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  • nigeldalton


We've been to Croatia a few times now but this was the first time we've been with Marella Cruises - just wanted to see what they were like compared to other lines. There were also a couple of destinations we'd not been to before. We didn't plan on taking many excursions, only San Marino. The rest of the time we walked on our own.

We flew into Dubrovnik airport from Leeds/Bradford and went straight to our ship, Marella Explorer 2. The next morning we were in Kotor, which we'd been to before and the way into Kotor still is as beautiful as ever. We were 3rd in line, moored at tender behind another at tender and one at port. The tender time was a bit longer than usual but the sea was calm.The old town wasn't the priority destination this time and we walked past it to get to the other side of the harbour. There isn't a very scenic walk around there so we abandoned the idea and went into a hugely packed Kotor for a wander and some lunch. Still, it was good to see it again and find some new nooks and crannies.

The next day was spent at sea, followed by arrival into Ravenna where the main excursion was into Venice but that didn't appeal as it was such a long coach journey and we wanted to see San Marino. Even the coach journey there was quite long but the views when we got there were worth it. There was a guided tour by a lady who we found interesting and who didn't dwell on each feature like it was the most important thing you'd ever seen. Just got the balance right. We then had lunch and bought the T shirt before setting off home. On the way out of Ravenna we'd seen some wetlands and a lot of birds which I couldn't get off to photograph but which, as we were on the best viewing side on the way back, I got to look out for. My general knowledge on bird species isn't good but one of the f4 Photographic members told me that the bird I'd photographed was a Sacred Ibis (thanks Ian). There are quite a few species in the wetlands and I thought an expedition there might be quite a good idea!

The following day we were in Trieste and found it to be much more interesting than we had originally thought it would be. Again, a good walk around, got caught in a shower and had a long steep climb up to Castello di San Giusto which is adjacent to the Cattedrale di San Giusto. There is a good website for the castle (more a fortress really) which focuses on the armoury which has a very good selection of ancient weapons in it. There's not much more to it but the legs got a good workout from the steep climb.

The following day we were in Koper, Slovenia. It is a little bit like Kotor - a walled city, but not as old or as well visited. There's a glass elevator which takes you from the dockside to the main town and a couple of decent shopping streets, mostly selling the usual tourist stuff but an antique shop caught my eye. It had a selection of old cameras in and I was drawn to an old (1930's) Zeiss Ikon Nettar which was in it's original leather case together with the original cable release, invoice, users manual and a tear off strip from the film box which showed you which film to use. It was at a really decent price so came home with me. I have yet to take any images with it - I just need to find the right subject matter.

The final full day saw us in Split - I've always thought it a pretty seafront and some of the back streets are excellent. This time we went completely down the seafront to the left, walked back and had a drink before looking round the old town and heading back to the ship.

In Dubrovnik the following morning the cloud cover was very low and the rain was torrential like I've not seen for years, since Hull was flooded in 2007/2014. It wasn't a short sharp shower, it just kept raining. We were on the coach back to the airport and by the time we got there it had largely cleared. Should have taken some pictures but the windows were really misted up so the camera stayed in it's bag.

Here's a few pictures.



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