in for Paula’s birthday was going to a movie, the first one we’ve seen in a good 18 months. While it’s a 20 minute walk to the town center, 10 minutes in the opposite direction takes us to a large American-style mall. Grocery shopping there is too convenient to pass up, but I find the many chain restaurants (only a couple of which are American), the clothing and jewelry and cell phone stores, the glitter and crowds, disagreeable. But the multiplex there does show foreign films in the “version original” (VO) with Spanish subtitles.
View from our kitchen window. The tram returning from up the coast, and, in the background, the Plaza Mar mall
So for this special occasion we braved the unpleasantness of the mall and headed upstairs to the movies. Not as hectic and noisy as the multiplexes I’ve been to in the US, but… what’s this? An automat for popcorn and drinks? A large empty room lined with little windows. Put your coins in, open the door, and take out your overflowing box of popcorn? No. That just doesn’t work for me! Where’s the machine with the popcorn cascading down into a huge pile, where an eager teenager scoops it into an overflowing box and dribbles a buttery-like substance over it? No. We entered the darkened theater empty-handed, and found our assigned seats. (Yes. Assigned.)

(OK, we saw “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the movie about the rock group Queen. I don’t want to turn this into a movie review, but the concert scenes are something fantastic. We went home and spent the rest of the evening watching Queen concerts on YouTube; the movie actors really nailed it!)

Now, what about Thanksgiving? Of course it’s not celebrated here, but oddly enough they do have Black Friday` in Spain, with signs in shops all over town advertising Black Friday specials. I don’t know what the Spanish think of the name*, but I suppose a sale is a sale. For the day itself we were invited by some American expats we met previously to a traditional dinner, along with some of their American friends. It was a lovely evening, and we greatly appreciated this celebration of a uniquely American holiday. But we did miss our family and friends back home.

* My understanding is it’s an accounting thing: many stores operate in the red (at a loss) until the Christmas season, which now in the US starts on the day after Thanksgiving (hurry! Only a month left to Christmas!) So Black Friday is the day stores get into the black which is to say, make up the deficit they’ve been running all year.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Michael and Robin's 7th=floor apartment.

And the view up the coast, just after sunset on Thanksgiving Thursday.

So do we do all our shopping at the mall? No, not hardly! Like all Spanish (and European) towns, Alicante has a permanent indoor market. We find it best for fresh produce and fresh fish. The mall supermarket has good prices on packaged goods, but for fish… can’t beat the stuff at the market, just off the boat! It’s more fun shopping there, too. Plus, they have this nice bar… Great place to have a coffee or a beer, or a few tapas, before or after a shopping expedition.

Alicante's indoor market building (from the back)

The bar/cafe in the market

Some of the fine tapas available at the bar.

It's all so good, it's hard to chose!

And there's always something weird, especially in the fish department!

So that’s pretty much it for Alicante. We’ve got our new suitcases mostly packed (yes, after some 20 months of travel we’re finally giving up our borrowed – thank you, Delia! – and thrift store luggage for some new, light-weight bags). We’ve got a plan in place for loading the rental car. We’ve said our good-byes, and it’s time to move on.

¡Adios, Alicante!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Back in Alicante!

We’re back in Alicante! (Spain) In fact, we’ve been here for over two weeks. It’s been a time of settling in and just relaxing. We were here a few months ago, in May, so the town and region are familiar: this isn’t a time for exploration and discovery; we’ve been spending a good bit of time at “home.” Our new home, at the top of a 13-floor building with fantastic views. It’s sort of like, we can keep an eye on everything from up here, why go anywhere?

Our departure in May was marked by rain and a fantastic double rainbow; our arrival in November, by a fabulous sunset!
We call it the Bird’s Nest, our apartment on the 13th floor* of a tower near the beach in Alicante. It’s right near the place where we stayed last spring. Only this time, we have a view!

Yeah, 13th floor. Don’t worry about that old superstition, though! That’s counting using the European method, where the ground floor is 0. We use the American system where the ground floor is number 1, so we are really on the 14th floor. It’s the folks below us that have to worry…

We can’t actually see the beach because of the buildings that line it, but we have a fantastic view of the ocean, and the coast for quite a ways up and down. Oh, and the castle. We’re practically at eye level with Castillo de Santa Barbara, on the hill overlooking the city (although we are on the side opposite the city, the eastern side). It’s always quite a sight, lit up at night, golden in the morning sun, or silhouetted by the sunset.

