Croatia – Day 3 September 23, 2021

Travel overland to Opatija, with a Croatian farm experience

We traveled to to the seaside city of Opatija through the Croatian Highland .  On the bus, we learned that Croatia will move to the euro as their currency in 2023.  Nikola Tesla, who was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system, was born in this area when it was Austria Hungry. He emigrated to the United States where he was awarded some 300 patents. Serbia and Croatia both claim rights to him, even though most of his work was completed in the US, and it is expected that Croatian euros will carry his likeness. A reporter once asked Albert Einstein “what is it like to be the most intelligent man in the world?” Supposedly, he responded I don’t know, you”ll have to ask Nikola Tesla. Elon Musk named his electric car, the Tesla, after him.

As we moved into the highlands, we moved definitely into the plains, flatter terrain, smaller rolling hills, tilled fields for agriculture – all dotted with small villages.

We stopped at the farm estate of the Kezele family along the way. We enjoyed a tour of the property, including the stables where livestock are kept, a small museum of vintage artifacts, and the wine cellar, where we savored a tasting of the family’s excellent vintages, including their Skrlet. We were  also be treated to a tasty lunch of farm-raised delicacies, made in the family’s traditional kotlovina style. The lunch was prepared in a huge pan with all the ingredients added at various times to cook to perfection.  Our lunch began with a serving of chicken soup and bread, followed by the buffet-style serving of two kinds of sausage (black and garlic), pork, and chicken, potatoes, and beans in a delicious sauce. Dessert was cheese pie. All enjoyed outdoors under a pergola of sorts.

Then it was on to a 3 ½ hour ride to Opatija. This afternoon, we checked in at our deluxe hotel in the seaside resort city. Breathed in the salt deeply, listened to the water gently lapping the side of the boats, and we understood why visits here were widely considered therapeutic a century ago. Dinner was on our own, we opted for Ruzmarin (aks Rosemary) where we sat out on the terrace.

 

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Croatia Day 2 September 22, 2021

Today we set off into the countryside to visit Kumrovec, a preserved open-air museum

Field Marshall Tito

because it’s the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito — the Yugoslavian communist revolutionary (and later, dictator) who led the resistance to the Nazi and the fascist forces during World War II. We headed west of Zagreb through the countryside, and for a time drove along the border to Slovenia. So we were back in the mountains driving along narrow curvy roads.

During the ride to Kumrovec, Stefan relayed a little of the history of Yugoslavia and of Tito.  Over a century ago, excavation workers uncovered human remains near the town of Krapina in Northwest Croatia. Geologists, paleontologists, and archaeologists have dated them to be about 130,000 years old. The area that was to become Yugoslavia was settled by various tribes with their own cultures. In the 2nd century BC the Romans came to the area and stayed in control until around the 6th century AD.  Around that time, Slavs migrated south bringing their language and their culture, mixing with the Roman residents and became southern Slavs. Area was the center of Balkan trade routes, connecting east and west so they held some strategic importance. The two predominant religions were Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox.  Slavs in this region felt they had always been ruled by foreign influence and rulers and dreamed of more autonomy.  In the 19th century, the Napoleon Wars resulted in Austrian rule of this area. In 1918, support for the creation of a country for Slavs without foreign rule took hold, creating the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. However Slavic groups began infighting to gain dominance. Initially Serbia, since they already had a king took lead. In 1929, it was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

Tito was born in Austria,  fought as an Austrian soldier in WWI was in prison in Russia where he became indoctrinated in socialism. WWI had begun with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria for which Serbia was blamed. During WWII Croatia joined Italy and Germany against the Allies. Tito proved to be an able military leader. Once the war was over, Tito promised unity, brotherhoods, and socialism as away to liberate Yugoslavia from Italy and German occupation. After WWII, the name changed again to the Federated Republic of Yugoslavia. Each of the six republics had some measure of autonomy and self-rule.  By the end of the 40’s, Tito refused to align with Stalin and they became enemies. In fact, Stalin sent 5 assassins to kill Tito but Tito discovered them. Tito was installed as President for life in 1963. Tito had a very dark side as a dictator, cruel prisons, forced labor, political opponents executed without trial, taking property for the “common good,” installing additional residents/families in homes, etc. Tito did become a middleman between the west and communist countries. He mixed up the original tribes by moving one group into an area occupied by another which increased familiarity. Religion became less important, not forbidden, but made uncomfortable by eliminating education and job opportunities fro those who openly practiced their faith. In 1979, Tito created the NonAligned Movement, which became the cornerstone of Yugoslavian foreign policy. Yugoslavian Products were exported to partner nations, creating a market for Yugoslavian goods.  Overall, perceptions of Tito and opinions of his impact depend on personal experience with his rule.  After his death in 1980 at 88 years old, Yugoslavia fell apart.

