Just wanted to let everyone know that we now have 26 people signed up for the trip so I felt it important to get the word out as we have less than 10 places left on this tour! Here is the info from a previous post...
At last! I have the trip to Croatia arranged for this coming fall. This is a perfect time to visit Croatia, as the weather is pleasant (high temperatures in the mid to upper 60s) and the large crowds are gone.
The tour will run from October 5 -16.
I've planned the tour based on the areas that many of your ancestors originated. We will begin in Opatija, which is a resort town which was a favorite of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchs. During our stay in Opatija we will see the sites of the Istrian peninsula. Opatija is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic.
Croatia has had migrations of people over the centuries. One such group are the Vlaci or Vlach. In a small area of Istria they speak Istro-Roumanian, some people in the region are descended from those people who may have originally come from Wallachia, now present day Roumania/Bulgaria.
While in Istria we will visit Pula, which has the best-preserved example of a Roman Coliseum.
The region of Gorski Kotar saw migrations of Bohemians (present day Czech Republic) as was as people from Tyrol (present day NE Italy). Some churches in the area were built by these people.
During our visit to Gorski Kotar we will visit the village of Delnice. This town was at one time the limit of the Roman Empire, as evidenced by the ruins of the ancient Roman wall (much like Hadrians wall in the UK)
We will see the reason Gorski Kotar is called the Green Heart of Croatia when we visit Risnjak Park. This region was once part of Napoleon's Empire. Remants of that Empire can be seen in some surnames of French origin, such as Gervais, still found in the area. Napoleon raised an awareness of ethnicity among Croatians.
I would like to mention that I have attempted to make this more than a "tour through the window of the bus". To accomplish that I have planned a tour that will allow us to see the variety that is Croatia, yet not spend all our time traveling by bus and transfer from hotel to hotel. As they say, "been there done that" and it is not the way to see and savor the country! So the first 4 nights we will be in at a hotel in Opatija. One night we will stay at Plitivica, 2 nights in Split and 3 nights in Zagreb. This will give us a real opportunity to "get a feel for the places we visit." This is a very unique tour.
Next day... we travel to Plitvica Lakes National Park. Anyone who saw the recent PBS special about this amazing natural area will anticipate visiting there. Having been there I can attest to the fact that it is truly amazing. We will stay overnight at Hotel Jezero in the heart of the Park.
Zadar is the oldest Croatian city on the coast. It also has descendants of Arbanasi, Christians originally from Albania who fled the invading Ottoman Turks. At some point they adapted Croatian surnames
Our last stop in Dalmatia will be the city the Italians called Spalato which means palace, as the Roman Emporer Dioclecia built a summer palace there. Croatians call this .... Split. Many Croatians immigrating to America listed Spalato as their former residence. Split has been in existence for 1,700 years
Many of us are familiar with Tamburitza music, but Croatia has many more styles of music. One that is very popular is Klapa, unique to the Adriatic region. We will have the opportunity to listen to a klapa group while in Split. If you go to the web page below and click on the symbol near the bottom of the page that looks like a lightening bolt you can hear a klapa
A unique part of our trip will include taking the new high speed Bombardier train from Split to Zagreb. This will allow us to view countryside not seen by the average tourist traveling by bus or car in Croatia
Once in Zagreb we will have a tour of the old and the new Zagreb. Dinner will be at the Hotel Dubrovnik (owned by American Croatians from Cleveland) The evening will include seeing a folklore ensemble at Ljubekov Gaj (Ljubekov's woods)
On Friday we have the entire day in Zagreb.... IMHO that is little time to see all the wondrous sites of this old city... I have arranged for visit to the Croatian National Archives which holds many records of interest to family genealogists.
We may see how our ancestors lived when we stop at the ethno village of Kumrovec. This was also the birthplace of the communist dictator Tito. (not that I am a fan of this butcher but American Croatians need to know what Croatians suffered through! And besides the ethno village will be of interest so we can see how our ancestors may have lived before they emigrated)