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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger - December 7, 2012

Mad Dogs And Englishmen, Part IV (Finale)

Continuing our voyage on the Adriatic Sea, next was the alluring peninsula of Split on the Dalmatian coast. Split is the second largest city in Croatia. The history of Split must include the Emperor Diocletian. He took power in 284 AD and stepped down in 305 AD. Emperor Diocletian built a large walled palace in the Roman style with an aqueduct, which is still in use. The town today is a paradise for tourists. Split joined Croatia when the Yugoslavian state broke up in 1991. The beautiful port of Split was built along the easily defended and finest harbor in the Adriatic.

We moved on to Dubrovnik, Croatia, south of Split. Dubrovnik is a perfect medieval walled city with ancient stone buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and red-tiled rooftops. The main street, the Stradun, is excellent for people-watching in the old town. A Franciscan monastery, a small Hebrew synagogue and a cathedral are close together. The dockside restaurants with coffee houses and shops are filled with the young and old on holiday. We were treated to a three-course meal with wine by servers in native dress in the wooded forest. With its rich history, Dubrovnik is called the “Pearl of the Adriatic.”

I forgot to mention, the crew on the ship were from many foreign lands. Our waiter was Hungarian, the busboy from the Ukraine, the room steward from Indonesia. Also on board were crew members from Romania, Serbia, the Philippines and from all five parts of the former Yugoslavia. There were also many Englishmen.

The English guests on board walked about with dour and reserved expressions. But when you spoke to them, they lit up and were truly friendly, caring and fun to be with. It was a wonderful transition.

Gibraltar is only 2.75 miles long, three quarters of a mile wide and 1396 feet in height. English is the official language. Europe is only eight miles from North Africa at this point. Whoever controls Gibraltar is in a good position to control the passage between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Gibraltar has been a British dependency since 1704. Its currency is the British pound sterling. The British cut into Gibraltar and created numerous paths inside the famous rock. These were fortifications in WWII to discourage German U-boats.

My beautiful wife Lorraine certainly enjoyed shopping in the many stores in the commercial district. Gibraltar is also the home of the famous Barbary Apes.  The Apes are tailless monkeys native to Gibraltar, but not to the rest of the Spanish mainland. Spain has desired control of Gibraltar, but the English are persistent. Two days at sea from Gibraltar and we were back at the port of Southhampton, from where we first departed.

Our 17-day cruise on the Grand Princess was more than we hoped for. I thank my readers for joining Lorraine and I on our wonderful vacation. 

News

The kids may be grown. The marriage may have not worked out. Perhaps retirement affords more free time than was anticipated.

Enter The Transition Network, an national social group featuring an active chapter on Long Island that meets regularly at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library.

Judy Forman, Plainview resident and program co-chair, noted that The Transition Network is an organization of women ages 50 and over who are ‘transitioning’ into the next phase of their lives — whether it be retirement, divorce, losing a loved one or so on — and helping them to meet new people while expanding their horizons.  

Plainview resident Cila Schlanger was eager to attend a two-hour property tax workshop at the Farmingdale Public Library last week — the problem is, so were many other people.

“I was taken aback once I came here because there was such a line,” she said. “I thought it would be a two-hour workshop, but individuals had to wait to be helped on a first come, first serve basis.”

Residents are trying to save a buck whenever and wherever they can, especially when it comes to property taxes. To try and lend a helping hand, elected officials recently hosted a property tax exemption workshop at the library, drawing residents from across Nassau County.


Calendar

Sonny And Perley

Saturday, July 26

Young Israel Blood Drive

Sunday, July 27

Fun In The Sun

Monday, July 28



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com