Sunday, June 30, 2013


Hostile Hostel. . .
      There are a few dozen cops and secret service police surrounding my hostel here in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. But its not because of anything in particular other than potentiality. Tonight is the "celebration" of Croatia becoming the 28th member of the European Union, but most people here don't seem to care to celebrate. The Croat I talked with on the train ride said the EU is just a new form of a conglomerate communist Russia - that or a legal version of the Mafia. However, he also said that he wants to move to Canada with his wife because Croatia "sucks to live in", Beyonce is ugly, and MARRIED WITH CHILDREN is the best TV show ever.
       Anywho, its a big scene here with bus loads of polices unloading into the city, new reporters jibbering away, and we will see what happens tonight - could be the biggest Euro-rave ever!!!

But i get ahead of myself! Back up 4 days to Hvar, cause I left some unfinished business from the last update. The dramatic pause . . .


Yes, Disney cartoons are 100% relative to the island Hvar and many others in Croatia. Reason being, the largest islands around here are Brač, Korčula, Dugi Otok, Mljet, Vis, Hvar, Pag and Pašman - known as the Dalmatia Islands


But i think if its plural (Dalmatian) then this is where the English language found the name for the big, many dotted, white & black dogs - Dalmatians!

And thus, here we are at Hvar the collection of One-Hundred-and-One Dalmatia Islands:

***This is just a theory i came up with since i really don't have any dramatic story to follow up to my last post with, other than the known topical history of neolithic Croats being taken over by Illyrians, then being swarmed by Greeks (and pirates), later with Venetians, soon to battle the Ottomons, under seige'd by grand Dynastic elite bloodlines such as the Habsberg Monarchy, then shuttlecocked between Yugoslavia and Austria-Hungary, yet finally reaching independence as Croatia and now re-dependent on the EU! 
      Other than that boring history - i had to make something up - something LEGIT! . . . 101 Dalmatians.


(goat cheese and anchovy heaven out here)

Cool town. Has the first public theater in Europe. It was added on top of the existing ship's gallows over the sea, and it was built to quell the social tensions brought on by the great influx of money and thus new wealth since the Venetians established a fortress to protect from the pirates.

Theater and Shakespearean plays(1564-1616) were helpful because as England used old tactics of the Phoenician (whom colonized Europe before Rome from the ancient Middle East leading from Egypt, Spain, and ultimately England & Ireland) - England went about reviving similar global tactics by assigning a dozen great writers to formulate all the known literary works of the famous pseudonym "Shakespeare" which consequentially unified together Scotland, England and other separate nations with the common thread of poetic theater. In the same vein, Croatia was successful in creating a public theater to unite its people with artistic beauty - simple beauty rarely fails. . .

 (Theater is the first big building on the right side, top level)

(This old well, and anything in the city marked with a Venetian Lion was for public use)


(old caves & tunnels are a dime a dozen on islands around here. They Yugoslavian navy used them to hide/attack from Serbs)

(. . . and Greeks built these Trims to hide from the hot sun while working the fields 2000+ years ago!)


The Yugo Navy also hid entire ships in here and put holes in the top for the engine's exaust)

(*i think the ocean is blue cause most colors don't penetrate deeper than a few meters. Green lasts 3-5 meters, and blue goes 15 meters deep and is the last color we recognize. . . so its it the last we see in the depths of the great oceans and lakes of earth???)

The Iliad (not the Odyssey) was rumoured to have been historically sourced from Greek battles around these islands during the Greek occupation and also from neighbouring islands Illyrian Wars with the Romans. . . but evidence runs thin eventually and there's no pyramids here so I lose interest quick.

(old olive oil press, before many locals left the island when a disease messed up their crops. The town's heritage now lives in San Pablo, California. Seriously.)

Pomegranites abound here and are in bloom
Nicola Tesla was Croatian
Marco Polo was from the Dalmatian Islands
The parachute was invented in Croatia
Napoleon made a fortress here on Hvar
. . . tourist sailors are famous and have shut down the island's internet for 2 days. Anchors and underwater-cables don't mix.

Good friends and fine food do mix! This is Evo and Leo. Local Dalmatians who run a cheese and meat shop according to the old principles of business "you pay for what you get because we do not mark things up here. . . if we did then - (Evo makes a large and loud double hand gesture) - you get fucked!"

(These Greek terraces for vinyards make Hvar like the Machu Pichu of Croatia)

Another Trim and a water catchment cistern. . . ancient)

A 3 day Lavender Festival started today, smells amazing everywhere! Also capers, rosemary, and sage - OH MY! They grow wild here, so you just have to fight the seagulls for your share.

(*One man lives on that distant island. You visit him and bring him supplies he needs in return he gives you goat cheese or roast meat)


 (*this cat was hunting sea creatures as waves broke so near. . . confidence makes for a healthy feline)

I said by to Ivo and Leo(the local Eddie Izzard), and they gave me prosciutto and anchovies for the road then I split for the mainland town of Split!

Split is a crossroad of Central Europe, the Balkans, and the Mediterranea -



Emperor Diocletian built a large palace in Split when he retired in AD 305, he picked it just cause it had lots of natural sulphur baths and he had an achy body.

