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I have just returned from a trip to Croatia. What a perfectly well planned trip! If you are going to Croatia with a group of friends or alone, Value World is the company to call. I’m a travel agent taking groups of 30 – 40 persons on small river cruises and Value World is the easiest, most accommodating, friendly, honest company I have worked with and I’ve been doing this for 25 years. If I add a day in the middle of the tour and they have to change everything from that day onward, they do it with a smile AND recommendations.
Their tours include a combination of land and water with very knowledgeable guides. Value World has small river boats that can stop many places the large boats can’t. On our Myanmar trip there were no docks and our boat could pull up to shore and make our own landing. On our recent Croatia cruise/tour we had the whole yacht with 36 people and the crew and cooks were outstanding. The weather was still wonderful in September and we’d just drop anchor and swim. You can’t do this on most tours. We had happy, happy people!!!
I have found Value World to be lower in price and higher in value. This is a great family/friend run business. Give yourself a Christmas or birthday present and call Value World.”
Received : 12/19/2014
Last year we decided to do back to back trips to the Adriatic and the Ukraine. Corinna Vargas of Value World Tours (Corinna@valuecruises.net) lined it up and gave us good prices. The plan was disrupted later by the expected arrival of a grandson. So we booked only the Adriatic portion through Denise Fritz at Pavlus (Denise@pavlustravel.com) to get a bit of an additional discount. The trip entailed a week long bus trip in Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro, then an Adriatic Island Cruise aboard the Adriatic Pearl. After paying the booking fee, Zelda’s oldest sister and husband decided to go along. Then Zelda’s other two sisters and husbands decided to go. Corinna lined up air for six from Washington Dulles on SAS and for two from Houston on British Air. Two of Zelda’s sister joined us in Virginia and we left from Washington Dulles. Several weeks before departure we got detailed trip instructions and air tickets by e-mail.
Read More...We departed in the late afternoon of September 28th and changed to Croatia Air in Copenhagen and continued on to Zagreb.. Service was good on both flights. After an early afternoon arrival we were met by a Kompas Tour agent (Value World’s Eastern Europe partner) and taken to the Westin Hotel. We were told to meet at 7:00 pm and then there would be a buffet dinner. Zelda’s sister and husband from Texas arrived later that night.
Zagreb is a beautiful tourist friendly city. We walked to many of the parks and museums during the afternoon. Upon arriving back at the hotel we found that there were 53 in the group total; 33 going for and additional week by bus ending in Venice and 20 doing the first week ending in Dubrovnik. 14 of the 20 were going on the following boat trip with us. We were assigned a smaller bus, quite nice, but the leather seats were not especially comfortable. Our tour director, Jasminia, was young, attractive and very knowledgeable. There was an ATM in the Hotel (also a Casino) and we were able to obtain Kuna to use during the Croatian portion of our trip. We were told we would need Bosnian Marcs and Euros for the bus trip and ATMs (Bank-o-mats) were the best source. The ATMs worked well and the bill was waiting when we got home. We were also told that bottled water was not required for the trip. If we needed some we could buy it from the driver for a nominal fee. His water cooler also served as a beer cooler for one of the brothers-in-law.
After a wonderful buffet breakfast and an introduction to our local guide we were off. We were told briefly about war damage in Zagreb and then to a very large cemetery with Christian, Muslim and Jewish graves. Many of the tombstones were wonderful works of art and some had historical significance. Then we proceeded to the Upper Town and saw Saint Mark’s Church, Saint Parliament and the Government Palace ending at the Cathedral. We were given time to shop, explore and have lunch. Later in the afternoon we went on a walking tour from the Hotel and then a bus to a Cultural Heritage Park to visit the birthplace of Marshall Tito. The Park was a collection of 40 some restored farm houses and buildings from the late 19th century. Then up winding roads to “The Hill of Sin” (historical Romeo and Juliet tale) and had a traditional Croatian dinner with views of a 15th Century Castle.