The Grand Panorama
The view we gaze at endlessly. The castle is off to the right.

View from the living room, complete with balcony, table, and chairs
Nighttime view of the castle
Lookin' out the window at the castle.
From our level we can easily see the “homestead” of a squatter, an older man who has set up a nice little camp on the slopes below the castle. It’s well-located, hard to see from the ground. We’ve watched his comings and goings – it’s a tough climb but the old fellow scrambles up the steep slope like a mountain goat. One day recently the police came by, looking up at the hill. We debated yelling down to them “He’s up there!” but decided to stay out of it (the language barrier would make things ever so confusing… besides, we didn’t want our guy thrown out!)
Same view, but note at the center bottom you can just see the plastic shelter...
Eventually we saw the fellow talking to the police, so we decided they were there on a different matter. A few days later there was a spot of rain, followed by some warm sunny days. Our guy was out shirtless, arranging his things to dry. Then he was gone for a while. And just the other day workmen were on the hill, removing his plastic shelter and all his things.

We have no idea what happened, or where he went. Off to a shelter? Victim of an accident? Or was it his time to pass on? We’ll probably never know. But now the hillside sits empty, seemly naked. A local mystery! And the question remains in our minds – what happens to homeless people in Spain?

Always thinking ahead, Paula found this apartment before we left Alicante last May. It was a bit outside our normal budget, but the views from the top of this tower make it worthwhile. As a plus, we were able to leave one of our suitcases here, filled with our wintertime clothes. That made the intervening five months of traveling a bit easier! Plus, when we arrived we had our own Christmas in October as we re-discovered all the stuff we’d left behind.

Our tower as seen from the street.That topmost window on the left is our bedroom.

View from the tram coming home. Our tower on the right; Castello Santa Barbara above.

It’s exciting to be back, to roam the now-familiar streets and revisit places. One of the first things we did was to re-activate our tram cards. These cards are available to anyone over the age of 60, and allow unlimited travel on the tram for 10€ per month (about $12USD). We got them when we were last here, in May, although it took about 10 days to process the application; see my earlier posting about Spanish bureaucracy here.  We immediately began exploring the coast to the north. This time we expect to explore a bit further (although after an hour or so those tram seats get very hard!)

We recently visited the coastal town of Altea, a little over an hour up the coast. The beach area is pleasant and modern; the old town, uphill a ways, has an 18th century church and the usual collection of tourist restaurants and shops. The whitewashed houses and blue trim – and the views of the blue Mediterranean – really gives a Greek feel to the town.

Paula in Altea. There's some interesting geography here...
Close up of the church of the Virgen del Consuelo in Altea
View of the church through the narrow streets of the old town
A private home in Atea (note the Moorish influence in that little planter!)

Some very fine large mosaic ceramic work outside a shop
The Old Town seen from the new town

Looking north over the Altea. Some interesting geography here...

What else? Ah, we attended a jazz concert recently, at a local café, Villa Vieja 6 (which, conveniently enough, is also the address). Jazz and Blues are not always well done here in Europe, but this group really knew what they were doing! The singer was very good, with a beautiful voice. And, turns out we were featured on the café’s Facebook page! Well, ok not featured, but there we are.

Jazz concert in Alicante (no, I didn't take this one...)
And it was Paula’s birthday! It was a major one, 70. Now we’re both the same age! We kept to our low-key schedule, but we did splurge a bit. We had a spa day! Paula found a place in the hills just above Benidorm run by two delightful British women. We were met at the tram stop and were driven the few minutes into the hills (where the lovely views did NOT include the skyscrapers of Benidorm!) It was a bit chilly to sit by the pool, but we enjoyed the sun room and snacks before our massages.

