Friday, September 13, 2013

Dobrodosli u Hrvatska And Random Thoughts

"The world is like a book, and those who do not travel only read the first page."
-St. Augustine

It is with great pleasure that I send you greetings from the BEAUTIFUL city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. I knew that it would be amazing when, as I step off the plane, what greets you is an amazing view of coastal mountains flecked with trees and small bushes towering over the valley where the airport is with a crystalline blue sky playing host. So far, everyone I've met on the same program as I is very nice and my roommate (the one I've met and have gotten to know a little bit) is a real cool guy. The taxi ride with my program director from the airport to my apartment was great. What made it great? THE VIEW. We drove up a coastal road with mountains and cliffs to our right and the Adriatic Sea to our left. Bathed in the muted gold of the setting sun, the water a shimmering blue, such a view was awe-inspiring. Large islands straddled the coast, covered in green, while sailboats bobbed lazily in the bays and inlets as we drove by.

The city itself, particularly the Stari Grad, or "Old City" which Dubrovnik is so famous for, is a wondrous view to behold. Modern apartments like mine are inter-spaced between age-old traditional homes of white sandstone (?) in the "new" city, while the medieval walls of the Old City center are impressive and still seem like they could hold out in a siege, the buildings either the same sandstone or marble with red terra-cotta roofs in an Italian-esque flair. My landlord is a very sweet woman and my apartment is better furnished than I could have possibly expected.

Don't think it was an easy journey here. And thus I begin my random thoughts.

1. A big thank you to the group that I tagged along with from Tulsa to Washington. Without they're help I'd probably still be stuck in line at Dulles.

2. Dulles. Oh, Dulles. A modernistic monstrosity that can't hold a finger to Reagan International and less than half of the departure/arrival boards of any other airport I've been to.

3.It's amazing how a few thunderstorms can effectively shut down air travel along half the eastern seaboard. The sheer size of the lines at the Dulles United Customer Service desk needing reroutes was mind-boggling. Due to the weather issues and some fuel adjustments we had to make in Tulsa, my flight to Vienna was taxiing for take-off when we were pulling into the gate at Dulles, so needless to say I missed my flight to Vienna. Instead, thanks to only what I can describe as Divine Providence, the United people in Tulsa gave me a reroute through Frankfurt, Germany and from there to Dubrovnik. What a God-send.

4. Germanophiles, cover your ears and stop reading for a bit: I HATED Frankfurt airport. Don't get me wrong, I've been there before. And I remember it being a lot nicer. But, for one, it is typically German in that it sacrifices aesthetics for functionality: conrete, concrete, concrete. It is not a welcoming airport, or at least it wasn't to me. Secondly, for whatever reason, (friends from Germany excluded, of course) I don't really like Germans. Even at their happiest they seem...angry. Perhaps its just the language, but interactions with Germans leave me feeling cold.

Well, that should cover everything right now. I'll definitely be posting more in the future. For now, good night.

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