After an early start we crossed into Bosnia. We were detained at the border as the Bosnians had trouble running all our passports through their computers. After crossing the border war damage became much more obvious. Many people had just abandoned their property, and, of course, it was not repaired. Our Tour Director was well versed on history and the details of the war and described the activities and effects as we drove. In fact, the entire week was a very good educational experience describing the history of the area and recent war in the Balkans, a semesters worth crammed into a week. As a former Dean, I believe this trip could be offered for college credit. The narrative along the way made the bus ride seem much shorter. Twice all traffic was stopped for land mine removal and we even passed some working oil wells. At noon we stopped at local truck stop and tasted some specialties of the region before continuing to Sarajevo.
The terrain became quite mountainous as we neared Sarajevo. We had a great view of the city from the ridge as we began our decent Sarajevo is in a valley, almost a bowl, and was under siege by the Orthodox Christian Serbians for 1425 days of continuous shelling , cutting off the electrical and water supply and shooting down from the hills. Serbia and Montenegro had retained most of the weapons and ammunition of the former Yugoslavia. The Serbs managed to occupy several tall building in one area and the area they covered was called “Sniper Alley”. The Serbs killed over 11,000 Sarajevo residents, Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Muslims, including women and children. They shot people desperate for food and water and even shot holes in the tanks and containers that were the only remaining water supply. We passed the Nation Broadcasting Building from which continuous broadcast originated from the basement in spite of the Serbian efforts to silence it. As we were coming into town we noticed political posters just everywhere. They were having an election for the city council and there were 134 candidates.
We stayed at the big Yellow Holiday Inn that was the home of Journalists during the siege. It has not been upgraded much since. We toured by bus in the late afternoon passing many damaged building not yet repaired and then the bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated – the incident that started WWI-before being dropped off for an evening stroll through the Turkish Market. We returned to the Hotel for a very nice sit down dinner (drinks not included).
After breakfast we loaded up and met our local guide, issued headsets, and had a very nice narrated tour, first by bus, then walking. We passed the beautiful City Hall just restored with money from the European Union and Unesco. Prior to the 1990-91 was it had been a library with many rare and valuable collections. It was hit with mortar fire and burned destroying 90% of the books and manuscripts, even though most had been moved to the basement. We again visited the shops in the Turkish Bazaar and visited a Mosque, Synagogue, Caravan- Sarai and Olympic Stadium, then finished at the City Museum located at the corner where the Archduke and his Wife were shot. We saw so much it is hard to limit the description. As an aside the guide said that because of the war women outnumbered men in Sarajevo 6 to 1 and most woman had a cat or two for companionship.
We continued along the Neretva River Gorge to Mostar. We parked at a large church being visited by many pilgrims and walked the famous bridge. There were a lot of interesting craft shops with reasonable prices along the way as we walked over the bridge and back. I was able to get into the church between services and photograph the beautiful stained glass windows. Then we were off again toward Dubrovnik.
The gorge opened up and the river became quite wide. We stopped at a museum where a railroad bridge had been rebuilt, then destroyed again in 1943, after 6000 Bosnians led by Tito, many wounded, had crossed to escape the Nazis. A movie “The Battle of Neretva” staring Yul Brenner was filmed at the site in 1969. As we neared the coast, at the outlet of the rivers there were many mussel farms and oyster beds taking advantage of the fresh water coming into the Adriatic. We crossed back into Croatia and drove along the coast. We had to cross a small part of Bosnia along the way and were able to shop for several bottles of local wine and other bargains using up our Bosnian Marcs. The scenery along the way was spectacular, mountains to the left, the Adriatic to the right. Just before we came to Dubrovnik we passed the Trsteno Arboretum with two very large sycamore trees on the right side of the road. We came out well above Dubrovnik and crossed a long suspension bridge with several large cruise ships below it.
