Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Split, Croatia

After leaving Venice, the ship sailed to Split in Croatia. The main reason we selected this cruise was that it was in an area we had not explored before and it is much easier getting to these places by sea rather than road.

Split is a historic town, named after a type of broom that is native to the area. It is home to ther ruins of Diocletian's palace. We decided not to stay in town and had booked a hiking trip to Krka falls.

First, a sunrise over the Adriatic.

A Roman aqueduct with greenhouses below.

It was cloudy with bits of sun as we started. The drive was beautiful but most of my photos have a reflection from the interior of the bus.

These two are slightly overexposed photos of the river as we climbed to the falls.

We were dropped off the bus and walked past this pretty spot to the little village and the boardwalk that goes to the falls.

A map of the area.

There is a little reconstructed village at the top of the boardwalk. A water driven mill is an interesting place to visit. The other buildings have been turned into a cafe and tourist shop and other amenities. But they've kept the place looking untouched. The modern restrooms are in a hollow that you walk down to so they are out of sight.

A little fake donkey to show how people traversed these hills in the past.

There are many waterfalls here. This is the one near the mill. You can see some other small ones in the reflection photos above.

After walking through the mill, we went to a lookout spot where we could see some of the falls.

Looking out below the falls.

We set off on the boardwalk. It was supposed to be one-way. You go out and around to the bridge with the best view and then return. In the process, you go down a number of steps and then have to come up a steeper flight at the end. But there were people who circumvented this process. So we had to contend with crowding on the narrow boardwalk and people going both ways on the steps.

Crossing this bridge is the first step.

The water is very clear.

Walking past calm, shady, serene spots.

Looking up at the canopy of trees with the sun shining through them.

Looking down to see the canopy reflected in the water.

Past many little falls. The river is a braided stream here, with many little rivulets that wax and wane as the water level increases and decreases. There are times in the spring when the boardwalk is flooded.

There were wildflowers in bloom.

At one view point, you can see the little village on the other side with the falls in between.

Finally, one ends up on a bridge with a spectacular view of the main falls.

After crossing the bridge, one winds one'e way up a flight of stairs with more view points to look at the falls from different angles.

Along the way, we found this.

A final couple of views of the river as we start our journey back to Split. This was a beautiful location and I loved how calm it was even with lots of people around.

I captured a few more photos from the bus to show the landscape around. It was mountainous but also very populated.

We came back to the Adriatic in the distance with Split sprawled across the hills leading to it.

The clouds had turned into rain clouds and it was spitting water as we came back to Split. However, we didn't hang around on the ship. We headed into town to see the ruins.

This is the Silver Gate. The other gates are Gold and Bronze and one more which I don't remember. This is the most striking one. There are shops all along the outside.

We didn't climb the tower. It was extremely windy and raining a bit so we were just walking around trying not to slip on the marble tiles and absorbing the ambiance of the place. It isn't very big but there is a lot to see.

At this point, the wind was really bad and while it wasn't raining hard, it was blowing sideways into us. Looking out from the ruins to a modern street.

Underneath the ruins, there is a crypt and a spot where they put garbage. This room is a treasure trove for archeologists. The rest of the underground space is devoted to shops and it was crowded due to the rain and wind outside.

This is the Bronze gate. It is between two shops. We exited through it.

The street outside is right on the water and lined with palm trees. It would have been a nice spot to linger had the weather cooperated.

 Looking out at the harbor and the ships in it. The Dalmatian coast has a lot of islands and there is a government ferry service that goes to the various islands. There are also speed boats that one can take to a specific island. Some are inhabited and others are not.

We headed back to the ship which was just to the left of that last photo and got ready for the next day which was going to be a long one.

Fiber doings

I'm interrupting the travelogue for a quick fiber update.

I started knitting the Turn About Wrap with 4 natural colored alpaca yarns my daughter brought back from Peru. It has been going quite fast so far. If the colors are numbered 1-4 from white to dark brown, I decided to do the center triangles in #1 (white) and #3 (the second darkest brown). Now I am doing the two outer triangles in #2 (lightest brown) and #4 (darkest brown). It looks like chocolate to me!

The colors are not very good in this photo but you can see one of the outer triangles on the right if you look carefully. The colors in the first photo are truer.