We visited the open air museum at Kumrovec of 19th century countryside homes and barns with exhibitions of daily life: blacksmith shop, barrel making shop, candle making, weaving, tiny kitchens, a typical wedding, typical family life and the home built by Tito’s grandfather for his family. His grandfather and grandmother lived on one side and Tito’s mother and her children lived on the other in very crowded conditions.  Our tour guide, Robert, was a preservationist who works at the museum and our visit was very informative.  We left to continue on to our lunch engagement.

We approached the Valley of Sin, termed that as a result of a 16th century legend of Frederick and Veronica. Frederick, a landlord’s son, rode through town and spied a beautiful young girl named Veronica. He immediately fell in love and they began a secret romance.  But Frederick was already married to woman his father found for him. His father was very angry when he learned of the affair. He accused Veronica of being a witch and she was tried. But the judges would not find her a witch, which angered the father even more. The father sent Frederick away, had Veronica killed, and disposed of her body in the walls of his castle – never to be found.  Some years ago, during renovations of the castle, a female’s body was found in the wall.  So is the legend true?

Then, we had lunch at Grešna Gorica, the first ever private family-owned estate to open in Croatia, serving only the most traditional of North Croatian specialties. After a long climb up a very steep hill, we were greeted by music and started off with a specially created Grešna Gorica welcome drink of honey brandy with a morsel of cornbread

The very steep hill, up and down

dipped in salt. We took a quick tour of the vineyard, tasted the vineyard’s red or white wine and settled in under an open pavilion for lunch. We dined on a seasonal menu that included wine, of course, cold cuts like sausages and cheese, Beef salad, Pickled vegetables, Bread, Cheese or bacon spread, farmer’s cheese, a soup of beef broth & noodles, Salad of shredded lettuce leaves and tomatoes, Beans, Roast pork, Duck, Potatoes, Whole wheat noodles, and for dessert apple strudel and cheese strudel ( Zagorski Å¡trukli).

Naturally, there was a lot of napping on the 1 ½ hour ride back to the hotel.  After all that eating, we walked through the Botanical Gardens, until closing at 7 pm. No dinner tonight – still digesting lunch.

Please enjoy the gallery of photos from todays journey through the country side of Croatia

 

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Croatia Day 1 September 21, 2021

Inez our Zagreb tour guide in her traditional costume

We met our expert local guide this morning for a tour of Zagreb to view the city’s impressive landmarks. Inez was dressed in traditional Croatian garb and carrying a traditional Croatian umbrella making her easy to pick out in a crowd. The earthquake in December 2020 resulted in significant damage to many of the historic buildings, which made them unsafe and unsuitable for visiting. Others, the CoVid pandemic has had an adverse impact and have not reopened or are now open limited hours.

Croatia’s population is about 4 million and almost 25% of the residents live in Zagreb making it the political, economic, and cultural center of the country. Modern Zagreb is the result of a merger between two Medieval communities sited on adjacent hilltops. The western settlement was inhabited by townspeople and merchants; the eastern was dominated by priests and religious orders. It was part of the Hapsburg Empire from the 16th century. Growth exploded in the 19th century when elegant public buildings gave the city center an Austrian appearance.

During our walking tour, we saw a vivacious open-air city with colorful markets, sidewalk cafes, and green parks with fountains. We saw the Croatian National Theater and Opera House, Croatian Parliament, Prime Minister’s office, St. Mark’s Square with its church roof of colorful tiles, the Old City, the Stone Gate (the last remaining gate of 5 that separated the two Medieval towns), and Zagreb Cathedral (Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was so severely damaged in the earthquake visitors are not permitted to enter – in fact the spire on top of the right tower is now on the ground).

Dolac Market set up under Croatian umbrellas

We visited the bustling Dolac Market — the largest in the nation — where locals from the countryside come to sell locally-grown and produced fruits, vegetables, honey, oils, handicrafts, and more.