Thanksgiving is almost here. We'll be joining some American expats living here in Alicante to celebrate the day (and turkey IS available here!). We're looking forward to that. And very soon after we will be moving on, driving from here to Seville, one of our favorite cities. But we'll talk about all that in the next blog.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Life in Split (Part 2/2) REVISED

We continue our explorations both north and south on the Dalmatian Coast

Oh dear, it seems something went wrong. Half the blog didn't get published! I blame Blogger (but they may be of a different opinion). Please read the section on Dubrovnik below...

Up the coast from Trogir is a larger town, Zadar. Since the bus takes almost four hours to get to Zadar from our base in Split we made this an overnight trip. Paula found us a nice Airbnb on the edge of the old town, and we just took our backpacks (leaving the laptops and heavy suitcase back in Split).

Gate into Zadar, built by the Venetians.

And nothing says "Venetian" like the lion of St. Mark, symbol of Venice! (Detail from the gate.)

Like every town along this coast Zadar has a long and complicated history. It’s been continuously inhabited since at least the 9th Century BCE. It was a major Roman settlement in the First and Second Centuries CE. Sacked by the Venetians in 1202, and passed around to various kingdoms, Venice bought it back in the early 1400s. It was ruled by the French, briefly, during the Napoleonic era, and then became part of Italy, with disastrous consequences in World War II. Seen as a hot-bed for German activity, Zadar was bombed, heavily, by the Allies (it became known as the “Dresden of the Adriatic”), destroying the waterfront and 80 % of the city itself.

According to information placards in the town, throughout the 1960’s all of Zadar was a construction site as the wreckage from the war was cleared out. Interestingly, this led to important discoveries as construction crews found remains of ancient Roman buildings below the rubble. The results of this “rescue archeology” can be found in the small but impressive archeology museum in town, and in the open-air museum called the Forum, where bits and pieces of Roman buildings are arrayed where they were found.

The Forum, with various chunks of Roman ruins. St. Donatus church in the background.

Same scene, at night (and note the flea market stalls in the foreground!)
Paula and the interior of St. Donatus; we're told concerts are held in here!
Many of the Roman finds are now in the excellent archeology museum located across from the Forum. We're not such great museum goers, but we found this one to be very well done, with some extraordinary artifacts from Zadar and the surrounding region. Also a few life-sized statues of emperors, and one of Jupiter (the Roman god, not the planet). 

Glass bottles from Roman tombs, dated from the 2nd Century.

It's hard to tell their size, but these babies hold about a half-gallon (two liters?), also from the 2nd C. Extraordinary!
Intricate ceremonial scissors, also from a 2nd C. tomb, with some clay lamps.

From a 6th-Century church. Looks Celtic to me...

Two more recent attractions in Zadar are the Sea Organ and the Monument to the Sun.  I can’t say much about the latter, as it was under repair while we were in Zadar. (I’m getting used to seeing old buildings and monuments under repair, covered with scaffolding: Big Ben in London, under refurbishment for the next few years; Hagia Sophia, the magnificent mosque in Istanbul, its vast interior now obscured by construction; Rumi’s tomb in Konya, Turkey, also under repair. But hey, the Monument to the Sun was installed in 2008! But it, too, was under repair…)

Monument to the Sun, large circular solar panel installation with flashy lights at night (or so I'm told...)
I found the Sea Organ, built into the new waterfront, fascinating. Five independent sets of harmonically-tuned pipes emit tones as the ocean surges against the sea wall. Relatively quiet in the calm of the morning, much more active in the evening breeze, it’s an ongoing reminder of the constant motion of the sea.

The sea wall, with vents for the Sea Organ (left foreground). Ugljan Island in the background.
And, the sunset. Alfred Hitchcock apparently passed through here in 1964 and commented on the fine sunset. Since Hitchcock is such a noted authority on sunsets (snark), sunset watching is now considered a must-do activity in Zadar. Admittedly, there is a nice view from the waterfront across the Zadar Channel to the island of Ugljan, and we did have an entirely satisfactory sunset experience. Paula calls it our “Shirley Valentine” moment…. 

An entirely satisfying sunset experience!
Here starts the part you didn't see...

