On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com


And, we’re back! Lots of great stuff coming up, starting…..now!



Today, pictures from valued commenter Sister Golden Bear.

Here’s some of the more artsy shots from a trip to Slovenia and Croatia a few years ago. (More from Croatia, as well Bosnia and Montenegro to come.)

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Rick Steves calls Lake Bled the perfect place to take a vacation from your vacation — and yes, it’s quite relaxing. One reason Tito had a vacation home here.

Lake Bled is nestled in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia, almost at the border with Austria. There’s a small island in the middle of the lake with a church on it.

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled is popular with tourists, and there’s numerous boats available for rent.

Rovinj, Croatia

For almost five year Rovinj — on the Adriatic Sea coast — was one of the most important towns under Venetian rule in the area of what is now northwest Croatia. Rovinj was fortified by two rows of defensive walls, remains of which can still be seen today. It remains an important administrative center and fishing port, but it’s known more as tourist destination with an atmospheric old town, built on a headland.

Balbi’s Arch was built in 1678–79, on the site of the old town gate. On one side, there is the carved head of a Turk while on the other side is the carved head of a Venetian.

Zadar, Croatia

The Monument to the Sun consists of 300 multi-layered glass plates placed on the same level with the stone-paved waterfront in the shape of a 22-meter diameter circle, with the photo-voltage solar modules underneath. These power lighting elements installed in a circle that producing a night-time light show.

The monument symbolizes communication with nature, with the aim of communicating with light, while the nearby Sea Organ represents communicating with sound.

Both are located on the entrance to Zadar’s port, which on the western-most point of the Zadar peninsula.

Zadar, Croatia

Just an interesting column near the Monument to the Sun.


Thank you so much Sister Golden Bear, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


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16 replies
  1. 1
    something fabulous says:

    Wow! So pretty! I don’t know anything about any of those places, so such an interesting introduction. Thanks!

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    Amazing pictures!

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    Great pictures😌

  4. 4
    arrieve says:

    What a lovely getaway on a wet gray morning!

  5. 5
    pinacacci says:

    That was interesting! Thank you

  6. 6
    sherparick says:

    The coast of Croatia, also known as Dalmatia, was ruled in parts by Venice from about 1000 A.D, and the entire coast except for Ragusa from 1420 to 1797, so you see a lot of wonderful Italian Gothic and Venetian Byzantine architecture on the coast. Also, the weather is just great from May to September.

    Most of the King’s Landings scenes in GoT was shot in Croatia because of all the medieval architecture, at least the architecture that survived the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, is available along with beautiful shots of sea and land. G.R.R. Martin stated that he based a good deal of GoT on Shakespeare’s History plays (if you are going to steal, steal from the best) and the actual 14th-15 Century of the War of Roses and the Hundred Years War between England, France, and Burgundy and their respective, and very intermarried, royal houses of Plantagenet (Targaryen), its Cadet Branches York (Stark) and Lancaster (Lannister), and Valois. The Wars ended when Henry Tudor, Duke of Richmond (a bastard branch of House Lancaster defeated the “tyrant” Richard III, and married his distant cousin, Richard III’s niece, Elizabeth of York. Now who from House Lannister and who from House Stark is left to marry and jointly sit on the Iron Throne?

  7. 7
    stinger says:

    I googled Monument to the Sun — what an interesting concept! I like the juxtaposition of 17th- and 21st-century structures in these photos.

  8. 8

    Great photos, thanks for sharing.

  9. 9
    p.a. says:

    Really super. Much English spoken by the citizenry?

  10. 10
    mad citizen says:

    I want to hear SGB’s answer about the region, but I can say I was in Zagreb (the capital) last June and many/most Croats can speak English. A nice place with nice people.

  11. 11

    Thanks all!

    I was there about five years ago, and my experience was similar to @mad citizen‘s, i.e. many/most of the Slovenian, Croats, Bosnians and Montenegrins spoke at least some English, at least in the more urban/touristy areas I visited.

    From what I understand, they’ve got the practical attitude that because they’re small countries (the first three are 3-5 million each, and Montenegro’s population is far less than the city of San Francisco), foreigners are unlikely to learn their language. So they’re eager to learn the global language of commerce.

    All of them were lovely, quite enjoyable countries.

  12. 12
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: You’ll find that all over Europe. Lots and lots of people have English as a second or third language – not just for servicing the native-English tourists, but because how else does, say, a Dane communicate in Czechia?

  13. 13
    J R in WV says:

    We never had any trouble with English in rural Spain, France, Italy. We found that the wine in Italy was always good, also too. Don’t know what they did with the lesser quality wines, maybe shipped it to the US?

    Sister Golden Bear, great photos from what was obviously a pretty sweet trip!


  14. 14

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve seen the same thing across Europe, but it’s been especially notable in the countries with small populations.

  15. 15
    Mary G says:

    Beautiful shots. The Dalmation Coast has been on my bucket list forever.

  16. 16
    susanna says:

    Stunning photos and I now want to see it for myself. Good to have the column back, Alain. It’s a good way to begin the days.

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