A Journal, with Pictures

Croatia 2014

by on Jun.08, 2014, under Flying, Happenings

View from our room

View from our room

On Wednesday, May 28 we arrived in Dubrovnik from Rome via Munich. Since my mother’s side of the family came from this part of the world, we had wanted to visit Croatia for many years. This turned out to be the perfect opportunity. On landing we could see there were already a number of Cirrus on the field at the very modern Dubrovnik airport. Our cab driver turned out to be a very nice man who gave us a tour guides narrative as we wound along the coast to our hotel, the Valamar Lacroma. We checked into the hotel and at the COPA registration desk and went to our room. After getting settled we did a little exploring, taking the view of the Dalmatian Coast. Early evening we met the other arriving COPA members for cocktails on the terrace while watching a spectacular sunset. We then enjoyed dinner at restaurant Langusto at the hotel. We met a number of European members and enjoyed hearing about their flights to Dubrovnik.

Friday dinner

Thursday after a great breakfast at the hotel, again overlooking the sea, we join the organized countryside tour. The tour took us along the coast, past the airport, out into the country side. Our first stop was to visit a typical country house that was over 500 years old. We then proceeded to The Castle of Sokol. This fortress has been in existence since the first century and has played a major role in protecting Dubrovnik through the years. We then traveled to a country Inn where we enjoyed a typical large Croatian lunch including local wine. It was a very jolly lunch,and we added more COPA members as friends.

Country Tour guide Sokol CastleView from SokolCountry Lunch

After lunch we returned to the hotel and attended the flight briefing for the flight to Mostar the next morning. This is a 25 minute VFR flight, and I must say the most thoroughly planned 25 minute flight I have ever witnessed. First the COPA Europe members are very well organized and secondly, the local aviation authorities imposed special rules to keep the flight of over 15 aircraft safe.

Brdiefing for Mostar

After the briefing time we boarded buses for the short trip to the Old City for dinner at restaurant Klarisa. Another very pleasant and jolly evening. The next morning, after breakfasts we boarded buses for the airport. Joyce and I were paired up with two Europe members who happened to fly a Piper Meridian. Ronnie and Christoph turned out to be very nice and treated us to a million dollar view of the coast that included a approach and low fly by to a grass strip on one of the islands. Very impressive airplane and a added treat for us. We were joined by our guide and started our tour of Mostar, Bosnia, that showed lots of evidence from the war that took place in the 1990’s. Bullet pock marks on buildings, shell holes in some building and some still not rebuilt. The city is inhabited by both believers in Islam and Christ, but is purported to be peaceful today. We visited a typical old Turkish house, and enjoyed coffee and sweets, then toured the village including the market before stopping for lunch. Mostar is located on a river and has a very famous picturesque bridge and cobblestone streets. We had lunch with one a European couple, he  from the UK and she  from Germany, and they had toured the South Western US by Cirrus.

Ddubrovnik flight linePiper Glass CockpitDalmation CoastMostar Guide Enjoying Turkish coffeeMostar Bridge

After returning from Mostar we freshened up and then took the short walk to restaurant Lido where we enjoyed a typical Croatian dinner and folklore entertainment. Saturday there were Seminars, however Joyce and I elected to start our tour of the Old City of Dubrovnik early. We walked the city which is beautiful, having been essentially almost completely restored after war. Many of the inhabitants have moved out of the old city to the new city because the property values our higher for shops and tourist attractions. The streets were packed with tourists from the cruise ships that had docked, but the city was still very impressive even though it was crowded. We explored, visited the outdoor market and walked half of the wall, which is a challenging walk. After lunch we joined the COPA group for a gondola ride up the hill behind the city for a spectacular view, then the guided tour of the city.

Main street DubrovnikMain Square DubrovnikDubrovnik ChurchDubrovnik MarketDubrovnik square Old City from Wall Some of my people

It was warm and the shaded side streets with their little shops were appealing especially one of the gelato shops. All the shops are marked with  with the name of the establishment on uniform lanterns.

Dubrovnik from the gondolaOld City side streetDolce VitaGelato TimeDubrovnik HarborDubrovnik GuideMain Fountain DubrovnikDubrovnik FountainJoyce Lisa and Andy

After the tour we relaxed and got ready for the E12 Migration Gala at the hotel. This was a very festive event, with beautiful decorations and a band. After dinner, a couple of dances and saying good-by to the many new friends we made and the old ones we enjoyed, we headed for bed early. Next morning the alarm went off at 3:00 AM and we started our journey back. Reflecting during the long flight we both agreed, visiting Croatia with the COPA group made it even more special and made it a great trip.

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