Vienna Hotels Articles

August 15, 2010

Travel diaries: Croatias Adriatic Coast by Boat

Many will remember the televised images of Croatia from just more than a decade ago as it fought a bloody war for independence from Yugoslavia. Fortunately, the war was won and the effects of that war are now undone. Today Croatia is modern and vibrant, reaching out politically and economically to Europe and the rest of the world and, understandably, it is beginning to draw back the tourists who treasured the area for decades before the war.

My wife, three women friends, and I flew late on a Friday afternoon in early May into Trieste, Italy, for our prearranged transport awaiting (paid separate from the cruise). We crossed from Italy through a sliver of Slovenia to Croatia and overnighted 50 kms south in Opatija, a lovely little bayside resort town celebrating 160 years since the first tourists from Vienna and Budapest enjoyed its mild climate and sunshine. The hotels in Opatija boast exceptional architecture and hikers can easily access the 12 kms long walk along the coast. On Saturday morning we were transported 13 kms to Rijeka, a busy major Croatian port, to begin our weeklong cruise on the 30 passenger/4 crew motorsailer, Kazimir’. After being assigned to our small but sufficient cabins (with shower and toilet) we sailed in the early afternoon into a week of fun, sun, exploring, and relaxing. We discovered our fellow passengers were one Austrian couple and the remainder were Germans, all searching for the sun after a typically cold northern European winter. Many spoke English at several levels of proficiency and with our rudimentary German accompanied by lots of hand signals and body language, we were able to communicate well enough to enjoy meeting and learning from our fellow passengers.

In the week afloat, the Kazimir sailed to the islands of Krk, Rab, Zadar, Mali Losinj, and Cres, enjoying the natural beauty and uniqueness of each as we overnighted in their ports, allowing ample time to explore and shop. The port town of Krk issued its first tourist postcard in 1866 and one can see why tourists have returned since then. One might want to visit the island’s peaceful Marian shrine, Our Lady of Goricka from the 11th Century, as many pilgrims from around the world still do. I was pleased I was able to attend an early morning church service in another, younger’ Roman Catholic church, about 300 years old. Rab’s Middle Street is filled in the summer with the work of artists and concerts are held frequently throughout the summer,

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