We learned that Croatia likes to take credit for the invention of ties (KRAVATA) during the Thirty Years War, when wives, sisters, girlfriends would tie a red scarf around the neck of soldiers heading off to war for good luck. Souvenir shops here sell all sorts of ties!

Picante Pizza

Croatian Beer

We broke from the group after the walking tour and strolled the flower market square, several streets with dining establishments and coffee shops. We picked Al Dente, for lunch and tried another local beer, Karlovacko.  Mike and I shared a picante pizza.

Mirogoj Cemetery Facade

After lunch, we took advantage of Stefan’s transportation tickets, rode the bus out to Mirogoj Cemetery, at the foot of Mount Medvednica.  It was built in 1876 by Hermann Bolle, covers 7 acres.  The imposing facade contains the entrance to the Catholic and Orthodox chapels and an arcade where notable families are buried. The structure was off limits, damaged by the earthquake and somewhat unstable.  Portions of the stone cornice and exterior decorations were on the ground. Many of the monuments and tombstones were also damaged and are in the process of being replaced or repaired. We discovered that a lot of the stones were engraved with Obitelj and another name.  Our original thought was that all these folks were related, but then Kimberly Baker found out the word means FAMILY.

We hopped the bus back to town and then walked through the series of parks from town center to our hotel.

We ate dinner at Vinodol, noted for its traditional Croatian dishes. It was on Nikole Tesle Street! sound familiar? We started off with a bottle of local red wine; Kimberly  enjoyed  a  bowl  of  corn chowder  topped  with jalapenoes.  Kimberly  and I had almond encrusted trout filets from the Gacka River in central Croatia accompanied by a potato roll on a green pea puree. Mike had lamb shank and Glenn had pork. The moon was shining brightly as we walked back to the hotel.

Lamb shank

Almond encrusted trout

our red wine

 

 

 

 

 

Bright moon on our walk back to hotel

it was a pinot

 

 

 

 

 

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Slovenia Day 3 September 20, 2021

The peaks are socked in this morning!

We left Lake Bled after breakfast heading for the Slovenian capitol of Ljubljana. Lake Bled was socked in this morning and rain was predicted. We all resorted to rain gear and umbrellas, better prepared than last night. Sure enough, it started raining during our 40 minute ride to Ljubljana. In the center of the city, at Congress Park, we met up with our city guide, Chira. Under Congress Park is a large underground parking lot, even equipped with water closets! The trees in the park used to be chestnut trees but Plecnik thought they were inappropriate and messy for a city park so he purchased plane trees at his expense to encourage the city to plant them. He also specified willow trees for some locations to remind us of the connection Ljubljana to its water source – the river.

Chira, our tour guide for Ljubljana

Chira walked us around the old town, pointing out architectural features and filling us in on the history. Much of Ljubljana was destroyed by earthquakes.  In the 1920’s and 30’s, it was rebuilt under the direction of architect Joze Plecnik, a Ljubljana native who studied under Otto Wagnerand donated his services to the city. His impact on Ljubljana created a green city with an emphasis on pedestrian access, green spaces, sustainability. The river embankments and their development follow the spirit of his original vision.  In fact, in an attempt to regulate traffic, he simply added pedestrian bridges to either side of a bridge originally constructed in 1842. Of course, the entire area is pedestrian only now! But the bridge is now known as the Triple Bridge. He planted white birches on the Trnovo Bridge which was near his home. His architectural style is a sort of art nouveau derivative.

After our tour in the rain, we had two hours of free time to wander the cobblestone streets, check out the city’s three bridges, eat and shop. We visited the daily market. (designed by Plecnik), somewhat reduced due to the rain but it had a wide selection fruits, vegetables,and flowers. The market is generally busier on Saturdays. A colonnade had been built on the River bank to house a permanent butcher market, a bakery, a fish market (downstairs to contain the smell), and a few small eateries.