Also, the fish market was established next to another sulphur spring because the flies don't like sulpfur so they kept away from the stinking fish. Medieval sulphur dead-fish alleys, yummy


Also also, Diocletian was the only Roman emperor to successfully retire, all other Emperors. . . caput. But he built a large garden along the Sea within the walls of his Sulphur Bath fortress and claimed his garden was too nice to ever get involved in politics again. He built his palace in 3 years and used horse hair, blood, and eggs to create the cement mix for his elaborate bath walls and floors.

Some of the oldest best preserved Roman architecture here.
Depictions of kings with crowns in baroque art started here
The place where the phrase "stinking rich" started when a pope tried to pay his favorite church to let him be buried inside (not underground). He was rejected so he offered all his fortune and they let him be buried outside by the entrance - he died, was put in his stone coffin and rotted away for weeks after as the infamous church entrance piece: a dead-stinking-rich pope (its worth any price when your eternal soul is on the line) . . .
(*RIP, cause bribery won't get you to heaven you old fart)

The designs are elaborate here. With swastika influences from India, Muslims art, Greeks, Romans, Christians, ect . . . until us US Allies of WWII bombed the hell out of this historic city and destroyed a lot of it.

Back on the train and off to the capital city. . . that's it for now.

(Sorry it was so long. . . . that's what the female train conductor said!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

MONTENEGRO (hazzah!)

Herceg Novi - Once again, the strange people find me.
The room i rented for 2 nights in Herceg was the lower floor of a family’s house operated by 2 sisters and their extended family living upstairs. The way this works is when i get off the bus in a city there are a few elderly ladies offering “Sobe” (or rooms for rent). They offer you some info in broken english and show you fotos from their albums. Smooth business. So i got a room with Maria who is quite a character straight out of a Lina Wertmüller film. She’s elegantly dressed, knows all the right things to say to a young tourist like me, and eats like a cow! Soooo Italian! Gusto in everything she does. Even her sister shakes her head in hopeless frustration when Maria is around and as soon as i paid for my room we sat down for tea and i offered them some figs and walnuts. Maria chomped on them and talked and gestured and laughed all at the same time without a pause. Then from her purse (or somewhere near) she pulled out a scallion and devoured that like dessert. Right down the the rooty bottom. It was an incredible sight and a funny contrast to her professional and presentable self.
ANywho, Mostar is nice. Coastal, very warm, with an old town to wander.

It was nice, but small and full two things, women’s cloth shops and cafe’s. So i kept up trucking over to the Bay of Kotor which is full of great sights like breathtaking Balkan terrain blanched with fjords of aquamarine water, islands where Venetian explorers found signs of the Virgin Mary and built churches just big enough to not slip off the lands edge, and castles . . . old, old walls and castles!

I stayed in Kotor for 2 nights at a family's house who was renting rooms to Serbian workmen that lived in a communal style like the Mexican/Guatemalans of California. (Good neighbours since they don’t stay up late to party and when they get up at 6am, as do I - and i get the most out of the day.)

The Mom-daughter-son Team was nice, after a thick Turkish coffee one morning they read the black dredges of sediment in the bottom of the cup: a future fortune of travel was near.

Met some familiar faces from a previous bus ride on my first day wandering so we ventured around the hillside and to certain vantage points where one can see 5 country boarders (serbia, bosnia, albania, montenegro, croatia, and sometimes Italy on a clear day) Wow.

Its very ideal here with the land and water balancing each other out - plus, its the best open market i’ve seen yet! Look at this fresh bounty of prosciutto, sausage, goat cheese, cheese cheese, butter,
 fruits, veggies, beer, and a Montenegrin distilled wine-honey liquor.

Overall there’s a lot of construction going on in these parts of the country. development commercially or for private purposes. . . but prevalent and permeating the landscape.

On my last day i hiked high up, then down into a valley where i found an old monastery and an old woman picking white & black mulberries. I helped her then took some for the remainder of my hike. Soooo damned good.

(check out the size of this Mulberry tree, ancient!)

Lastly in MOntenegro, i caught up with an old Cloverleaf friend, Dragan (a common name meaning “dear”) who showed me around a few areas and his home city, the capital Podgorica.

(After we visited this giant lake which was part of Europe's first National Park, Dragan's mom made a huge delicious meal)

 (After, she served us coffee and i had my fortune read again - this time it involved two people close to me who wanted to travel but got held up by obstacles, yet, soon the walls would come down and travel will be on their menu. . . wink wink to my water-locked Hawaiian family members!)


So once again, on a tuesday morning i caught a 6am bus and little did i know i’d be on the road for 12 more hours. Its was good and spontaneous, getting me to a location i had been thinking about a lot - Hvar.

      I’d only planned on going to Dubrovnik, Croatia. But then i caught another 6 hour bus to Split. And once there, i found a Ferry that was leaving in 10 minutes for the island Hvar. How could i say no. . . Croatia is very attractive.

This is it for now. Hvar. One of Croatia’s 1,246 islands! But a small and very inviting one for reasons you will soon find out . . .