Mljet Park

path_summer_warm_280404_m.jpgIf you believe the legends, Mljet Park is a magical, mystical land of enchanted coves and wondrous legends. It is supposedly Odysseus’s vacation destination of choice on his travels back to Greece and it is also mentioned by Benedictine monks and St. Paul—the travel agents of antiquity—as a spot to see when traveling through the Mediterranean.

Salt lakes

Mljet Park has naturally occuring salt lakes in the center of the island that have been a tourist draw for centuries. It is likely that receding ocean levels deposited the salt water in the depressions of both the bigger “Great Lake” (Valiko Jezero) and littler “Small Lake” (Malo Jezero) and with a lack of incoming fresh water, they have never desalinated.

St Mary Island is located on the far side of the Great Lake and holds a Benedictine Monastary from the 12th century. Transport to the island is included with your admission to the park, or you can rent a boat and row under your own power to the island.


Mljet also has what is known as karstic geology, meaning there arre many caves, tunnels, and depressions around the landscape of the park. Although it is not common to see serious cave divers exploring the caves, they are a fun introduction to the sport for kids and adults with active imaginations.


Historical sources make note of the abundance of coves and the twisting coast line that obscures visitors from view as they walk along the beach. The white sand and shallow, solar heated tide-less waters also deserve mention.

Mljet park bills itself as the first natural ecosystem in Croatia that was billed for protection. Mljet became a National Park in 1960 and the coast and abundant forests have been untouched and undeveloped ever since. A small community of people live on the island in the same villages that were settled by Illyrian tribes and the Roman Empire and try to live without impacting the ecological balance of the island.

Getting there

The best way to get to Mljet is to fly into Dubrovnik, then take a cab or bus to the ferry terminal in Gruz, a section of Dubrovnik’s city area. The Gruz ferry lands in Sobra on Mljet. Ferries take about 2.5 hours from Dubrovnik and the faster catamarans take about 90 minutes.


There is only one hotel in Mljet Park. Hotel Odisej has mixed reviews and several complaints about the price, but most patrons seem generally satisfied. The hotel occupies the middle ground between luxury and budget hotels and is moving toward a higher income clientele. For cheaper accommodations, a number of rooms in local houses are available for rent for independent travelers.

Los Angeles Things to Do

Walt Disney Concert Hall

la-disney-hall.jpgThe most striking thing about Walt Disney Concert Hall is the architecture. The curving metal faces of the structure seem to peek around corners and stare down streets. You catch glimpses of the concert hall from odd angles through the buildings of the city and your view of the structure sticks in your mind. Light plays tricks, casts odd shadows and certain angles seem to gleam prominently while others are cast in shadows.

The concert hall is certainly a sight to behold.

It is also a fine place to catch a show or symphony concert. The Los Angeles Philharmonic plays concerts eight times a week, two concerts a day on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The LA Philharmonic is one of the top classical music organizations in the world and brings in some of the best guest talent to perform alongside it throughout the year.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a relatively new addition to the downtown area. A gift from the Disney family for a new concert hall in 1987 accumulated interest and generated other donors who put up the rest of the money for the concert hall. The county of Los Angeles provided the land and funded the construction of the parking garage. The building sits alongside the other performance halls in downtown, but was only completed in 2003. This is the LA Philharmonic’s 4th year in the building.

The hall is also used for other events. Concerts, TV show tapings like American Idol and the occasional charity event are held in the Disney Concert Hall.

Friday afternoon LA Philharmonic shows are the “casual Friday” shows where orchestra members and conductor Leonard Slatkin dress in casual clothes instead of the requisite tuxedo or formal wear as is the norm at symphony concerts.

Tickets to the LA Philharmonic or other events at the Walt Disney Concert Hall are available at the hall’s website. There are available payment plans and group discounts, as well as free shows every few months for special events.


The Disney Concert Hall is located at 111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Public parking at the hall is available underneath the structure and is accessible on Second Street, or across from the concert hall on Grand Avenue. Valet parking is available at the front of the building on Hope Street.

Featured Articles Sweden Things to Do

Top Ten Museums in Stockholm

There are more than 100 museums in Stockholm to choose from, but here is a selection. See websites for admission and opening hours.

1. The Vasa Museum (Djurgården) – The world’s only intact 17th century ship, the Vasa, which sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm’s habor in 1628.

2. Moderna Museet (Skeppsholmen) – Contemporary art from 1900, and photography from the 1840s. The permanent collection includes works by artists such as Duchamp, Picasso, Dalí and Matisse.

3. The National Museum (Blasieholmshamnen, next to the Grand Hotel) – The national gallery and Sweden’s largest art museum. More than 16,000 paintings and sculptures and an extensive collection of applied art, design and industrial design dating back to the 14th century.

4. The Nordic Heritage Museum – Swedish and Scandinavian cultural history.

5. Stockholm City Museum – History and development of the Swedish capital. Free admission.

6. Skansen (Djurgården) – Open air museum with historical buildings, a zoo and an aquarium. Open year round.

7. Ethnographic Museum (Djurgården). Rotating exhibitions on various world cultures.

8. Junibacken (Djurgården). The kids will love this real-life rendition of Astrid Lindgren’s stories. Meet Pippi Longstocking and the rest of the gang.