Our lunch of leek soup, buckwheat spoon bread, sausage, and local beer

We picked Moji Struklji and enjoyed a bowl of leek soup, buckwheat spoon bread, and a local sausage with sauerkraut and mustard accompanied by another Slovenian beer brand, Union. Mike added a tarragon dumpling but it was just too much food! Sparrows hopped up onto our spare chair and stole a few snippets of dumpling! We think our lunch stop was a popular local spot, since while we were there 11 WOLT and 3 GOLOV bicycle food delivery folks stopped in to pick up orders to deliver. The central area is a pedestrian and bicycle area and to assist residents, the city operates small electric vehicles for free rides, especially for those carrying loads of groceries, etc. We were to assemble at 1:15 to head back to the bus and head across the border to Zagreb, Croatia. Half of our group misunderstood and thought they had until 2. But, as they say – better late than never! On our way back to the bus, we passed a series of trash and recycle receptacles. In order to use them, a local would have to swipe a card with their personal information to gain access, deposit their trash or sorted recyclables (paper, packaging, glass, plastics). Each morning the bins (stored underground) are emptied. Once a month, the users are billed for each time they use a bin.

During our ride, the landscape changed quickly from alpine to rolling hills and plains. We crossed the border into Croatia at 3:25 – a fairly smooth and easy process. To leave Slovenia, each person left the bus and one by one presented their passport and vaccination card to the Slovenian border police officer who stamped each passport. We reboarded the bus, drove 200 feet, and encountered a Croatian border agent. When he heard we were all Americans, he figured we’d been vaccinated and just let us through without checking passports or vaccination cards! The two border checks are as a result that Slovenia has not been accepted to the Schengen area of 26 European countries that have abolished all passport and border controls at their mutual borders. And, the sun came out to greet us.

Our bedroom

Our bathroom

We arrived at our hotel, the Hotel Esplanade in Zagreb, Croatia, a historic Art Deco hotel that used to serve the Orient Express and dates back to 1925. Our room is large, bright, and wonderfully appointed. Tonight we meet the rest of our tour group and dine in the hotel for our Welcome dinner. This afternoon we bid farewell to Juko, our guide throughout Slovenia,  and said hello to his younger brother Stefan who will be our guide through Croatia.

After a short meeting to globally define our next few days, we adjourned to the Zinfandel restaurant for dinner consisting of Green Pea and Mint Soup, Veal with Mushrooms and Creamy Potatoes,  and Vanilla Creme Brûlée, and, of course wine!.

 

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Slovenia Day 2 September 19 2021

The day began with a buffet breakfasting the hotel. After, we are off to the Nordic Center at Plancia.   This is a year round training center for ski jumping or flying, cross country skiing, and features a zipline. In the warmer months, Slovenians and their visitors take advantage of the trails for hiking and biking.  Folks are very fit here!

The Goldenhorn statue near Lake Jasna near Kranjska Gora

The drive was fairly short, past villages and an iron plant factory, to an area of Slovenia nestled between Austria and Italy. We were forced to take a detour since our preferred route was closed due to an accident. We passed by Lake Jasna, a lake created by a hydroelectric dam. As with the other lakes we saw, the water was clear and we could easily see the limestone bottom.

By the time we arrived at the Plancia Nordic Center, the upper mountains were covered in clouds. We watched as folks training for ski jumping, practiced on the slopes. The slopes were covered with artificial turf and were regularly sprinkled with water to make them

A jumper. in. training

usable without snow. There was a zipline from the top of the highest jump to the bottom parking lot that was in regular use.  We decided to forgo the zip line, especially since we would have had to climb to the top – there was no cable car or chair lift!  Inside we found snow and a gentleman practicing his cross country skiing. There was also an aerodynamic chamber where jumpers could practice their form and make themselves as aerodynamic as possible.  We watched a short film, tracing the history of ski jumping and the advancement of techniques used to garner longer and longer distancse. In the last World Cup, the record of 250 Ski Jump Video meters was set by a Slovenian at Plancia. During our entire visit here, that old Olympic scene kept rolling in my head: The agony of defeat – when the ski jumper toppled off the jump during competition.

Juko and our Lasko beer

We left the Nordic Sport Center and headed to Kranjska Gora, a traditional alpine village, for a walk-about. We stopped for another taste of Lasko beer and ran into several folks from our group, along with Juko, our guide.

We had about a five minute walk. to our restaurant, when the. skies opened up and we were caught in the deluge. Rain jackets in hand, but umbrellas were back in hotel. Before dinner, we were treated to a gingerbread making presentation! Dinner tonight was at Gostilna Lecta in Radovlijca, one of the oldest trattorias in Slovenia, serving regional Slovenian specialties, local wines, and traditional sweets, known as Lectar Hearts.

A drawer full of Lectar Hearts. Most are decorated by Joze’s daughter.

