Sunday, June 27, 2010


If anyone is actually reading this, I apologize for a lack of updates. Venice and Milan have not been good to me in terms of wireless internet. Right now I am in the lobby of our hotel in Milan using their computer for a monetary charge per hour. Blah! Luckily, when I get back to the states I will have plenty of time to catch up on pictures and posts AND recover from jetlag...yay for summer vacation!

I will be back in the US on June 29 but spending that night in New York. I will be back in Louisiana very late on June 30. I miss my kitties!

That is all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Old Town, Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a coastal city in Croatia with a rich history. The "Old Town" of the city is surrounded by stone walls, originally built in the 7th century (with later additions) for defensive purposes. Though many of the city's historic buildings were damaged or destroyed by earthquakes or fires over the years, some remain, and the city is breathtakingly beautiful. We were lucky enough to be able to go on a guided tour of the Old Town, including a climb up to and a walk along the enormous city walls, and later enjoyed exploring the streets on our own.

These are just a few pictures.

Outside of the city walls

The image of St. Blaise, Dubrovnik's patron saint, adorns many churches and the gates outside of the city. He is always depicted holding a model of the city in his hand.

Church of our Saviour, built 1520

Onofrio's Fountain, built in 1438 as part of the system to bring water into the city

The water still runs today and is fresh and cool for drinking...just fill your bottle up under a lovely faucet such as this!

You can still see some of the damage left behind after the Croatian War for Independence (1991-1995)

During the war, most of the city's roofs were destroyed. Here you can see the contrast of the older, aging tiled roof in the back compared to the newer orange tiled roof in the foreground.

Part of the city walls from above

View of the coast from atop the city walls

Orange roofs everywhere!

Pretty lady...oh wait, that's just me.

Croatia, Day 1

I'm way behind on this thing. After walking around and exploring all day, mustering up the energy to upload pictures and post about them can be hard. Today is my fourth day in Italy and I still haven't been able to post about my time in Croatia. I will attempt to remedy that now. It was a fun week and culminated in a beautiful wedding on June 19. Mary's friend Kristin got married, her wedding was the entire reason for the trip (I just tagged along), but of course we decided that we should see more than one country if we were over the Atlantic (England and Italy, too).

But now, back to Croatia...

Upon our arrival at the airport, we were supposed to be greeted by a driver, who had been prearranged, and would be bringing us to our villas about 40 minutes away for a set price. We get off the plane, grab our luggage, and head down to the line of drivers and guides holding signs with people's names on them. Ours? Nowhere to be found! We waited for at least 45 minutes, but then decided to take our own taxi, as it was getting late. This was when our first true "foreign" experience occurred on our trip due to language barriers. After miming and pointing and sharing addresses, we took off on our journey from the airport to Villa Babilon in Zaton Mali. Once we arrived, we did a little more miming to get into our room, then headed downstairs to the restaurant at the hotel and enjoyed a delicious meal and local wine for a very reasonable price.

About 36 people or so were gathering in Croatia for Kristin's wedding, so we had a nice little group to hang out with for the week. Kristin arranged for several activities that guests could participate in, such as sea kayaking, cook-outs, island cruises, dinners, etc.

Waking up to this view is a nice way to start the morning

We met the group around 10 to go kayaking in Zaton Bay, which is gorgeous

Kayaking with Mary (picture also taken by her)

Another one of Mary's pictures, more kayaking (that's a funny word, by the way...kayaking...)

After paddling until our arms were sore, we were rewarded by arriving at a private beach for swimming and relaxation. The water was beautiful, clear, and cool, but you had to beware of sea urchins!

Another cool thing about the water was its high salt made Kristi and me super buoyant!

After kayaking back from the beach, we cleaned up and met for lunch. Because we were dining as such a large group, there was a set menu. Meat and potatoes, anyone?

The food was good, but I fed this kitty a good portion of it as well

For dinner we were supposed to have grilled fish, but the order for the fresh fish wasn't put in on time. Instead everyone went to the market down the street and picked up a little something. In the end we were able to cook this fine feast with the help of the owner of the villa and one of the wedding guests, who happens to be a culinary whiz.