9. Nobel Museum (Gamla Stan). Located in the old Stock Exchange building in Stortorget, the big square in the Old Town. Learn all about the great minds who have won the prestigious Nobel Prize awarded in Stockholm every December.

10. Abba Museum. It’s not opening until June 2009, but tickets have already gone on sale to see this tribute to the most famous Swedish pop stars of all time.

Photo by: AbhijeetVardhan

Articles Croatia

Random Croatia Photo of the Moment

Here’s a random photo from our Boats and Beaches page of our Croatia photos page.

Waiting for the ferry

Portugal travel guide


our lady of FatimaFatima is a place of pilgrimage for many Catholics in commemoration of the appearance of Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Fatima) to three young shepherds in Cova da Iria.


The town of Fatima is located in the municipality of Ourém, at 187 km / 116miles south of Porto and 123 km / 76miles north of Lisbon.

Our Lady of Fatima

In 1917, three young shepherds –Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco- claimed to have seen the Virgin of the Rosary (Our Lady of Fatima), on the spot where now the Basilica stands. The Virgin of the Rosary appeared on the 13th day of six consecutive months, starting on 13 May.

Featured Articles Portugal

Portugal’s Cork Industry

Cork forestPortugal is one of the world’s major cork growers; as much as one third of the total cork oak area is in Portugal, which accounts for about half of the cork harvested annually in the world.

Cork oak

The cork oak loves the western Mediterranean climate, which means the Algarve is the region where the best quality cork is obtained. Cork oak also grows in Alentejo.

Cork is a light, flexible, elastic material, impervious to moisture, to liquid and gaseous substances. Its qualities led to the industrial utilization of the material. With the invention of glass bottles, cork became important for the stopper industry.

Portuguese cork production is directed at big consumer markets such as USA, UK, Germany. The industry represents 16% of the total foreign income derived from trade.

Featured Articles Portugal

Port – flagship wine of Portugal

Port winePort wine (Vinho do Porto) is a sweet, fortified Portuguese wine from the Douro Valley. Often it’s served as a dessert wine, along with cheese. Port wine is protected by the European Union guidelines, hence only the wine originating in Douro Valley may be called “Porto”, although similar wines are produced in several countries.

Douro Valley

The region located in Northern Portugal has a perfect microclimate for growing grapes, olives and almonds. This region is also known for its picturesque farms, “hanging” on the almost vertical slopes dropping down into the river.

Featured Articles Portugal

Bacalhau – the national dish of Portugal

BacalhauBacalhau means “cod” in Portuguese but the word also refers to salted cod, the national dish of Portugal. Bachalhau is very popular in Portugal, as well as in Galicia (Spain). However, it’s not a staple dish in the former Portuguese colonies.

When is Bacalhau eaten?

Salted cod is considered a delicacy. It’s eaten on special days such as Christmas Day or during the Holy Week. It’s also a very common dish on Good Friday.

Bacalhau dishes

Some say there are 365 ways of cook bacalhau, one for each day of the week. Others say there are 101 ways to prepare it. No mater who you believe, there are a lot of recipe variations, depending both on the traditions and regions.

Articles Croatia

Random Croatia Photo of the Moment

Here’s a random photo from our Plitvice Lakes page of our Croatia photos page.

Duck on the lake , Plitvice


Croatia’s Dingac Wine

grape_leaf_purple_281086_m.jpgThe Dingac wine region near Dubrovnik is one of the smallest and most unique producers of red wines in the Mediterranean latitudes. It also produces some of the best wine in Europe.

The key to the Dingac wine, like all wine, is the crop of grapes. The key grapes in this case are known as the Plavac Mali grapes, which grow on the south side of a restricted peninsula in southern Dalmatia known as the Peljesac peninsula. The tiny 2 km patch that house the grapes is called the Dingac region.

The grapes grow in such a specific location, that families tending the grapes could not transplant them to the other side of a short hill and instead spent their time walking up and down the mountains each day to tend the grapes or riding donkeys with their tools.

Because of this, in the 1970’s the wine growing families pooled their money and constructed a tunnel through the mountain running about a half a kilometer in length so that they could go to work on their crop of grapes without having to go up and over the entire hill. Only workers with the Dingac grapes tend their plants after traversing through a tunnel each day to get to the plants and Dingac has enjoyed some extra notoriety because of this.

Dingac wines are a part of Croatian culture. Most oenophiles and food critics recognize Dingac and could tell you where it came from. Perhaps because of that, Dingac is protected under the international Geneva Convention, perhaps the only wine protected under a treaty in Europe. The wine itself is noted for its dark red color and distinguished aroma. The wine is credited with a full and harmonious taste, that errs toward being slightly sweet as it goes down.

Dingac wine is exclusively red wine and the Plavac Mali grapes are so sensitive that tiny changes like the angle of the sun and the position of the hill change the way that the grapes taste. These positions and angles have been refined in the Dingac region for the last 470 years at least, but the tradition of winemaking in the area goes back even farther than that, to the very first people to inhabit the peninsula.