JenSop: The Singing Travel Pro!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Croatia! And Jen, the nerdy researcher…

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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.)  :

Croatia-Map

Croatia-Map

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/

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And this year, I've started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm engaged to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

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