I realise that it is now a few days since my last posting and that’s because for the last six days, I have been battling a severe dose of gastro which has knocked me round solidly. It started after we left the ship.and it wasn’t until last night when we reached Dubrovnik that I was able to see a doctor and get some medication. I now feel a bit more human, although still very weak after not eating for five or six days. I think that between Budapest and here, I have seen every toilet on the entire route! I found that Imodium only works for a while, but it doesn’t do anything to help with the tummy cramps and nausea.
In Zagreb, I really saw very little other than our hotel room, although we did manage a walk in the afternoon to the city square. My only impression of this city is that it has a fine collection of tramways.
Our next section was to Split and we travelled there via the town of Zadar. This seaside town has a couple of very interesting things – apart from the ruins of a Roman forum and a Byzantine church that dates back to 900 AD. The first is a sea organ. This is located under the harbour wall and a the waves hit the wall, they compress air in the pipes so that the result is a pleasant series of random notes being produced.I can I can image that this type of noise could be used by the Sirens to attract unresisting sailors to their lair. The second object is a giant circular solar power cell,, about 20 metres in diameter, which is used for powering electronic light shows at night.
Travelling through Zadar, put us right on the Adriatic coast. The lush flat landscape and cultivated areas that we saw for the first part of the day, have now been replaced by harsh and rocky limestone with small weather-beaten bushes and small pine trees. I’s much more reminiscent of then countryside of Greece. We travelled through a number of towns that still displayed damage from the ‘Homeland War’ in the mid 1990’s. NATO forces were needed to help Croatia repel the Serbs who wanted to annex all areas in which communities of Serbian Muslims were living.
We spent just one night in Split which has a very pretty harbour with a backdrop of restaurants along its length. Towering over all of the these are the relatively intact remains of the Roman Emperor Diocletes. He ruled from 284 – 305 AD and was born on the Dalmatian Coast. He inherited the Roman Empire at a time when it was economically impoverished and by splitting it into two with Maximianus, he is responsible for the creation of the second stage of the Roman Empire, or what we sometimes call the Byzantine empire. Thousands of people still live inside the area of the palace and it acts as something of a ‘city within a city’.
We travelled on to Dubrovnik along the windy coastal road, which took us past superb coastal scenery and tiny villages by the sea, or otherwise perched on the steep mountainside. I was so happy to reach our hotel and have the doctor visit. He gave in an injection in the bum and left me with a series of prescriptions. It was 7.30 pm when he left and i had just enough time to get to the pharmacy in the old town to buy my medicine. To get there, I had to walk down the hill to the city gate, across the drawbridge and through the winding, defensive laneways to the centre of town. When I got there, I simply couldn’t believe my eyes. Here was a a complete medieval town inside a series of intact walls with a long main street, Placa -Stradun, travelling from one end of town to the other. The way it was lit at night made the limestone buildings glow as white coloured objects. There were some buildings that were damaged during the war, but these have been all rebuilt. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel well enough to stay around, so I retraced my steps back uphill to the hotel. Jill had gone out with the group to a restaurant for dinner and I had to be satisfied with a slice of dry toast.
This morning, I’m feeling a lot brighter, so we walked around the town for a couple of hours before I decided to come back to my room and crash. We explored some of the back streets and about half of the ramparts around the walls before I ran out of energy.`