The gingerbread making demonstration was interesting but not what we expected. It turns out that. it takes 24 days to make gingerbread.  The recipe used by Joze’s family consists of flour, honey, and spices. It is very manual, even the sheeter to press the dough is manually operated.  Joze makes traditional heart shaped cookies, ranging in price from 10 euros to 150 euros, depending on size. Since they consist of no butter or eggs, they can last for many years. Some he had on display were framed and were 30 or 40 years old. Might be had as a brick!

We moved upstairs for dinner. We were greeted with Rakija, a fruit liquor similar to grappa. This one was made with pears.  Along with it, Joze served us a bread cube to dip in salt – a custom of Slovenian hospitality.  We were given a choice of red or white local wine.  First course was a mushroom soup, served in a bread bowl. Ne xt, served family-style, was a platter of two different sausages, turnip sauerkraut, sauerkraut, potatoes, roast pork, horseradish served in a tomato, and a noodle kugel.  Dessert was a hollowed out apple, stuffed with ice cream!

The owner of Gostilna Lecta in Radovlijca, Jože singing and playing guitar.





Bled Photo Gallery


 

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Slovenia Day 1 September 18, 2021

Lake Bled, Slovenia

First a bit about Slovenia. Slovenia was one of the six republics or areas that made up Yugoslavia back when we studied geography. In the early 90’s each became independent, with Slovenia ranking number 5 of the 6 in terms of area. Slovenia is located in the Julian Alps, featuring biking, hiking, skiing, and other outdoor adventures.  The national flag of Slovenia features the tallest three peaks. The island in Lake Bled pictured above originally was the site of a temple to a pagan goddess of fertility and love. Today it is the site of a Roman Catholic Church, accessible only by boat. The stairway in the photo, features 99 steps to reach the church. Folklore dictates that when a couple marries, the groom carries his bride up the 99 steps to strengthen their marriage and to grant them a lifetime together.  There is a Wishing Bell in the church, donated by a philanthropist, who wanted visitors to have the opportunity to ring the bell and be granted their wish. The boats in the photo are plenta powered by oarsmen, since Lake Bled does not permit powered boats. The boats are built by locals, the originals date back to the 1590’s.

Lake Bohinj: notice the clear water and the limestone “beach”

Today, despite cloudy, overcast conditions, we headed off to Bohinj Lake. Lake Bohinj is 4.2 km (2.6 mi) long and 1 km (0.62 mi) at its maximum width. It is a glacial lake dammed by a moraine (A moraine is any accumulation of unconsolidated debris (regolith and rock), sometimes referred to as glacial till, that occurs in both currently and formerly glaciated regions, and that has been previously carried along by a glacier or ice sheet). The largest of the streams that flow into the lake, the Savica (‘little Sava’), is fed from ÄŒrno jezero (Black Lake), the lowest-lying lake in the Triglav Lakes Valley. The outflow at the eastern end is the Jezernica creek which merges with the Mostnica to form the Sava Bohinjka, which in turn becomes the larger Sava River at the confluence with the Sava Dolinka. Belsazar Hacquet discovered in the 18th century, much more water leaves Lake Bohinj than enters it, which led to the discovery of subterranean sources of water. At its deepest the lake is 40 meters.The clear waters are the habitat of brown trout, burbot, European chub, common minnow and Arctic char, eight genera of molluscs, as well as of numerous algae species. It is a popular day trippers’ destination for swimming and other water sports. On the shore is a statue of the legendary Goldhorn (Zlatorog) chamois, whose story was immortalized by the poet Rudolf Baumbach. In Slovene folklore, Goldhorn or Goldenhorn (Slovene: Zlatorog) is a legendary white chamois buck, or alternatively, an Alpine ibex, that had his realm in the heights of Mount Triglav.

One of the alpine hay drying racks

We saw many alpine hay drying sheds along our trip.  They are protected as local heritage now and formerly used to hang hay to dry. Of course, today the farmers use modern technology to make hay bales.

 

We took a cable car up Vogel Mountain, but the spectacular views were hidden by cloud cover. At the restaurant at the top, we tasted a Zlatorog beer, named for the Goldenhorn. It was fairly hoppy but tasted pretty good.