Ah, and the boatman! Old-town Zadar is on a peninsula separated from the mainland by the harbor. It’s about a half-hour walk around to the mainland; a newly-constructed pedestrian bridge cuts that in half. But the boatman makes the trip across the harbor mouth in a few minutes. Today, even with the bridge, the boatman is still there (or his son, or grandson, or great-grandson…), still carrying passengers. After a visit to a great wine store in the new town we were half way to the bridge when Paula said, no, wait! We headed back, past the fishing boats and the mega-yachts, to the boatman’s dock.

Five minutes later (at a cost of 6 Kuna – $1USD – each) we were climbing out on the other side. (I took the boatman’s proffered forearm for support: it had the stability and solidly of the stone quay!) A refreshing bit of the old world.

The boatman, working his way back across the harbour mouth.

Oh, and Paula helped. Always wanting to be part of the action, half-way across Paula asked if she could have a turn with the oars. The genial boatman turned them over to her. We managed to reach the quay anyway…
The boatman gets a few moments rest as Paula takes over.

Two years ago on our first trip to Croatia we spent five weeks in Dubrovnik, and came up to Split to spend a couple of days. It seemed only right that on this trip, when we’re staying in Split for a month, that we should spend a couple of days in Dubrovnik. Which we did! Paula was even able to book the same apartment where we stayed last time. We spent a couple of evenings on the terrace staring out to sea,  watching the sky darken and the lights come on in the city, as we did nearly every night during our stay two years ago. We also had a chance to meet our previous landlord, which was a nice re-connection.

VIew from the bus window along the way to Dubrovnik
The town of Drasnice, far below the road to Dubrovnik

We ticked all the boxes in Dubrovnik. We walked the 20 minutes to the old city; marveled at the ancient walls (one of the very few cities with its mediaeval walls still intact); complained about all the tourists; lamented the many cruise ships that stop here. (And learned that the new mayor will be limiting the number of those ships, to preserve the experience of the city.) Walked through the now-familiar streets, visited some of our favorite spots, including the bar clinging to the outside of the walls, high above the sea.

The rugged coast, seen along our walk to the Old Town.
The Pile Gate, main entrance to the Old Town (and one of only two land entrances to the city).
One of the city's main streets, complete with tourists.
The Lion Fountain in the Old Town.

The formidable walls of Dubrovnik, seen from the outside bar
The next day we headed off in the opposite direction, to the area called Lapad. A deep bay is enclosed by fingers of forested hills, with gentile wind waves lapping on a narrow, gravel beach. (Which is standard along this coast: beaches tend to be vanishingly narrow and very rocky!) Along one shore a pedestrian path winds through the trees at the base of the hill, overlooking the blue, blue waters along the rocky shore. Across those blue, blue waters is Lapad, a protected hillside covered in trees. All in all it’s an area of natural beauty and quiet elegance, a nice balance to the hectic stone old town at the other end of Dubrovnik.

View back along the coast towards the beach.

Like most beaches along this coast, it's small and rocky. But the water is great!
A short way down this path is the Cave Bar, our favorite bar and what we’re sure must be the best bar on the Dalmatian Coast. It is built into a cave in the hillside, complete with sparkly crystals in the walls and a deep blue pool. But we prefer the outside, where tables and relaxing chairs are set in niches in the rocks with ladders ready to help swimmers out of the sea below. We wanted to swim off the Cave bar last year but just didn't get around to it before it closed. So this visit it was high on our to-do list. We swam, sipped our drinks and studied the blue water and the green trees, watching the occasional tourist boat pass. It’s timeless…

Inside the Cave Bar... but who wants to be inside on a day like this?
Paula in the shade at the cave bar.

The next day we were on the high-speed ferry at 4PM, headed back up the coast to Split. It's funny, both the bus, which we took on the way down, and the ferry take the same four hours to make the trip. Each has exquisite views of the coast: one from the land, the other from the sea. I’m glad we tried both. It was a good excursion!

Our ride back: a fast dual-hull ferry.

One of the ferry stops on the way back to Split. The town of Pomena, on the island of Mljet.

This will be our last bog from Croatia! By the time you read this we will have moved on to our winter quarters in Spain: Alicante, on the Med coast, for the month of November, and in Seville for Christmas and New Years.

Full moon rising over the Split harbor. A parting gift on our almost-last day there!

Perhaps on our next blog we'll compare beaches in Alicante with beaches in Dalmatia...