We had to traverse quite a bit of the city traffic and ended up across from the suspension bridge at the LaPad Hotel. We were to stay there four nights. Our room was very nice and that night we had an included banquet in the hotel garden. After a great buffet breakfast we were taken first to an overlook to look at the Old Town and then had a guided tour. We again used our headsets. We visited the Rector’s Palace, Bell Tower, Orlando’s Column and the Dominican Monastery and Franciscan Monastery with it’s still operating pharmacy. The fees were provided in our tour package. Entrance to the Old City is free, after that it becomes a bit of a tourist trap, with charges for everything. The cost to walk the city wall was 12 Euro! At my age they should pay me to do it! The charge for the cable car to the top of the mountain overlooking the city was also 12 Euro. After the tour we had free time to shop or look some more before meeting the bus to the Hotel. That evening we had an optional excursion with dinner at a cost of 50 Euros. A boat picked us up at the Hotel and we went past Old Town to St. Jakov Beach where we had dinner, wine and live music. The trip was a bit rough and occasionally damp and the walk from the pier to the restaurant was a bit treacherous with water washing over the narrow walkway. We returned to the Old City Port and then had some time to walk through the old city at night. We were able to go into another Church that had been closed to us earlier in the day and saw the altar and art work. The bus picked us up at the entrance and took us back to the hotel.
The following day was a visit to Montenegro. A different bigger, more comfortable bus and different driver awaited us. We were told that an envelope would be passed around for possible tips for the driver that had transported us so well for the preceding week. As we drove out Tour Director, Jasmina, continued our educational experience. We climbed up past the scenic overlook we’d used several days earlier and past the Dubrovnik Airport following the coast. The border crossing was away from the coast and the road inland was slow with road construction. The passports were collected and processed. Then a border police lady came aboard and compared our faces to the passport photos – a thankless job. After we passed border control the valley to our left was shrouded in fog. Then when the fog lifted, the valley was full of beautiful farmland and fields. The driver knew of a new rest stop inside Montenegro with more facilities for the lady passengers. Jasmina paid for us all to use the toilet as we not had the opportunity to obtain Euros as yet. While we were still inland she gave us an overview of Kotor Harbor and its history. As we got closer we realized how far the city was back into the bay. We passed several old Yugoslavian Navy ships tied to the far shore and several large tunnels that were intended for submarines to hide if the bay were under attack. Then we stopped at Perast to view the Church built on the artificial reef and the other Church and fort on an artificial island where a chain had been strung across in the past to deny entry to the bay. We followed the coast through several small communities eventually winding around to Kotor, passing both ends of the ferry route we would use later to cut off a great distance on our return. Kotor is now very developed with large vacation homes and hotels everywhere. Jasmina finished the history just in time to stop at the gate to the old city. We had to park some distance away because of the traffic and the crowd from the large cruise ships tied up in front of the city gate. The fortifications are amazing going all the way up to the mountain tops above the bay. After the tickets were purchased there was a walking tour and then time to looks some more and shop. As with Dubrovnik many sights had a charge, but there were many that did not and stores, gift shops and even a super market of sorts. We went outside the gate and walked through an outdoor market. There was everything imaginable for sale. We bought some bananas and apples for 1 euro. When everybody finally got back to the bus we went up side streets and then up 25 switchbacks over a less than one lane road. The driver was up to the task. Several times we had to back up to let a car pass the other way. At one particularly precarious point we were all apprehensive when the Tour director said half jokingly, You are Okay, I’m sitting ahead of the front wheel hanging over the edge. That broke the ice. From our route we could see the former trail that was the only route from the coast up to the interior – it was very steep. Jasminia said that the previous rulers had many large objects, such as a pool table brought up the trail before there was a road. She lectured to us about early Montenegro along the way. We passed the grave site of one of the National Heroes and Poet along the way.
Arrangements had been made for lunch with the local ham and wine after we reached the summit at Restaron Santa Montagne. The mountain top where the northwest winds meet the currents coming up from the Adriatic make the world’s best naturally cured ham. (at least they think so). Hams are shipped in from all over Europe and every home dries ham on the upper story. The route was very scenic and after a few miles we passed the home complex where all the rulers of Montenegro were born. The Tour director’s narrative was timed to end with the last King, Nicholas, when we got to the former Capitol, Cetinje. She explained Montenegro had been one of the first countries to declare itself Environmentally Friendly, but you wouldn’t have thought so judging from the debris in the ditches near Cetinje. The town had some impressive old buildings including embassies reflecting its former importance. We visited the small Royal Palace, now a museum, and walked the grounds. Jamina told us of the last King and his eleven children in detail as we toured the Palace. The tour into the interior of Montenegro was especially enjoyable to me.
