Written by Stanley Greenberg Wednesday, 05 December 2012 13:31
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.