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Just back from a fantastic trip to Croatia (or Hrvatska as the Croatians call it).  It was the Husband’s big birthday trip. Our first stop was Istria, a peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic.  That is where my father’s family comes from.   We got to see the town my grandmother came from which was fun.  The town is called Šušnjevica and I spoke about it and painted it here and here.   There will be many more paintings to come, but in the meantime here is a similar plate as the plates I made to give to my cousin’s cousins (got that?) who live in Pula and have, among other things, a vineyard.

Some observations from the trip:

Croatians are a tall people.

Germans are also a tall people and apparently like to take all their clothes off in the sun.

Europeans in general cannot stand in line if their life depended on it.  There may be a semblance of a line say, to get on a catamaran to take one to Hvar, but as soon as that catamaran docks, it’s a free-for-all.  This made the Husband nuts!  (Members of the UK are excluded from this observation. They excel at queuing!)

It amazes me that so many people from other countries can speak multiple languages.  I am always jealous of this.  One time in particular, there was a Croatian who spoke to my cousin’s cousin, who then turned and translated to my cousin in Italian who then turned and translated it into English for us.  Sigh.  I wish I was multi-lingual.  I also wish I was taller, younger, richer and weighed less.

The first native word the Husband learns is the word for beer.  (In Croatian it’s Pivo.)

“Trst” is the Croatian word for the Italian town of Trieste.  Krk is a Croatian island in the Adriatic.  Many of the Croatian words have impossibly long consonant combinations that make it difficult for non-speakers to even try to pronounce.  There are also many accented letters.  The Husband asked a native why they have little or few vowels in many of their words.  She thought about this for a moment, shrugged and said nonchalantly replied “we don’t need them”.    So there you go.

An amazing amount of Europeans still smoke.  I am astounded by that.

The myth of the skinny European has been debunked.  Many are as fat as Americans.

The Adriatic Sea is crystal clear and many beautiful shades of blue.

Croatians love their Crocs (which they call crocsies).

More on Croatia (Istria and the Dalmation Coast) with (hopefully) some paintings in later posts.

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I finished this painting in record time!  I actually could have posted it on Sunday, but was too fixated on the world ending in 2012 and ShamWow!  (They are made in Germany, you know.)

This is a painting of my grandmother’s town.  I have never been there but hope to visit someday.  My cousin Gabriella is in the picture along with her mom Lisa.  And someone else I don’t know.

It’s not a very big place.  I asked my cousin what street this was, and she told me it was the only street!   Can you imagine?  I can’t.

Šušnjevica is the Slavic name of the town, Valdarsa the Italian name.  It is the home of a large (the largest?) Istro-Romanian population.  What does that mean?  Nothing except that I’m still a big, fat American and if Oprah can’t lose weight, what with her personal trainers and chefs and people to advise her on everything what hope is there for the rest of us?

There was yet ANOTHER show on how the world is going to end in 2012.   I detect a theme.  But no ShamWow commercials.  However a lot of commercials for male enhancement.  Who exactly (besides me) are watching these end of the world programs?