We went back down to Kotor in a less precarious way passing the airport en route. After a short trip along the bay we boarded the ferry at Lepetane and were back near Perast. After a short drive we were back to the border, checked out of Montenegro and back into Croatia leaving most Euros behind.
Right after the Croatian Border crossing, and I mean right after, the bus driver turned right up what looked like a narrow farm road. He told us he knew a detour around the road construction that had delayed us early that morning. The detour took us through a rural area along the hillside above the other road. We went above and on the northwest side of the Dubrovnik Airport. Eventually we ended up on the main road just before the Old City overlook we had used and passed several times.
Back at the Hotel we had our goodbyes with our Tour Director and the others of our party flying out or leaving by car and our party of 14 going on the cruise had two more nights at the wonderful Lapad Hotel. Our family had discovered a small Pizza Café next to the Hotel and we went as a group for wine and Pizza and to discuss what we might do with another day and a half in Dubrovnik.
On day 8 we slept in and had a great breakfast at the Hotel. The family decided to go their own way, four to walk up to the shopping area, two to walk the waterfront and Zelda and I decided to do the cable car. We inquired at the desk and were given directions to a bus stop and to take bus #5 right to the cable car as we wanted to avoid all the steps up from Old Town. It was a long walk and we just missed bus 5 only to find out it runs only every 50 minutes. So we took bus 6 to the entrance to Old Town and then walked outside around the City Wall to the Cable Car. The ride up was quick and scenic. The weather was perfect. The facility at the top was very clean and modern with a shop, bar, and restaurant. There was also an old fort that was a museum of the damage to Dubrovnik during the 1990-91 war. The view from the top was just wonderful. We took great photos of the Old Town and harbor far below.
We bought large made to order sandwiches at a market by the Gate then took bus #6 back to LaPad. The bus was EXTREMELY crowded. There was a stop right across from the Hotel but the bus was so crowded we got off a stop early just to be sure we wouldn’t go too far. We decided to check for our boat, the Adriatic Pearl and I was able to photograph it the across the water from the Hotel. We joined our relatives at the Pizza Café for a glass of wine and pointed out the boat. That night we went out for our farewell to Dubrovnik (at least for a week) dinner at the Mozart Café. The food was excellent and moderately priced.
The following morning we packed after breakfast and went for a walk with the family. One brother- in- law needed some medication so we walked to a pharmacy and them through a department store. The buses to take us a block across the water, but several miles around the shore, arrived on time and we were able somehow to get all the luggage in. Lunch was not included and we had planned to buy sandwiches and fruit at the market near the boat.
We arrived at the boat and were met by our Cruise Tour Director, Antonia. She was young trim, red headed and energetic. As she checked us in she asked about diet. Any special need could be accommodated at the markets nearby before we left shore. We were going off the boat to get our lunch when one of the sailors said help yourselves to the fruit on the bar, that’s what it’s for. And we helped ourselves, not only then, but for the whole week. The boat was parked by a public bus stop and after our luggage was unloaded and the drivers gone we were a bit concerned about security. However, the crew soon had it tagged and in our rooms. Antonia was a REMARKABLE YOUNG LADY. Twenty four and fluent in five languages. She had started in Law School as her parents wished but decided that was not what she really wanted to do. Between jobs she does unpaid volunteer work all over the Balkans.
Our cabin was quite nice all be it a bit snug. The bathroom was also more than adequate. I gave the Tour Director some suggestions as there were no coat hooks or towel racks. There was only one holder and one glass in the bathroom and a rubberized non-slip bathmat would have been nice. We partially unpacked, storing the luggage under the beds and set up the bathroom to our liking. Tea and coffee were to be served at 3.
