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C James

Trip report

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Hi! I figured I'd post this here, and let y'all know about my trip. Short version; it was exhausting, but I had a blast!

 

OK, to recap, back in mid-October I flew out, heading for Rome. I landed a few hours late due to a delay on a connecting flight (remind me not to have a flight with three changes again, ugh). I spent two days in Rome itself (including a re-visit to the sites mentioned in LTMP, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Piaza Navona, plus of course the other attractions in Rome). After that, I drove north to Tuscany and spent a few days poking around the countryside by car. I LOVE Tuscany, and the walled hill towns are my favorites (especially the ones not favored by tourists).

 

Then it was off to Civitavecchia, a port near Rome, to catch the ship for a cruise to the Greek Islands. Spent a week seeing a few places, such as Santorini and Rhodes, then from Rhodes I went to Turkey. Had a great time, though driving in Turkey was, well, overly interesting. LoL.

 

The final port on the way to Venice (where the cruise ended) was Dubrovnik, Croatia. It's a walled city on the coast, very spectacular. It was wealthy in it's time, and it shows; the main streets, for example, are paved entirely with marble.

 

As I often do, I rented a car there. Actually, a van, as I was traveling with a large cadre of relatives. I'm generally the only one in the family who is experienced/crazy enough to drive anywhere. (I drove in Rome if anyone doubts the "crazy" part)

 

Dubrovnik sits near the southern end of a long, narrow and mountainous strip of Croatian territory. Got about eight miles inland, and you're in Bosnia, which still has UN and US peacekeepers, etc, for a reason. I've been to Croatia before (also on vacation, though there was still quite a bit of combat in the area at the time due to the civil war (this was in the early 90's) so it was fun to be back, and also to see it when there wasn't a war on.

 

In any case, we drove south from Durivnik after spending a few hours there, because my Aunt wanted to see a monastery she'd read about. She couldn't remember the name, nor how to get there. But she's stubborn, so I let her give directions (I was having fun seeing the countryside anyway). Long story short, she ended up putting us on a dirt road that snaked its way up into the mountains. She was adamant that were on the right road, so I shrugged, and pushed on through a pass. A few miles later, we hit pavement again, and stopped at a farm for directions. Well, non of us speak Croat, which is probably for the best, becuase the farmer spoke English and informed us that we were in Bosnia. We went back the way we'd come (due to having entered illegally, I was a little nervous).

Basically, it appears that only the main road crossings have checkpoints, but they might take unkindly to a bunch of tourists entering the country via a backroad.

 

So, spent the rest of the day sticking to the main coast road, enjoying the spectacular costal scenery. It was a fun day.

 

My laptop battery died on the flight from the US, and wouldn't hold more than a 15 minute charge, so that ruled out getting online from starbucks, etc, due to needing to plug in. I carry international plug adapters but finding somewhere to plug in isn't easy. I was totally offline until I found an internet cafe in Kusidasi, Turkey, in a pretty rough looking bazaar. I was too chicken to try logging into GA (the screen was visable, and the "Gay Authors" name coming up made me nervous) so I only checked my e-mail and sent a few.

 

I'll continue with this later, but that's it so far.

 

B) ......I take it you never found that Monastery!

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Hey, it really seems like you had a blast. that's great! And, ya, if it's the same as it was a few years ago,, I really wouldn't have tried to drive in rome,, that's way to crazy

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B) ......I take it you never found that Monastery!

It sounds that way, though he certainly achieved a level of enlightenment as part of the journey to find it.

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ROFL!

 

Nope, never found the Monastery. But, I did see some parts of Croatia (and a bit of Bosnia) that was literally off the beaten track.

 

That';s what I like about renting cars overseas; seeing places that aren't "touristy". Rome was hectic, but as always there the main problem was finding parking. I ended up parking at the baths of Caracala (ruins of ancient baths that stretched over about 30 acres, well worth seeing!) , where there was plenty.

 

In many of the hill towns, etc, you park outside and walk in. :)

 

I've traveled by train and other public means before, but I keep coming back to driving; you see so much more, and actually save money (especially if not traveling alone): The hotels, etc, that are in the city centers (where you'll usually be stuck becuase that's where the train station is) charge a premium for being near public transport. Same goes for resturants in many places. So, with a car, you can get away from the cities and it doesn't actually cost any more in the long run, and it is a heck of a lot more fun.

