Monday, December 31, 2007

Continuing Travels in Croatia

Rain and thunder,and with opened umbrellas we stepped out into the early hours of "traveling day".
As we made our way to the bus stop and looking forward to the 5 hour bus tour back up the coast, we hoped that we had given ourselves enough time to arrive before boarding.
We arrived in Split and found our way across from the bus station to the Ferry line, Jarolina, to secure two tickets passage for the 2 hour ferry ride to the island of Vis.

When the ferry arrived we gathered around in the crowd of Croatians reading themselves to board with their purchases from the mainland. There were pieces of furniture to floral arrangements.
When the signal was given, after,of course, the passengers who were as eager to disembark to Terra fir ma, we all clambered aboard for the 2 hour ferry to the island of Vis.
Upon arriving, we boarded a bus for the 20 minute ride to Komiza on the other side of the island.

Our friends here in our town, have relatives who live 6 months in Komiza and 6 months in our town here in the U.S.! They put us in contact with them and they helped us to settle in an apartment with a beautiful partial view of the bay port.
We walked the waterfront and quickly acclimated to the town and dropped our bags at the apartment, and joined Tonko and Desanka for Pizza dinner at one of the outdoor restaurants along the beautiful waterfront,boats bobbing in the tide.
We were invited to meet them at "Speed Cafe" in the morning just a few feet from their front door for a Cappuccino. We eagerly accepted, and the next morning sat among the villagers and took in all the beauty of the surrounding area and people going about their business.

We made our way up the hill to the church overlooking the bay for a beautiful view and found a tour guide who was glad to set up a tour of the island for the next day.

Off to the beach for a swim to discover it was top-optional for the women, German OLDER women had no problem with this! I did not participate as I did not want to distract the men, being one of the "smaller,younger"women!!
No worries, you couldn't tell the men from the women when they were laying down... Scary!
Swam in the azure blue water which was described as "silk" and floated along with the current, up and down ,a gentle rocking,wonderful!!

After, we walked up the embankment for another beautiful view of the village.
My friend's father was born here in Komiza, and she has a painting of this beautiful village from this vantage point. I often looked at this magnificent painting in wonder, gazing at the red tilled roofs and the church and clock tower as sentinels protecting this ancient village! Now I was viewing it with my own eyes. How wonderful to have a dream come true! But the best part of the day came at sunset as we were privileged to a most magnificent one! It went on forever and each minute the hues became more jeweled! What a day!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My Little Sugar Plum

The Stockings Were Hung By The Chimney With Care

Years ago my mother made our family cross stitched stockings.
My mother had a way with a needle and could sit for hours on end doing this work of art. It truly is a work of art, as you can see by the pictures of these stockings.
The entire family has one including the Grand Children and the spouses.
As my Grand Children are born, I have decided to gift them with their very own stocking bearing their name and hand cross stitched.
My Mother has past and I now have a very dear friend who is equally gifted and that has taken on the task of many hours of stitching for this blessing to my Grandchildren.
I just finished sewing this stocking for Tegan and thought I would share the beautiful work of art that my friend Becky Foster stitched. Thank you Becky for lovingly stitching something these children will always hold dear in remembrance of the Christmas holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Christmas is here!
There are only a few weeks left until the end of the year!
Every year I try to buy the kids I know a Gingerbread House to decorate. This year I was able to sit alongside my three year old Grandson, Ethan,and have the fun and privilege of helping him and watching him decorate "his own" Gingerbread House.
He did a wonderful job decorating it. At one point he looked at me and said,"These are the best treats I've ever had!" as he squeezed his hands together in delight!!
That is what it is all about!
From this year onward, we will be decorating a Gingerbread House every Christmas!
I hear that today he told his momma that he was gonna eat that house, and he meant right now!
I guess he is kinda feeling like Hansel and Gretel when they spied that gingerbread house out in the forest.

