Tag Archives: Croatia

Down the Croatian coast – Part III

That’s it… the cycling is now over until the end of next month. I arrived in Athens 5 days ago and the first thing I did was send my bike to Edinburg where I will be joining it on the 13th August. There, I will be working with The Deck Theatre Company on a play called Pinch in Love as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In Athens, I had break from recording to go exploring before taking a plane to Israel. Thus, I’m writing to you from a friend’s house in Tel Aviv! but don’t worry, the recording isn’t over!

In the meantime, after Zadar (Croatia), I had a lovely cycle ride to Dubrovnik. It was particularly fun, as to get there, one has to cross a small portion of the coast which briefly becomes Bosnia Herzegovina! Also, I went through some amazing scenery where the brown rocky dry coast slowly morphs into a much greener coast which then descends into a long plain surrounded by mountains. The road then leaves the plain and returns to its windy coastal self.

I finally arrived in Dubrovnik on the 14th July. I headed straight for the old town which is contained within castle walls. Once again, I was dazed by the passage from utter solitude to an overcrowded city. I sat down and observed the waves of tourists of all nationalities poring out of coaches, camera in hand, stumbling over each other as they tried to take pictures of the outer walls of the city. Amused, I made my way into the old town in mind of finding a place to sleep and rest Doppler for the day. The search was only brief as the prices were bogglingly high! Thus, I decided I’d sleep on a beach somewhere and found an internet cafe. After a nice simple meal, as I was slowly pushing Doppler back out of the small alleyway, the waitress asked me where I was cycling. I told her about the project and that I had nowhere to sleep in Dubrovnik. Instantly, she very kindly invited me to stay at her and her boyfriends place! I was even allowed to leave my bike by the restaurant for most of the day.

High on her generosity, I set out to explore the town and quickly came across some fantastic street artists! The first where a trio of musicians called Fiori Musicali. They play an eneregised version of many classical classics with flute, guitar and violin. All three musicians are music professors from Zagreb University and are spending most of the summer in Dubrovnik performing in the street and in more conventional venues. After a first matinal encounter, we arranged to meet again in the evening at the entrance of the city where they would be busking. That is exactly what happened. So here is, paraphrasing the guitarist, classical tunes performed as if performing Iron Maiden covers:

After meeting Fiori Musicali, I continued my exploration of the city. Sitting on some steps was a classical guitarist dreamingly plucking the strings on his guitar. Still dazed by the sun, I sat down and listened for a bit. Later, I learnt he was a music teacher and had his own little school in Hungary and, just like the previous band, had come down for the summer to enjoy the sunshine and busk. Here are some of the tunes he played:

Finally, as I was finishing my round I came across a very nice little bar called The Troubadour Jazz Cafe, supposedly a legendary Dubrovnik bar. When I was walking by, there were two musicians playing exciting arrangement of pop and classical songs. The duo is called Nota Bene and here are their songs! (there also might be a video of them soon!)

Soon some recordings from Bari, Italy!

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Down the Croatian coast – Part I

The southern episode began in Ljubljana. After a couple of days celebrating my mothers birthday and an extra night in a hotel watching the Italian spectacular defeat with a friendly receptionist, I set out for Rijeka. It took me two days of beautiful Slovenian country side, an unexpected visit to huge caves – home of an underground river – and windy rocky roads to get to the main Croatian port. I’d been warned it wasn’t a nice place and indeed it wasn’t! Thus, I decided to set out down the coast the same day I arrived.

Before leaving, I met another traveller from Slovakia who’d been busking around the continent with two guitars and a bag. He was waiting for a train to Zagreb when I approached him. I told him about the project and we agreed to record whilst he was busking. He played a mutlitude of songs each one unexpectedly merging into each other. Here are a few snippets from his set:

That same evening I made it to Crikvenica where, for the first time since the beginning of the trip,  I booked in to a camping site. I didn’t stay long as I left early in the morning to do as much cycling as I could before the heat became too unbearable. When it did, I stopped for some food and a swim. Stupidly, I set out again much too early only to find that what lied ahead of me was non-stop uphill… I thought I was going to loose my mind! Just before I reached the top, I started having small hallucinations like wandering/worrying wether or not I had my hat on  whilst touching it.

Luckily, after a blissful race downhill I found a beautiful small fishing town with a single one way road to rest my bones. Again, I got up early next morning and headed down towards Zadar. Lesson learnt, I was more patient during my afternoon break, thus, I was able to properly enjoy the second half of the ride. In fact, it was so pleasurable that I kept on going all the way to Zadar – originally I wasn’t expecting to get there until the next day.

When I got to Zadar, I decided to book myself into a hostel as I wanted some confort to finish some freelance work. It is at the bottom of this hostel situated on the top floor of a five story apartment that Doppler was vandelised…  Anyways, the stay was very nice. I met a Polish traveller who has just set out to travel round the world and write about it: http://guideless.tv/. Instead of cycling, he’s hitch-hiking his way round. It was fun meeting again a couple of times further on down the coast when his hitch-hiking had not been successful…

Although I had no one to record in Zadar, I did have something to record: a water organ. I recorded it on my last day in Zadar at 5.30am before all the other tourist arrive to chat over a soothing background of experimental organ playing. I dedicate this recording to Astrid Willmote who first told me about this strange installation.

That is all for the part-1 of the Croatian coast!

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