I also went back to spinning the red yarn I was working on during the Tour de Fleece. It is all done now. Both sets of singles are completed and I will be plying soon.

Photo from July showing the two braids. The warm one is on the left and the cool one on the right.

First bobbin.

Second bobbin almost completed. It is now done. The remaining fiber is visible in the bottom. The warm red is on top and the cool red below. 

Monday, January 1, 2018


The first day of our cruise was still in Venice. Since we had already seen what we wanted to see, we had booked a trip to Padua.

I got this lovely reflection in a river on the way to Padua.

We were dropped off at this lovely park, the Prato Della Valle, with a water moat around it. More reflections. I loved the architecture in Padua so there will be lots of buildings in this post. There are a number of statues of famous people (some not so famous) from Padua or who were associated with Padua. I thought it was circular but it is oval and it is called the square in the center of town.

Paths criss-cross the center garden.

Obligatory pigeon content.

From the park we walked to the Basilica of St. Anthony.

Another gorgeous reflection on the way.

That is the Basilica. Our first view of it. There is a better picture to follow from the other side.

This is the St. Anthony to whom Catholics pray when they can't find something. It is a very large Basilica. I didn't take photos inside as it was both dark and prohibited. The altar of the church is by Donatello. Yes, I know he was a Ninja Turtle. But he was a famous Italian sculptor before that.

The entrance.

This is a statue of General Gattamelata, by Donatello. It is in the square outside the Basilica. It was one of the first life-size statues cast in bronze.

This is the 'better' photo of the Basilica. As you can see, the light wasn't in the right place so I got one of my photos with the sun's glow behind the object. No solar flare as it was a cloudy day. But it gives you the idea of how big the Basilica is. After visiting the church, we walked to the market.  I took this even though the light wasn't great, to show how narrow the streets are.

The market is outside. The building is used for meetings.

I was intrigued by the ceiling in the first floor gallery and tried to go up but was stopped and asked which group I was with and where my pass was. So this is all one can see.

The ground (first) floor of the building has stalls but I didn't go inside. I was peeved at not being allowed up just to look at the ceiling!

This is the entrance to one of the city government buildings. When you look inside the archway, this is what you see.

Our meeting point was outside the city government building so we hung out there for a few minutes. A mime was having fun. He'd move when people around him weren't looking but freeze when they looked at him.

Looking around at buildings in the area.

Just behind the mime is the Cafe Pedrocchi. It is where revolutionary Paduans met to plot overthrowing the monarchy. There are three rooms - a red room, a white room, and a green room. The green room is where you can sit for free so the waiters don't bother even noticing you are there. The other rooms are where you sit if you want to order. Because of its historic significance, it is open to the public. You can walk through it at any time. I did but felt odd taking photos so I didn't.

That building covered up by fabric and scaffolding on the right is the cafe. Local police in front of the cafe made a change to having just the buildings in the photo.

It wasn't a very long trip because we were sailing mid-afternoon. One of the things that annoys me about cruises is that while they say that they will leave you behind if you are not on board by a specified time, they end up waiting for tardy people. That happened that afternoon. We waited for a couple who had gone into Venice. sigh

As a result, I didn't have my camera with me when the ship sailed. I was walking around exploring the ship and noticed we were moving. So I ran up to the top deck and enjoyed the cruise through the laguna and seeing St. Mark's Square, San Giorgio Maggiore and other sights from the perspective of the laguna. But no photos.

The ship was escorted by a tug that was secured to the ship by cables. One of the other passengers said this was to increase employment because usually, when the ship sailed, the pilot was onboard and all we had was the small pilot boat next to us to take him off. 

I love watching how the ship operates. I hang out of the balcony watching how the lifeboats operate, how the shore crew act when the ship is leaving. They hang around doing nothing, chatting with each other for a long time. Then suddenly they uncoil the ropes that connect the ship to the dock, get in their vehicle(s) and drive off. I can't see whether the ship's crew signal them by hand or whether it is by phone or radio. I can't see what the ship's crew are doing at all.

I also try to watch the pilot get off. The pilot boat comes very close to the ship (it is tiny compared to the ship so it is interesting how close it gets), and then the pilot and another person (usually) jump from a door on the cruise ship onto the deck of the pilot boat. Then the boat zips off.