We were the inside ship of three and were curious as to casting off. Boat number two untied from number one and three and pulled away. As we were leaving it pulled into our spot next to the shore and we were off. We cruised past our hotel and the Old Town and the restaurant we dined four nights prior and out into the Adriatic. Our next adventure was beginning!
It was only a short cruise to Korcula, our first island stop. At 3:00 we went for tea and the Captain’s safety briefing. We were introduced to the crew of 9, ten counting our Tour Director. Then we were given information about the boat, meals, drinking water and optional tours. That meeting could have been handled much better. Our group was composed of 33 experienced seniors and we were a bit insulted by the tenor of the briefing by the young bar tender. Part of it should have come from the Captain. He could have recited “Dangerous Dan Magrew” in Croatian and the Bar Tender could have told us the same thing he did in English and we would have thought it came with some authority. Anyway, only one free drink at meals, water, wine whatever. After that there would be a charge for more drinks. Water in the taps on the ship was not drinkable. Probably safe, but they could not assure what was pumped on board at each stop. Water would be provided in the cabins each day for 30 Euro! Water could also be purchased at the bar, but water purchased for consumption at meals was not for use in the cabins. Drinks were not to be brought on the boat from shore. Almost everyone had brought wine along the result of using up our Bosnian Marcs. Needless to say, this did not go over well. Also there were two levels shore tours, standard and premium. Not all tours in our itinerary were in the standard package. If we wanted the additional shore excursions, we had to pay for them – another surprise. I signed up for the water and most ignored the guidance about bringing things on board. I managed to get coffee early with the crew and by the third day rumblings were loud enough to have water and orange juice on the tables and unlimited coffee at breakfast.
Breakfasts were buffet style, not what we were used to, but more than adequate. The tables were set for eight and the meals would start with ample soup or two large trays of salad on each table and then the two main courses set on each table for people to serve themselves. Special diet request were generally accommodated and there was always fresh fruit. The food was very good. I don’t think anyone lost weight.
Our first meal was uneventful with few buying extra drinks or bottles of wine. Later in the week, a lot more wine was purchased after the “sticker shock” wore off. After dinner, about dusk, we docked at Korcula for the night. Coming into the harbor at sundown was wonderful. We got glorious photos of the sun setting behind the old city walls. We walked around the city walls and then up to the old city gate. The old fortress was well preserved and a local guide took us through the town. We saw the ruins of the house where Marco Polo was reported to have been born. Several very old churches and the Cathedral of St. Mark is in the center of town and towers over the other buildings beside it. The Cathedral was under renovation when we were there and covered in scaffolding. We also visited the center court yard where the city government met hundreds of years ago. As it was late Saturday night few stores were open. However, there was a wedding that evening and it seemed like all 3000 residents were out driving in the wedding parade playing loud music and honking their horns.
Early in the morning we cast of for Pucisca on the Island of Brac. The island is famous for its quarries. For example, the stone from Pucisca was used in construction of the White House and the and Parliament building in Vienna. We were never out of sight of land and the scenery was just wonderful. We were scheduled for a swim stop but it was canceled due to the weather. Those that wished could swim after we docked. We passed several of the quarries as we entered the harbor. The first view of the town was just beautiful. Bright white buildings with red tiled roofs and appearing to be very neat, clean and tidy.
Our scheduled visit was to the Stonemasonry School where the preparation and dressing of stone in the old fashioned Roman way is still taught. Students come from all over Europe to learn the techniques. They have a course for the actual masons and another course for engineers and architects who need to know the characteristics of the stone for new buildings and renovations. Sculptures from the school were all over the city for decoration. It was Sunday so few shops were open. We had free time to wander the town and visit the church which had some beautiful paintings and stained glass windows. Trophies from tournament wins at water polo were displayed in the window at City Hall.
After boarding the boat we were informed that a storm was on the way and we were headed for the mainland; and indeed the seas became rough and we arrived in Omis early. Omis is a famous pirate town and also the home of our Tour Director Antonia. She said the family home was not open as her parents were in Rome so she couldn’t throw a party for us. Since it was her home town she led us on a guided tour that evening. Several of her relatives, friends and neighbors greeted her along the way. The town was very interesting with , monasteries and old buildings from its historic past. Two forts overlook the town. Some of the group climbed to the lower one for photos. The other was a long steep climb and there was an entrance fee. The town is also famous for boat building and the pirate ships were long and narrow and able to escape up the Cetina River and it was impossible for the wider boats chasing them to follow. Several ladies found knitted bargains in the local stores.
October 8 was our 46th wedding anniversary and that morning the wind was howling and the water blowing past the boat and over the dock in sheets. We went back through the town by the same route as the night before and met up with two boats that took us up the scenic Cetina River Canyon to Radman’s Mill, a historic site converted into a restaurant. They make bread and cook using traditional methods by piling charcoal over the food to bake it. We had the specialty ham and bread and red wine. Then back down the river to Omis, a leisurely walk through town and to the Adriatic Pearl for lunch. By this time the weather had improved and we set off for Split.
Split is just a beautiful city. Antonio took us for a walking tour upon arrival. We walked around the Castle and into a beautiful square reminiscent of St. Mark’s Square in Venice and then up into the second floor of the Palace. We toured The Cultural Museum with the Curator and the passed a quartet in front of the Bell Tower singing traditional Klapa Music. Later we had a guided walking tour of the residential portion of Diocletian’s Castle starting in the basement. The local guide in Split was just outstanding. He started in the basement with Roman history from the days of Christ and led us up and around the second floor talking distinctly the entire time. At the end we exited down the same steps that we’d used early that afternoon. That night we had cake to celebrate a birthday and our anniversary.
The next day presented another schedule change. We were not going to Bol, but going directly to Hvar. Upon arrival in Hvar we walked the water front and check out the shopping in the drizzle Later a local guide gave a presentation on Lavender and other local oils. This was another town with fortifications running all the way up and along the hill tops. We walked through the narrow streets and across the town square. We walked part way up toward the fortifications and peeked into a Museum. After the tour we visited the Cathedral, shopped and picked up a two liter bottle of Vino for $3.50 at a grocery store. It barely fit into Zelda’s purse . Later that evening Zelda and one of her sisters attended an organ recital at the Cathedral. The Vino turned out to be quite good and fit right into my spare splint for storage..
The next morning, October 10, was foggy and we watched the local ferry come in and unload a crowd and then load up and depart. We walked the waterfront, but nothing was open.
After the fog cleared we were off for Vela Luka (Big Port), the home port for the Adriatic Pearl. We stopped for a bit and some of the more daring went for a swim off the back of the boat. We docked at mid-morning. Before lunch we walked the town a bit and visited the Vela Luka Town Museum. It had a collection of relics from the prehistoric Vela Spila, (Big Cave) and scale models of ships used in the Adriatic over the centuries. Several tried to visit the cave and it was closed. One hardy sole went back later that afternoon when it opened – I wish that I had joined her. We had the standard excursion and several extra cost options for that afternoon including the things we’d skipped at Bol. We all went to an olive oil factory which was interesting. Then we chose the trip to a home with gardens showing traditional food preparation methods and equipment. Others went on to a vineyard. In all honesty, at my age, the things they showed as antiques were the things I used growing up. I guess that tells me something.
That night was the Captain’s farewell dinner. The menu had more than the usual choices and desert was a special cake, but the highlight of the evening was a long program of traditional acappella Klapa singing by 6 men – it was wonderful. Members of the crew and our Tour Director joined in.
We had great expectations for the next day. It was to be the visit Mljet Island National Park with a 12th century monastery and St. Mary’s Church built on an island in the middle of Big Lake, but it was not to be, another storm was blowing in.
The Captain chose to port at Slano, perhaps an hour sail from Dubrovnik. During the morning Antonio was one the cell phone trying to line up an afternoon activity near Slano. She was able to get a bus and tickets to the Trsteno Arboretum, the place we’d been curious about since hearing about it from Jasmina and passing it 10 days earlier. We got off the bus and it was quite a walk to the gate. The Arboretum is now operated by the Croatia Academy of Arts and Sciences and covers over 70 acres on a steep hillside overlooking the Adriatic. We walked down to the base of the Gardens to start out tour. The villa itself was built in the 1400s and destroyed by an earthquake in 1667. The present villa was built shortly thereafter. In 1736 an aqueduct with 14 arches was built ending in a Roman Fountain to water the gardens. There is an old mill with well preserved olive oil presses connected to it. The gardens are beautiful just filled with plants from all over the world. We walked back up and found a small café beyond the gate and had a glass of wine in the gardens under orange trees. One traveler couldn’t make it back up and a member of the Arboretum Staff was kind enough to drive him up.
That night was settle up time. The crew wished us goodbye and we got a surprise. For tipping Antonia was to be treated as part of the crew? We had followed the Value World guidance and had envelopes already prepared. So we reduced the crew tip a bit, gave Antonia $50, the head waiter $30, and left $5 on the pillow for the maid. I owed about $20 for the extra excursion for us and about $60 for the bar bill – mostly water.
The bus headed toward Dubrovnik from the Arboretum because it could not turn around by the Gardens. We got quite close to Dubrovnik and turned around at a large Hotel parking that we had used before for the same purpose. We cruised by the same hotel again the following morning sailing into Dubrovnik.
On day 15 we cruised into Dubrovnik arriving just before noon. After lunch there was a guided tour of Old Town. We passed as we’d been there several times already. Those that went (in the drizzle) said that was it different from the one we’d been had on day 6 because they stuck to the side streets to keep dry. As we had a 4:00 wake up call for the airport, we packed, and then walked the water front stores as we were opposite the LaPad Hotel where we’d walked earlier, as we still had bought almost no souvenirs or gifts for the Grandchildren.
Our whole Value World group of fourteen had the same early flight out and were on the same buses to the airport. We were given box lunches and we took them on the short flight to Zagreb as there was no food service. At Zagreb we bade two sets of relatives goodbye as our flight to Copenhagen was being called as we were still standing in the passport control line. We had to go out through passport control in Copenhagen to get boarding passes for the flight home – past all the shops – intentionally I’m sure. The flight home seemed short, but when we got to Washington the queue for Immigration was perhaps 1100 persons long. And then after getting through, they misplaced Zelda’s bag only to be found a bit later at the transfer desk. Lesson learned, keep your claim slips. Zelda’s older sister, Helen Marie, and her husband had planned to stay another night with us, but American changed their flight to early Sunday morning so they chose a hotel near the airport with shuttle service.
Well, if you want to tour the Adriatic and can’t decide whether by land or sea, do this and have it both ways. The interior is mountainous and beautiful and best seen by car or bus. The coast and islands are just fantastic. The water is clear and communities quaint and colorful and best seen by boat. The cost for two of us was $7624, minus $308 Pavlus rebate and that included airfare. We spent an additional $500 for tips, drinks, meals and gifts. I consider it to be a bargain, especially when some on the cruise showed us that they’d paid about twice for the cruise portion.
Most trips we do detailed planning ahead and make a trip book showing the highlights of all the places we are going to visit. Then we keep a journal as we go. This time we did neither, yet I can’t stop writing from memory. I believe I could still pass a test on the Croatian and the Bosnian 1990-91 War of Independence thanks to Jasminia. Our Tour Directors and local guides were all just terrific. We have memories to last the rest of our lives and about 2000 great digital photos just in case we forget.”
About the Adriatic 4 Country Cruise:You provided very good value and a nicely organized cruise that had great personnel. Terrific staff service!
Tour hosts had excellent local knowledge.”
Received : 06/02/2008
Thank you, it was well organized, all the staff were polite and informative. I felt like a member of the family on the MS Arion.”
Received : 06/03/2007
Wonderful yacht-like ship, terrific crew and the extra time we had in these fabulous ports of call was great. Kotor, Montenegro and the Dalmatian coast are spectacular! “Pearl of the Adriatic” was the best trip ever!”
Received : 06/20/2005