Virtual Vacation — Croatia Edition
Things are rather tense around the homestead these days — with the government shutdown, many friends are furloughed, with very low confidence in receiving backpay after Congress gets its collective act together. (Our personal situation is better than many — my income is, of course, not affected any more by the shutdown than any other small business (we’ll all see drop-offs if this continues for any period of time, as spending money will dry up dramatically across the board), and Mark works for an independently-funded agency, so he’s still reporting for duty. That duty is frustrating and involves a lot of jury-rigging, because he can’t complete most job functions (which rely on other government agencies), but he’ll draw a paycheck, at least for the foreseeable future.)
Of course, the entire situation is made more depressing by the nation’s general attitude that government workers are pigs at the public trough, consuming mindlessly and damaging Our Fair Nation. It’s depressing to be told on a daily basis that you’re always the problem and never the solution. Most federal workers I know are suffering from *major* morale problems.
So, what’s a girl to do when the world around her is drab and depressing?
Go on a (virtual) vacation! Last night, I attended a lecture at the Smithsonian, where Professor Lawrence Butler used his own slides and a variety of books and maps to take us on a virtual tour of Croatia. We “traveled” from Venice to Istanbul, with leisurely stops in Pula, Zadar, Korcula, Split, and Dubrovnik. I learned more about the reach of the Roman Empire (and the Venetian and Ottoman Empires), and I added some long-to-see places to my travel list. As for Dubrovnik in particular, I was fascinated by the stories about the patricians’ strict laws for self-rule. There’s a fantasy novel in there, somewhere…
(The class was made even better because I got to attend with a friend, K.W., who I see too little of!)
Have you ever traveled to Croatia? What real-world place that you’ve visited has such an incredible history that it deserves its own secondary-world-fantasy treatment?