Today was our 7th annual Christmas Party for the Rag Doll Construction Company.
We meet every second Wednesday of the month.
We are a group of 6 ladies who enjoy learning about and making cloth dolls.
Whenever we gather we enjoy our time together.So I post a few pictures of our party as well as our Christmas projects.
Gotta go!! I just spotted Santa running away with a tin full of cookies!!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thoughts On Croatia While Traveling Down The Road

I wish I had a box of Crayola Crayons, so that I could capture the true colors of the sun reflecting upon the water; the light hitting the white buildings with the orange tiled roofs.

Each bend in the road reveals tiny hamlets of town and beach. Part turquoise against the Adriatic blue. The water invites you to dive in and float along the shoreline letting the current bob you along.

In the old port of Dubrovnik last night,I watched the boats moored there rise and fall in syncronization to the push and pull of the tide.

The sun has decided to brighten the view and our spirits after two days of bleakness.
It makes the blue of the sea vivid .
In Croatia, a soft blue has been added to the palate of dusty colors of the homes. This color is absent in Italy. Perhaps the blue has been added to pay homage to the beautiful shades of the sea which clings to the coast and inspires the fishermen who earn their living from it.

Last night as we sat at our table on the patio for dinner by the edge of the port, I thought of perhaps another night, one with a warmer,balmier breeze. A more romantic night in this foreign place. A place where so many were speaking so many different languages, enjoying the same evening.
The full moon broke through the clouds and sprinkled it's romantic beams, showing it's lovely face for those who were looking. Then, as quickly as it had appeared, that same "Bella Luna", who showed herself to us one night in the Piazza San Marco, retreated behind the fast moving clouds of the gathering storm, leaving only it's "moon glow" ribbon of light along the bottom of the clouds.
The Old Port and full moon beckon us to return and enjoy what it offers. Perhaps we will some other time.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Before this vacation was planned, Steve found an article about A town called Dubrovnik in a country called Croatia. He had a strong desire to go and check this country out.
The article in the travel section of the newspaper promised that we would not be disappointed and it was a "must see"!
Not knowing much about this country, except that it was part of Yugoslavia at one time, and that there was the very violent war between the Serbs and the Croats, and the great devastation of Bosnia-Hertzegovia, where gorgeous Sarajevo was destroyed,we got a tour book and allotted nine days for exploration.
It was nearly not enough time to see what needed to be seen.
Travel is mostly by bus or car as railway is not fully established there. You can also take boat and Ferry, if the ferry is running. At the end of the season the boats don't run as often.

We took an overnight ferry from Ancona, Italy to Split, Croatia arriving at about 7:00 am.
We quickly crossed the road at the port to the bus terminal and bought a ticket to Dubrovnik, a five hour bus ride south.
We arrived in the rain and it followed us down the coast. Even though the clouds covered the sky, the water was incredible!
We found our way to the Old Town where we had secured reservations for two days, entered the archway of the old town and were met with this beautiful water cistern/ fountain where the people still use the water. A beautiful wide marble street stretched before us and others making their way into the heart of the town.
The Old Town is surrounded by a fortress wall it is protected as it sits on the water with waves crashing against the stones protecting it.
One of the great features is that for a small price you can climb to the top of the wall and walk around the town with an excellent "bird's eye view". The view was spectacular and the rooftops being orange tile gave you that "Fairy Tale" feeling. Dubrovnik is definately a "must see" place!

The Land of Rimini, Italian Resort Fun in the Sun

On to Rimini, an Adriatic Resort town, for a few days relaxation and a quick visit to a country within a country! San Marino.

Rimini is a nice place to be. Wide avenues lined with trees, most homes Villas, beach homes for the summer.
A nice harbor for sail boats, as well as wide sandy beaches with cute bath houses owned by hotels. Bath houses with walkways to the ocean, so one won't burn one's toes in the scorching Italian sun. Spaces alloted with umbrellas and tables matching the bath houses, each color coded to show which Hotel and area of the beach you belong to.
The season was over, but I got such a kick out of the bath houses, I took a grouping of bath house pictures.
We spoke to an English couple who were on holiday and swam every day. The woman described the sea as like silk.