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I landed a few hours late due to a delay on a connecting flight (remind me not to have a flight with three changes again, ugh).

Never change planes at Charles DeGaulle airport. I've been through there four times and had a pleasant experience only once. Our last trip through CDG resulted in arriving in Florence, Italy 22 hours late.

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In many of the hill towns, etc, you park outside and walk in. :)

CJ, I enjoyed your description of your trip.

 

Lest any readers misunderstand, CJ isn't talking about parking at the door of a restaurant in an Tuscan hill town and walking inside. You have to park outside the town and walk in. Autos aren't allowed in many towns except perhaps for deliveries made in a little three-wheeled Ape (pronounced Ah-pay).

 

product-5160318.jpg

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I think it would be true in any country. Go off the beaten path and really see what an areas like.

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Wow! That does sound like fun! Thanks for filling us in, CJ! :D

 

 

I've traveled by train and other public means before, but I keep coming back to driving; you see so much more, and actually save money (especially if not traveling alone): The hotels, etc, that are in the city centers (where you'll usually be stuck becuase that's where the train station is) charge a premium for being near public transport. Same goes for resturants in many places. So, with a car, you can get away from the cities and it doesn't actually cost any more in the long run, and it is a heck of a lot more fun.

I shall remember this!

 

And wow! Streets of marble! That does sound like a sight worth seeing! I'm guessing this is one of the places where people aren't allowed to drive?

 

*Runs off to write about his own trip to New Delhi* :)

LOL you sure do run slowly, Beasty! :P

 

 

I can't wait to hear more about the trip, CJ! Sounds like it was definitely a blast :D

 

-Kevin

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Never change planes at Charles DeGaulle airport. I've been through there four times and had a pleasant experience only once. Our last trip through CDG resulted in arriving in Florence, Italy 22 hours late.

 

I had trouble on past trips at Amsterdam's airport; very crowded, lines for everything, and slow.

Madrid International wasn't crowded, but they sure as heck are slow. HAd to go through passport control just to change planes, and there was a line that took over an hour. That much I could understand, but the passport officers were just glancing at the passports and were so slow becuase they were busy chatting with one another. :angry:

 

My favorite airport on this trip has to be Dallas; everything was smooth and efficient, and its a beautiful airport too. Gatwick (London's other international airport) is more of a pain than ever; THREE hours check-in time. Ugh, and crowded too. Rome (Fumencio/Da Vinci) was actually pretty good.

 

CJ, I enjoyed your description of your trip.

 

Lest any readers misunderstand, CJ isn't talking about parking at the door of a restaurant in an Tuscan hill town and walking inside. You have to park outside the town and walk in. Autos aren't allowed in many towns except perhaps for deliveries made in a little three-wheeled Ape (pronounced Ah-pay).

 

product-5160318.jpg

 

Yep, though many do allow auto traffic in some areas, parking is nearly impossible, so parking outside the gates is easier.

 

And wow! Streets of marble! That does sound like a sight worth seeing! I'm guessing this is one of the places where people aren't allowed to drive?

 

Yep, no auto traffic allowed in Dubrovnik at all, from what I could see. I'll post a pic of the marble streets soon; it was really amazing to me. :)

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Again I find myself envious of your travels goat!

 

I would love to see Tuscany someday, and Im glad you got the chance too. All this world traveling and I only ended up in San Francisco.

 

Not much happened there, Met a slew of GAites, plotted the downfall of a certain caprian faction... you know just another day ;)

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LOL you sure do run slowly, Beasty! :P

 

-Kevin

 

I guess I found you on that wrong turn!!! :P

 

Edit:

I found the right turn...Updated!!

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Just a little update (I'll post about the remainder of the trip later) but my cousin (who was with us) is of the opinion that we didn't actually end up in Bosnia. He said he's found where he thinks we were in Google Earth, and it looks to be over a mile from the border. He thinks that the farmer meant that the farmer considers the lant to be bosnian (quite likly due to their being many rural Bosnian serbs in that area)

 

So, until I get to take a look myself, all I can say is we either were, or weren't, in Bosnia.

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