Archive for November, 2012
Day and night, Dubrovnik glitters and shines in every imaginable color. The marble glimmers as if continuously wet, polished by hundreds of years of history, and the city is always alive as tourists and locals mix, eating black ink risotto and gelato of every imaginable flavor. Here are some of our favorite moments.
Dubrovnik, formerly known as Ragusa, is seeped in history, with traces of all the empires that left their mark here still visible below the surface. It’s so beautiful here that it’s easy to see why Dubrovnik changed hands so many times. Ruled by the Venetians, the Hungarians, the Ottomans, the Austro-Hungarian empire, and later by Yugoslavia, it wasn’t until 1991 that Croatia finally gained independence. Consequently, Dubrovnik was heavily attacked by Serbian-Montenegrin factions of the Yugoslav People’s Army who claimed Croatia was part of Montenegro. More than half of the buildings in the old town were damaged by continuous shelling, but this has all since been repaired.
Now only whispers of war remain throughout the city. These can be quietly observed in the form of plaques, or the contrast of newer roof tiles beside older ones. Yet, when you stop and take a closer look, you’ll also notice occasional bullet holes here and there on buildings, and of course the memories live on through the city’s residents.
Gone are the days of pre-booked hotels and finely-tuned travel itineraries. What began as a flawlessly organized trip, reserved down to the last detail has now become a completely spontaneous beast, and I am completely at its mercy.
When you’re on such a long trip, there is no way everything can be completely reserved ahead of time. Still, I had been trying to travel with a buffer of 2-3 weeks of reservations. Well, the Russian Visa Disaster put an end to that organization, and now things are operating in a more or less haphazard jumble with not a reservation in sight.
Team Culture Vixen woke up very early here in Europe with deep anticipation over the US election. I was nervous, excited, and glued to my iphone for the latest news all through dinner last night when the voting first begun.
Finally, early this morning in Europe, the last polls had closed in the US, and to our delight we were greeted by the welcoming flood of democratic blue all across the country!
After casting our votes a few weeks back via overseas voting, the US election has been front place on our minds and in our hearts. Not only that, but it’s also been all the Europeans have been talking about. The first question we’re asked over here is whether we’re for Obama or Romney? Waiters at dinner. Colleagues. Friends. Random people on the street. People on the train when they hear us speaking in English. And let me tell you, I have yet to come across one European that likes Mitt Romney. There is a definite and overwhelming support for Obama throughout Europe, and as of today, a relief over the future of America.
We’re excited to see where the next 4 years will take us!
Recently team Culture Vixen boarded a high-speed train to St Petersburg, Russia from Helsinki, Finland. The journey was to take just 3.5 hours. I was really looking forward to visiting Russia and had a fully-sponsored 10 day press tour lined up with luxury hotels and all sorts of fancy gourmet Russian dinners. Alas, we never got there.
I guess Russia just wasn’t meant to be. An hour into the train ride, after changing our money into Russian Rubles on board may I add, we were denied entry into the country, turned away at the border and sent back to Helsinki on a slow train! Russia was a no go.