As we all officially embark into the summer season, my excitement continues to grow over my two upcoming trips! (You all already know that – hahaha!) But I thought I’d go a little more in depth about my 2nd summer destination – Croatia! I thought I’d share a little information of where I’ll be going on my trip, because when it comes down to it, I love to do research! My inner nerd just revels in it! And nothing adds to the excitement of an upcoming trip (and makes it feel closer) than planning and research.
Now, I’ll admit, when I first met Miloš last summer, I didn’t know where Croatia was. I had to go and Google it when I got home. I honestly didn’t know! So, for those who might also be slightly ignorant to that part of European geography, Croatia is along the coast of the Adriatic Sea – just across the water from Italy. Here’s a hand dandy little map showing the country in relation to its neighbors. (The capital city is Zagreb.) :
I LOVE maps – there’s something about them that makes me just want to stare at them and get lost in them for loooong periods of time. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you’ll recognize the city name of Rijeka on the map. That’s where I took the train into when I went to visit Miloš back in March – his hometown is just a little south of there. And for our summer trip, we will be headed down to Zadar, a few hours down the coastline. I’ll be flying into Zagreb and taking a bus to Crikvenica (Miloš’ town), then we’ll head down to Zadar together.
As an American, I am always blown away by the sheer ancient nature of the history of European countries. Our country is SO young compared to them! So here’s a little brief history… The district of present day Zadar has been populated since prehistoric times. Zadar was a Liburnian settlement, laid out in the 9th century BC, and its people were known as great sailors and merchants. The people of Zadar were first mentioned in 384 BC as the allies of the natives of Hvar and the leaders of an eastern Adriatic coast coalition in fighting against Greek colonizers of the area. But like so many other places in Europe, it was the Romans that eventually came in to power here, and Zadar became a Roman colony. In the 400’s, this region of Croatia was ravaged by the Huns, and in the 5th and 6th centuries, Zadar began to feel the effects of age, and many buildings started to turn into ruins. This deterioration was helped along by an earthquake in the 6th century, which did further damage to the city. I am just fascinated by the sheer number of times this area has been conquered and re-conquered by different ruling groups throughout history. It was controlled by the Goths, was part of the Byzantine Empire, was repeatedly invaded by Venice in the Middle Ages, captured by the Ottomans, was under the control of the Austrian Empire, and went through all kinds of struggles and wars in the last century.
Due to its ancient history, this city has a wealth of architectural structures to explore, including the remains of a Roman forum (the largest on the eastern side of the Adriatic) from the time of the Roman Emperor, Augustus. It also has a great many historical churches, the most famous being the church of St. Donatus from the 9th century, and it is home to the largest cathedral in Dalmatia – St. Anastasia’s. Of course, I’ll be wanting to visit these landmarks (among others), and as I said in my last post, I’m excited to see some of Zadar’s more modern attractions; like the Sea Organ (pipes built into the coast that play pitches as the waves flow through them), and The Greeting to the Sun (300 multi layered glass plates built into the stone paved waterfront to create an amazing light show in conjunction with the sounds of the sea organ.)
The area is also known for a special cherry liqueur – Maraschino – which dates back to the 16th century. I definitely want to try it! (Shocking, I know! 😉 Haha!)
And since we’ll be there for 10 days, perhaps we’ll even get to explore some of the national parks in the area!
Overall, our plan is for fun, adventure, good food, relaxation, and just an awesome time being together. We are eagerly counting down the days, as it won’t be much longer now!
🙂 🙂 🙂
I’ll keep you all updated during the trip (especially for those of you who are able to follow along on Facebook!)
****If you are interested in learning more about Zadar, here is a great website: http://www.tzzadar.hr/