At the end of the night, we were tired but content.

Next up: Old Town!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


No time for a lengthy post, but I wanted to share a few pictures of Croatia so y'all can see how beautiful it is!

Delicious squid ink pasta from Hotel Babilon.

One view from our villa

One view of Zaton Bay

Kayaks on the beach (yes, I went sea kayaking!)

Views from the pebbly beach and of the pretty water

So, as you can see, it's pretty amazing. I'll share more later, but I don't want to be antisocial!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lazy London Sunday

I'd like to finish off my London bit since I'm attempting to update this chronologically, if not timely.

Our last full day in London was a Sunday. Yann checked the weather and said it would be sunny in the morning, but rainy in the afternoon, so we planned our schedule with that in mind. We did the London Eye in the morning, a traditional Sunday roast for lunch, and saved the British Museum for the afternoon.

The London Eye is like a giant Ferris wheel that towers over the river Thames and much of historic London

But instead of a traditional Ferris wheel, where you ride in an open seat, you stand in a giant clear pod with 20 or so other people

On a lovely, clear day, you get some pretty spectacular views

Such as Parliament and Big Ben

Buckingham Palace

Big Ben in the foreground, Westminster Abbey behind

Afterward, we went to lunch for a traditional English "Sunday roast", which is a meal of roast meat and gravy (I had chicken!) with all the typical trimmings - mini Yorkshire puddings, roast veggies, and peas.

We spent a few hours that afternoon in the British Museum, which is massive, impressive, and full of magnificent pieces of history from the times of hunter-gatherers to ancient Chinese dynasties, from Egyptian mummies to tribal African statues, and much beyond and in between. Unfortunately, my camera died...I only got a few shots with my own! I'll steal some from Mary later :)

The largest covered square in Europe is in the museum's grand hall

Statue from Easter Island

And of course, the Rosetta Stone! Live and in the flesh!

I can't deny that I'm a history nerd.

London was fun and I definitely plan on going back one day. I would love to explore more of the English countryside and other parts of the United Kingdom.

Upcoming posts will be about Croatia and eventually Italy!

As for Real Time Travel, I am currently in Rome and will be leaving in the morning for Florence via train.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup and mushy peas

We happened to be in England at the same time as the USA v England World Cup match. The day before, in Brighton, we were told by a couple of local boys NOT to watch the game in Brighton, as speaking with our Yank accents might not make us the most popular. London, being a much more international city, was a safer bet, and our delightful friend Yann picked out a place for us to watch the game where he knew we'd be comfortable.

He picked the Camel and Artichoke

Englanders take their football seriously

We disguised ourselves as England fans by wearing red and other neutral colors. At one point I wore an English flag as a cape! We quietly cheered for the US as we tied England in the game.

This is a shot of an unhappy fan after the US scored their first goal. He literally drew out a sword. He was nice though, later on he let me wear his crazy hat!

After the game, the locals were fairly calm because in the end, a tie is not a loss. We certainly were pleased. We celebrated by dining on fish and chips along with mushy peas! I loved the chips and peas, and the fish wasn't bad, I think I just prefer fried catfish because I'm a good Southern girl.

The next day was our last full day in London and I will post about that later before filling you in on Croatia!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Camden and Soho

Yesterday we traveled in a traditional double-decker bus to the Camden Town and Soho areas of London, known for their shops and entertainment. The shops in Camden Market are both indoor and open-air and they sell anything you can imagine - clothes, jewelry, cloth, furniture, musical instruments, junk, etc.

Camden Market

A few of the wares being peddled at the market

While we were out, we stopped and looked up at the sky and caught sight of part of the flyover being done in honor of the Queen's "official" birthday.

The traditional English double-decker bus

The requisite tourist's shot - posing with the telephone booths!

We ended the day in a pub, watching the England-USA World Cup match, and finished the night off with a meal of fish, chips, and mushy peas!