Bled Castle overlooking Lake Bled

Then it was off to Bled Castle! Bled Castle (Slovene: Blejski grad) is a medieval castle built on a precipice above the city of Bled in Slovenia, overlooking Lake Bled.  It is visible from our balcony at the hotel. It is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia. Nowadays, the castle is essentially a historical museum with a collection that represents the lake’s history. The castle was first described  in a 22 May 1011 deed granting The Bishops of Brixen ownership issued by Emperor Henry II and it was their residence for eight centuries. Then  it passed to the Austrian House of Habsburg in 1278. The oldest part of the castle is the Romanesque tower. In the Middle Ages more towers were built and the fortifications were improved. Other buildings were constructed in the Renaissance style.  The buildings are arranged around two courtyards, which are connected with a staircase.

The Duke and Duchess inviting the wedding guests up to the upper courtyard for the wedding celebration

There is a chapel in the upper courtyard, which was built in the 16th century and renovated around 1700, when it was also painted with illusionist frescoes. The castle also has a drawbridge over a moat. While we were there, they were setting up for a wedding. As we were leaving the guests arrived, and were greeted by the Duke and Duchess (enactors in costume) who invited them to climb the staircase to the upper courtyard to witness the wedding.

We returned to the hotel, took a meandering stroll to the lake and relished in the afternoon sunshine.

Dinner was a buffet served at the hotel. It did feature some regional specialties, but like all buffets it was fairly ordinary.   It is very difficult to prepare food and have it sit in a warmer for a while, before it is consumed, and have it taste fresh.

 

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Flight Information and arrival Day – 1/2

We’re off!

We had arranged to have our “required” PCR test on Tuesday September 14 at the CVS in Williamsburg. They had assured us that they have a 1 or 2 day turn around of test results. We left New Point with no results, just a notice that our test results are pending. So we left anyway on Thursday, September 16, hoping we would receive a negative test result before we needed to show it. Fingers crossed!

Watching the rain from the Lufthansa Lounge at Dulles

We made it to Dulles (IAD) on time and without any issues. It was starting to sprinkle as we taxied out onto the runway in Richmond. Our flight from IAD to Frankfort had a delayed departure from 5:55 pm until 7:00. Since we are flying business class, we get to take advantage of the layover at Dulles in the Lufthansa Lounge.  So how bad can it be?

View from our balcony. at. Lake Bled

Therefore we were booked on a later flight from ,  to   so we arrived in Slovenia at 1:30 pm, transferred to Lake Bled and our resort Rikli Balance Hotel, with a balcony overlooking Lake Bled.

So we spent the last 18 hours traveling or waiting in the airports. By the way, our negative results for our PCR tests came through from CVS early Friday morning (about 2:30 AM).  And, when we arrived in Slovenia, the immigration police only asked for our passports and proof of Covid vaccinations. Go figure!

We have a group dinner tonight but not until 6:45 pm. We’re staying awake to try to adjust our bodies’ internal clocks! Naturally, we’ll shower and change out of travel clothes. before we join the others.

Sitting Area in our room

Pretty modern, don’t you think?

 

 

n Bled, people come for the landscape and stay for the cake. Cream cake (kremna rezina) to be specific. Lighter-than-air puff pastry floats atop vanilla whipped cream and a custard pastry cream, each slice trimmed to a perfect square. Dating back to the days of the Hapsburgs, there are versions all over the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, but the Slovenians argue theirs is fluffier and creamer than their neighbors. Even more, they say the perfect renditions are found only in Bled. When the nation granted the dish protected origin status, it agreed; the designation only applies to kremna rezina made in this scenic city (where it was first made by Chef Ištvan Lukačević). Happily for you, to make it at home the way they do on the shores of Lake Bled, you need fewer than a dozen ingredients.

Dinner tonight was at the Kavarna Park which. is a restaurant and cafe,  well known for their homemade ice cream and Slovenien Lake Bled Cream Cake or Kremna  rezina affectionally known as Kremsnita!  Both Pat and I chose the fish for the evening. Pat because she prefers fish, and I was being good.  In hindsight, I should have chosen the meat to get to try both. However, fellow diners were willing to share especially towards the end when all were stuffed to the gills. We began the meal with a salmon paté with a salad.

