Sunday, June 13, 2010

152, 153, 154/365 - Croatia Continues, with only minor unpleasantness

153/365 - The Grand Hotel Four Flowers Wisteria, Opatija

The story continues -- when last we left our hero (that's me!), I had just arrived in beautiful Opatija, Croatia, for a math conference. The photo above is the Wisteria building of the Grand Hotel Four Flowers in Opatija. The architecture in Opatija was... unique. It was a sort of mix of Roman-Italian-Austrian-Mediterranean with some Spanish influences. Everything was brightly colored (beautiful!) with great styling and massive rock blocks. Favorite colors were red, orange, and yellow, with bright red-orange tile roofs.

As I mentioned yesterday: Seagulls. LOTS of seagulls. I spent half an hour one afternoon just hanging out on my balcony, tracking seagulls (which were doing various interesting things) with my longest lens. Speaking of which: I brought my wonderful Nikon 18-200mm lens, an all-around flexible walk-around lens, which I thought would be perfect for the trip. It was, but (as you will see later), many many places would have made great ultrawide photos. Sadly, I left the ultrawide at home, so I had to do with my relatively non-wide lens.

But, not everything was beautiful windows and funny seagulls. The photo to the left is the one and only photo which I took on a certain day. Early on in my stay, I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible stomach ache. When I finally got to sleep again, I slept through the entire day, missing everything -- a lecture by a famous combinatorialist (Rick Wilson), and a tour of nearby Rijeka in the afternoon. What caused it? Perhaps a sinus infection. Maybe drinking the water -- oops, only bottled water after this! Maybe a totally messed up sleep schedule and tons of travel. Maybe extra-rich food in the hotel's cafeteria, where we ate delicious meals each breakfast and dinner. Whatever it was, it was gone by the next day, and I was as good as ever!

And yes, tons of people smoked in Croatia. It was much more common than in the US. It was also very annoying.

The story continues tomorrow, with a tour of Opatija, the mountains above it, and the rest of the Istrian peninsula!

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