Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cold Drinks With The Most Beautiful View

That's what the sign said.  And who are we to argue?  Dubrovnik, Croatia is a UNESCO World Heritage site sitting on the coast of the Adriatic Sea so beauty and history are a given.  Our plan was to spend about a week in Croatia:  a couple of days in Dubrovnik, a day on the island of Korčula, a couple of days on the island of Hvar, then drive back to Dubrovnik from Split.  We probably should have spent less time on ferries and transiting from place to place but if the surrounding islands and coastline were anything like Dubrovnik, then we'd better get started on those views and drinks.

Dubrovnik, especially the walled old city, did not disappoint:  the marbled main pedestrian thoroughfare, the narrow and steep streets, and the warm, blue sea lapping up against the pebbly shores.  This, in itself, isn't all that remarkable and unique when considering the many coastal towns of the Adriatic and Mediterranean but Dubrovnik, unlike the others, managed to reemerge as a tourist hotspot following its relentless shelling during Croatia's 1991 Homeland War.  We wasted no time getting acquainted with the beautiful views and cold drinks. 
Truth in advertising.  Who knew?
Aside from heavily fortified walls surrounding the Old Town (up to six meters thick!), any potential intruders would have also dealt with crazy-steep streets and narrow steps. 
Good luck hauling an enormous suitcase around this town
The view of the harbor while walking along the top of the Old Town walls:
There would be far fewer tourists in the Old Town if they had to swim to shore from where the cruise ship anchored
"Would you mind snapping a photo of us in front of this beautiful view?"
 Then off to the beach...
Now if I just had that cold drink...
The immediate future is lookin' pretty bright (cold drinks!), so (as the song goes) I gotta wear shades
And, of course, the view from the top of Mount Srd.
Dubrovnik:  The Pearl of the Adriatic
Our 20 hours or so spent in Korčula were all about the food and drink.
Octopus Salad
Glass of wine following a wine-tasting
Cocktails at a shore-side bar
Early the next morning we were off to the island of Hvar...
Hvar is a somewhat moneyed and hip destination:  yachts crowd the port and there are many bars and clubs catering to both the well-heeled and backpack-schlepping university students.
"We're just using the kayaks to get out to our yacht.  Really."
"The scooter is for getting to those secluded coves and beaches that are too small for our yacht.  And the views are better.  Seriously."  
Hiking down to the beach
After we returned to Dubrovnik from Split --- our last night in Croatia --- we came upon this:
Clearly not referring to the cocktail
How about cold drinks? 

Monday, August 6, 2012

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

It's the Olympics.  And in London.  Not much needed in the way of commentary so let's get on with the pictures...
London 2012!
The cyclists in the men's road cycling event (250 km!) raced past us in just a few seconds.
Clockwise from top left:  Insanely fast cyclists, insanely fast cyclists, insanely fast cyclists, and insanely fast cyclists.
Next up was women's soccer.  When we bought tickets for this event we didn't realize the match was in Glasgow --- a ~five hour train-ride from London --- and when we arrived the match between the US and Columbia was already underway.  
The American women dominating...
USA for the win!
In between the two matches held that evening (US vs. Columbia then N. Korea vs. France)
The food and drink selection at the soccer stadium.  What the hell is "Beefy Drink" and why no beer?!?
"Inspire a generation" is the London 2012 Olympic motto.  Not sure what kind of inspiration I'm suppose to draw from all those empty seats...
...but no question as to what kind of inspiration this is.
The next morning --- after taking an over-night sleeper bus back to London --- Lisa and I headed out to Eton Dorney for some rowing.
The American boat out front and going on to win (clockwise from top left).  They dominated this race and eventually went on to win gold.  These are some seriously bad-ass women!
You don't see this everyday:  A Saudi Arabian woman sculling (the leader) while wearing a head scarf.
Props to this British youngster's enthusiasm for Team GB:
"Bloody hell, I paint my face and we still come up short?"
And props to a distinctly British cocktail:  Pimm's No. 1 Cup.
You two pour what you want into your glasses...
...and I'll drink the rest!
As well as to an iconic British landmark...
Tower Bridge in the Olympic spirit
Everywhere and everyone seemed to be channeling all things Olympic: 
Radishes cut and placed to look like the Olympic rings in a Japanese restaurant.
London 2012!