Salmon Paté

The next course was a tempura style shrimp on a risotto of faro which was followed by the entrée.  Our entree was Mediterranean Sea bass, with

Shrimped Tempura style

carrots, turnips and  a vegetable risotto. The dessert was a raspberry chocolate mousse with house made vanilla ice cream which was excellent

Mediterranean Sea bass with risotto

dessert of chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream

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Paris 2020 Epilogue

Today is September 16th 2020 and we have been back from Paris for 7 months and as the US is set to exceed 200 thousand deaths from the China Virus life goes on.

Yes were wearing masks more often, especially when shopping whether for groceries or auto parts, here in Mathews we still have less than 25 cases.  So the rick is low, we are lucky to live in a rural area and have fewer people who congregate in large crowds and when we do most are very careful.

No one knows where we are headed and whether there will be a vaccine available in the near future and more importantly it will be effective.

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Paris Day 14 (2020) The Finally!

Well it’s Sunday here in Paris the first day following the French Prime Ministers order to close all non-essential services. Sunday is normally a day for families to be out and about maybe a walk in the park with the children or grandchildren but not this Sunday.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe ordered most shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities to close starting at midnight on Saturday and told people to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Philippe was speaking at a news conference after the public health authority said 91 people had died in France and almost 4,500 were now infected.

“I have decided to close all non-essential locations, notably cafés, restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs and shops,” he said. “We must absolutely limit our movements.”

Exceptions to the ban will include grocery stores, pharmacies and petrol stations.

We were out and about this morning and Paris was looking more like a ghost town than Paris.  Fortunately the Bolangerie on Avenue Mozart was open and were were able purchase bread and Croissant aux Almonds.

Were hoping to find a renegade cafe or Bistro open for dinner but we will have to settle for cleaning out the refrigerator, we have bread, cheese, terrine and salad, we also have eggs etc so our last meal will not be exquisite but filling.

We depart for the airport at 0515 tomorrow morning flying through JFK and then on to Richmond.

Were were briefed by Paula and Martin who returned Saturday to JFK here was their experience:

This was our experience. Yours may be different. They seem to be learning as they go.

We got up to get off the plane but were told to sit back down because we had to fill out a form that needed to be filled out before we could deplane per the CDC. I am assuming they did not learn about this until they opened the doors and were told about it. So have a pen ready.

As soon as we each filled it out we could get back in line to get off the plane. Fill out the form ASAP so you can get in line because at the end of the Jetway were two CDC reps who were taking everyone’s form, temperature and asking questions about where you have been and how you’ve felt the last 14 days. So that took a while even though the plane was half empty.

They strongly suggested to self quarantine for 14 days if able, which we plan on doing even though we feel fine, just want to make sure all is good with all the traveling.

They gave us a card on corona virus information. KEEP THE CARD, at least until you go through customs.

When Paula and I went through global entry, I got an X on mine so I had to go through a side door in the middle of the Kiosks before getting in line that was not marked properly. Paula happened to ask the guy in the room if this is where we went for the X. It was, and the guy scanned my passport and asked if I had the card and asked me to show it to him.

Once in line we saw people sent back  to that side door because they had an X on their paper. One gentleman with an X did not have his card so Paula gave him hers and then once we got up to the customs guy he cleared me right away, but asked Paula some questions and for her card and almost sent her back but let her pass because I had mine.

After that it was the usual, pick up your luggage and then in your case, re-check it in for your next flight.

Only Time will tell! As a note – this is our shortest stay in Paris in a very long time.

😩

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Paris Day 13 (2020)

Good morning Paris!

Well the natives are restless so we decided to cal the airline to investigate our options as more and more news come out about cancelling flights back to the US in the next week. This all being the results of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the News media.  ARG!

So as you can imagine we are on hold listening to music and being told how important our business is the American Airlines.

Note; There is still plenty of toilet paper on the shelves here in Paris!

The plan for today is to head out to the Puces de Vanves Fea market at Avenue de la Porte de Vanves and rue Marc Sangnier (Arr 14) Metro: Porte de Vanves. Hopefully we will get by the President Wilson Market and get some fish for dinner and resupply on fruit and vegetables.

Well our best played plans were blown all to hell so we decided to shop locally and cook dinner in tonight.  We had a nice dinner of Cod Fish, cauliflower mashed potatoes and asparagus, a couple of glass of a nice Cote du  Rhône and a shared dessert of mille-feuille and an Operá

New this evening said France is closing all restaurants, shop etc so I back on the phone with the GOFARREWARDS folks bring to make arrangement to fly home.

 

 

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