Thursday, January 23, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia

After the trip, I stayed in Palace Hotel Zagreb for 5 nights in order to explore the city.  The hotel was nice and friendly. It was within walking distance to the Old Town and Upper Town, where most of the museums are located.
The hotel lobby:
A park right outside the Hotel, where I bought some roasted chestnut from an old man by the park side.
Some scenes of the lower town:
The State Archive:
The outside and inside of the Mimara Museum:

At Upper Town, one can see the beautiful St Mark's Cathedral with its colored tiled roof:

The code of arms represent, on the left: Croatia, Dalmatia, Kuna, and on the right,Zagreb.

A Kuna is a little animal, also the current currency of Croatia.  1 US$ equals 5.4 Kuna.  I found a stuffed Kuna in the Natural and History Museum:
The museums in Zagreb were very nice, the food in Zagreb was delicious.  However, my feeling is that the Happiness Index of people in Zagreb was not very high.  They were subdued and quietly go about with their life.  With an unemployment rate near 21%, the young people do not seem spirited.  Tourism is their number one industry, that made them too dependent on foreigners.

On January 12, I arrived Baltimore. The Bay Bridge looked beautiful under the sun set.  Oh, home, sweet home!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Painting of Madonna and baby Jesus

When I was in Zagreb, I visited many museums.  Some of the paintings gave me great pleasure just by watching at them.  Some paintings made me laugh. 

The painting I liked the most is one of Reno's in the Mimara Museum.  The artist was able to see and capture so much beauty and joy (in a woman) on the canvas.

There has been so many paintings of Madonna and baby Jesus over the centuries.  It is amazing that human beings have so much imagination and fascination about the relationship between this particular pair of mother and baby.  I guess it reflected that human beings must struggled centuries after centuries the nature of God and Human in Jesus.  My favorite one is the one shown more as an impressionist's perception.

  The remaining ones made me laugh as they made Mary look very unhappy and baby Jesus looked rather naughty or something.....

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Overland to Zagreb, with a stop over at Opatija

After Mostar, we parted with the ship crew, and boarded on a bus to ride back to Zagreb.  It was a long ride.  While we passed some nice landscape with thick forest, it was a misty day for any nice photo shots.  When we made a stop for lunch, I was able to take two pictures of the Krka River:

 Opatija is a resort town, with a wonderful view of the beautiful Adriatic Sea.  The good thing is that the city built a path along the coast which allows pedestrians walk along the water front without any interruption by hotels, or shops.  I took a two hours walk in the morning before the bus head toward our final destination - Zagreb.  My heart was refreshed.

Moster - Bosnia & Herzegovina

Early in the morning, we arrived Neum.  Our ship had to anchor in the middle of the water.  We took a smaller boat to the shore and started our bus journey to Moster.
The sun rise:
 A little island belongs to Croatia, but close to the Herzegovina region, which still presented conflict between the two nations:
 House along the Neretva River.  It is a beautiful river.  But our guide told us that the river was stained by blood during the Bosnia war, as so many people died without proper burial.
 One can see a fortress perhaps left from the Ottoman era on the hill.
 We knew that we were close to Mostar when we see more of the Muslim structures.
 On a street of Mostar, there was a sign pointed toward a Bazar, and all the activities forbidden in the Bazar.
 The inside of a mosque by the Bazar

 The pebble covered street leading to the Bridge
 The famous Bridge, a UNESCO Heritage Site, which divides the town into Muslim and Croat sections.  the Bridge was designed by the Ottoman architect Mimar Hayruddin the the 16th century. The original structure was destroyed by a bomb during the Bosnia conflict in 1993.  UNESCO helped fund its rebuilding as a symbol of unity.
The above is a view from the top of the Bridge. I was able to go down by the river and had a picture of the Bridge from below.
On the Muslim side, a stone marked "Don't forget '93"
 A building damaged during the Bosnia War, and was left as is so that people won't forget. Below is a Muslim cemetery. One can not help feeling sad with a heavy heart after visiting Mostar.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Korcula, Croatia

Korcula ia another island that had been ruled by Venice for centuries.  It was also rumored that Marco Polo was born here on the island.  St Marks Cathedral on the main square was unique due to its detailed Romanesque portal by Bonino of Milano depicting Adam and Eve on either side of St Mark perched at the top.

 The above house on the left was said to be the birth place of Marco Polo.
 City Wall: