Korcula Croatia – Day Twelve – Mediterranean Cruise Vacation

It was the trip of a lifetime. Even so, some days are better than others. This day was the opposite of better.

Korcula, like the other destinations we visited in Croatia is a castle city. While it’s not the best “castle city” we visited, an enjoyable and interesting day could be had there. That’s not what happened. Our cruise line Holland American offer excursions once you dock. Some are better than others, some are OK, and this one that we took was so bad I started calling it the Papillon cruise after the movie with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman that chronicles their stay  at the infamous French Guiana penal colony known as Devil’s Island. 

The “information” sheet provided by Holland America called this day’s excursion the Dalmatian Riviera Cruise, you know what I called it. From the Holland America description, “From Korcula, you’ll set out by boat to weave through the 20-island Korcula Archipelago”. If by weave they mean take the straightest route possible to the first island, then the description is correct. The description mentions 20 islands, sorry I’d say we say 4 or 5 different islands.

In researching this blog post I found this review of the excursion.
POOR VALUE – Date:May 19, 2015

This was just a boat ride to some very unimpressive places. The guide was terrible and was not well prepared. Save your money. The only thing to do in Korcula is visit the Old Town. You can do this yourself for free.”
The author of the review FredT. forgot one thing, besides the complete lack of anything to see, the excursion wasted 4 hours of your time that could have been spend doing something enjoyable.
The day started just fine with a nice sunrise.
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If you are on the Holland America Dalmatian Riviera Cruise excursion and see this sign, don’t expect to see much of value.
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Yes, that was one of the most interesting things we saw, a kind of neat water faucet.
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I think the Police came because somebody started to enjoy the excursion.
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Yeah, this is a beach Orebic, just without the sand. Orebic was one of the two islands the Dalmatian Rivera Cruise visited.
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This was the photo highlight of the second stop we made which was the small town of Lumbarda on the Holland America Dalmatian Riviera Cruise.  This was at least an hour stop that offered little to do except trying to find a place to wait it out in the shade.
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Once we arrived back at Korcula, things were much more picturesque and enjoyable.
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Neat little church we found.
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Kotor Montenegro – Day Eleven – Mediterranean Cruise Vacation

In retrospect, it seems the best adventures on our trip were the ones that weren’t planned by the cruise line. We arrived in Kotor, Montenegro with no excursion from the cruise line for the day. After pulling into port we decided to climb the mountain and maybe go to the fort at the very top. If we didn’t make it to the top, we would stop at the small church that is part way up the climb.

Just like many of the ports we visited, Kotor had walls around the city to protect itself from folks who thought the Kotor port was really neat and they should take it for their own. We entered the city and headed for the hills so to speak. Once you find one of the entrances to the stairs the climb up the hill, you pay the person sitting a the little table waiting to collect your money ( 5 Euros each – it seems the price is higher when a cruise ship is in port ) and then you are on your way to the top. As we started a little late, the plan was make it to the Church on the Hill, and then see if the top was a possibility. While many people call it the church on the hill, the real name is Church of Our Lady of Remedy. From down below in the city, the church looks regular sized, but when you arrive it’s much smaller than you thought.

Here is the iconic view of the Bay of Kotor and the Our Lady of Remedy church seen as you climb toward St John ( San Giovanni ) castle.

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Yes, that is a church in the middle of the Bay.

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Why is this guy taking a picture of his reflection?

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Cruise ships guests view the mountains the Bay of Kotor as the Holland American cruise ship pull into port

What is important about this photo isn’t the German cruise ship Mein Schiff #3 ( unless you are on it ), it’s the church and castle atop the hill behind it. You can see the wall leading to the castle just above the sun light part of the hill just above the ship.

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The old town is on the right protected by the stone walls, while “new” town is on the left side.

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You pass through the Sea Gate to enter the old city.

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Once you reach the church, you realize how small it is. It’s also time to ponder whether to continue the climb. We did. Note – the price of water the vendors were selling on the trail gets more expensive towards the top.

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The views are amazing when you reach the top, and certainly well worth the climb.

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When you reach the top, you must of course take a selfie.

Once you reach the top of the hill and arrive at the castle it is selfie time - Kotor,Montenegro

It of course was much more fun going back down. On the way down I took the time to count the steps. There were 1304 of them. I didn’t really want to count them on the way up.

There are 1304 steps that take you to the top of the castle - Kotor, Montenegro

Once you are back in the old city after the climb it’s time for food and free wifi. We found both at the Pizzeria Sara right next to the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon which is in the photo below. I read several reviews of the place while trying to find the name, a couple mentioned it having the worst food ever. The food would at best rate 3 out of 5 stars, while the location might be 5 out of 5 stars. The price was right for a 3 star pizzeria with amazing views.

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Dubrovnik Croatia – Day Ten – Game of Thrones – Mediterranean Cruise Vacation

I’ll be honest with you. I have never watched an episode of Game of Thrones. I had no idea where Croatia was, and I had never heard of the city of Dubrovnik. All that has changed for the better, I know where Croatia is, I have visited the amazing city of Dubrovnik, and I still haven’t watched an episode of Game of Thrones.

After touring the city walls during the day, we went back to view the city at night. This image from that night is my favorite from the entire trip. I was able to make this 8 second exposure through the use of a mini tripod that came in quite handy  on the trip.

The twilight over Dubrovnik along with the city lights makes for a spectacular photo

The trip into port started with wonderful views.

The blue waters greet visitors to the Dubrovnik port

Much of the city can be viewed from the walls above

King’s Landing where the Game of Thrones is filmed.

Kings Landing Dubrovnik Croatia where the HBO show Game of Thrones is filmed

Walking the wall around Dubrovnik Croatia

As you walk around the wall you can see the homes and apartments of the people that live inside the wall.

Laundry hangs outside one of the apartments that are inside the wall - Dubrovnik, Croatia

Yes, the water really is that Blue. The “hole in the wall” and the Buzo Bar can be seen at the bottom left of the photo.

The very blue waters seen from the wall in Dubrovnik Croatia.

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The clouds roll in as evening becomes night in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Visiting the town during the evening helps avoid the crush of tourists that are there during the day. Plus it makes for better photo opportunities.

The city of Dubrovnik, Croatia is even more inviting in the evening as the crowds thin out.

It takes a little bit of luck to find the hole in the wall which leads to the Buza Bar. ( Our tour guide almost didn’t find it. The entrance almost looks like you are going into someone’s home. ) Once there you are treated to wonderful ocean views and the outside of the wall.

View of the ocean from outside the wall at the hole in the wall cafe-Dubrovnik,Croatia

Sometimes you make a mistake and get lucky. This was an 15 second exposure that I thought was already done. It wasn’t.

Sometimes a mistake can become a work of art so to speak.

The clear shot of the  building below is what I was attempting to photograph in the photo above.
To quote the famous Maxwell Smart, “I missed it by thaaaat much”.

The blue night sky and tourists on one of the beautiful buildings in Dubrovnik, Croatia

I’m pretty sure this was just for the tourists.

They come marching through town for the tourists

Lorraine CornishAugust 5, 2015 - 7:48 am

Croatia is one of the countries that I wanted to see but never made it there. Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

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San Francisco 49ers NFL Season opener vs Minnesota Vikings – Six weeks – 42 days away

The San Francisco 49ers 2015 NFL season opening game will take place on Monday night September 14 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara against the Minnesota Vikings.

The game will mark many changes for the 49ers as several star players have retired and it will be the first NFL season opener as head coach for Jim Tomsula. The game will also mark what many hope will be a new era for Quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he spent the off season training with quarterback whisperer Curt Warner. On the Vikings side of the ball, the game signals the return of their star running back Adrian Peterson after spending almost all of the 2014 regular season suspended.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick scrambles away from a St. Louis Ram defender during their 2014 game on November, 2nd at Levi

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Corfu Greece – Day Nine – Mediterranean Cruise Vacation

Day nine was the Greek island of Corfu. The stop there included a visit to the Achilleion Palace and the old town.

Just a note to the thousand of people that read my blog. OK, the hundreds of people that read my blog posts. OK, just a note to the shut ins that are forced to read my blog. While the Achilleion Palace is a nice place to visit, it can be very, very crowded as all the tours seem to arrive there around 9am. Everybody wants to visit the popular locations early in the day, the problem is everybody does visit the popular locations early in the day. As we discovered later on the cruise in Venice, a late visit to a popular tourist site my get you greet you with a lack of tourists at one of the more popular tourist attractions. That was the case during our visit to the Doge’s Palace. At times there was nobody in the courtyard, and the big room had at most 20 people in it during our visit.

A gorgeous blue and red sunrise off the Greek island of Corfu as seen from the balcony.

One of the many cruise ships we encountered along the way.

On our journey through the Mediterranean we encountered many cruise ships.

The website says, the “Empress Elisabeth built the Achilleion palace to escape the tragedies of her life”. It was later purchased by William II. 

Some of the amazing designs at the Achilleion Palace in Corfu, Greece

The grand staircase that greets you as you walk inside.

A very large painting hangs above the staircase in the Achilleion Palace, Greece

Some of the interesting statues that grace the venue.

One of the many statues in the back courtyard - Achilleion Palace, Greece.

If everybody is facing one way taking a photo, always make sure to look the other way just in case a not so obvious photo opportunity exists. Everybody that walked by this statue with a camera took a photo from the front. I choose the road less traveled and made an image from the other side.

The other side of a statue is not always photographed. Achilleion Palace, Greece

He must have been somebody important as they made statue of him - Corfu Greece.

The sign mentions a free taste of Corfiots Kumquat. I didn’t try any.

The sign on the wall offers a free taste of Corfiots Kumquat - Corfu, Greece

The Museum of Asian Art.

The Asian Museum of Art near the Old Town of Corfu, Greece.

A wonderful sunrise in the morning, and wonderful sunset in the evening.

A colorful sunset seen from a balcony of the Holland America ship m/s Zuiderdam

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