San Marino was intriguing to me, as one is sometimes not familiar with geography until one opens an atlas and explores. I found a wonderful picture in my Eyewitness Travel Guide to Italy, page 354 and that was all I needed to decide that this was a place to explore!

Situated on a small mountain top with beautiful panoramic vistas.

We wait for the bus at the stop to take us there, being told that tickets will be sold on board and being one of the first to be in line to assure that we will be able to take this bus and not have to wait another hour for the next.. As the crowd gathered waiting, a woman on a moped pulled up driving on the sidewalk and taking her helmet off. While all this is happening, the woman who is first in line told her husband to go to the moped. I lost something in her speaking to him in Italian, and watched thinking that it was a friend coming to join them on the short trip that we were about to make. Meanwhile, the crowd shifted to this moped that had now become a makeshift ticket booth. The moped lady had flipped the seat open to reveal a cash box and tickets. We stood there and missed the opportunity to get into this ticket line, and now people were crowding all around her we were now LAST in line!

A young girl maneuvered herself so that she became first in line. The ticket lady put her in her place. We finally got our tickets and were situated in a nice seat on the bus after all.

The whole trip this young woman was geting up and talking to the driver, we could never really figure out what it is she is needing, we go about our touring and arrive at San Marino and explore the town.

It is quite simply splendid to the eye. I had greatly desired to spend the night there but the prices were prohibitive for us on our budget. I was so glad we had not booked here. Although a very beautiful setting, everywhere we went the streets were lined with duty-free tourist shops.
I was ready to return to Rimini on the next bus leaving after touring the town.
Back at the bus stop the crowds were trippled now because it was the end of the day.

Our bus pulled into the bus area and we spied the young woman, now licking a gelato .
We felt as if we would not make the bus and as it maneuvered to park, people started to run to be one of the first to board.
Steve motioned to follow the young lady, one who obviously knew the ropes and headed around the back of the bus as it was still trying to park itself. We made a run for it following close at her heels, the correct decision as we became two of about eight at the front of the line. As the bus driver opened the door there were people passing tickets overhead including us,stretching as far as they could, tickets literally in their fingertips, as we were all separated in the rush to get into the best possible position! We were like a flock of sheep pushing to get into the bus, one by one going through the gate. The young girl/woman had lead the way and we were happy that we had followed her and were now on the bus and assured a ride back.I could only wonder what the bus driver was thinking of all of us, Italians and tourists, as he looked on. Probably that soon the tourist season would soon be over!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Yesterday morning it started to rain, and we were delighted!
The sound of the drops of rain hitting the roof was a wonderful sound. So wonderful that I opened the deck doors to fully enjoy and hear it more clearly!
The rain forecast was for about 1/4 inch of rain. This is most welcomed as we have been in a fire hazard alert for so long. Well, it rained steadily all day. We got 2.71 inches!
We are still below our normal average rainfall. I don't really know what that really means, because "It NEVER rains in California!"
There is supposed to be yet another storm arriving, and I am looking forward to a cozy afternoon!

What The Fire Left Behind

A few weeks ago Southern California was surrounded by a ring of fire.
We had two friends who lost their homes to the Fallbrook fire.

I went by a Mobile home park where two friends from church a live.
There were 250 units in this sweet park surrounded by ancient oak trees in a cute hamlet.
50 units were left standing these friends were spared their homes amongst this rubble.

Ho Ho Ho!!! Merry Christmas!!?

I had this great idea that I would buy these Santa hats and take a really really cute picture of my Grand Kids. It is really cute, but it was very stressful trying to get the shot!

We are working remodeling our spare room for guests this Holiday season and just happened to walk outside to view this!

How many people missed this?

God displays his beauty.

Another Beautiful Sunset in California