The further adventures of Stan -16
Our plan for Monday was to meet Sven at our beach, and then we would go together to Cavtat which was only a short bus ride away. He was already there when we arrived, wearing a smart shirt with air vents and new jeans with label still on – 34-38.
“Have you been shopping?” I asked.
“Yes, I spent yesterday doing some necessary updating of my wardrobe. Why do you ask?”
“Because you still have the label on your jeans,” I said, “Do you want me to pull it off?”
Looking only a little bit embarrassed, Sven agreed, and I did the job. Stan was having a hard time to keep from laughing. When Sven wasn't around he said, "He even is buying new clothes to try to impress you."
The plan was to concentrate on the Roman antiquities, and as the bus drove along there were remains of Roman buildings to be found which Sven recognised and pointed out to us. The roadway was overgrown with vegetation, green pine and cypress tree forests.
The buildings in Cavtat have remained from the time of the old Dubrovnik Republic. This city which is
part Gothic and part Renaisance architecture was built according to the regulation plans prescribed by the Republic. We visited the Rector's palace, fortifications, city walls round the city, squares,
St. Nicholas' church, another church dedicated to Our Lady of Cavtat and the Franciscan monastery.
The city had been built several times and restored from ruins and total destruction. Orignally it was called Epidaurum, well known in the ancient times and after the total destruction in the 7th century only the deserted ruins remained.The Republic bought Cavtat with Konavle in the 15th century
We found remnants of old streets, passages in the old amphitheatre near the Franciscan monastery, city walls and stairs that used to lead to the top of Rat, where there used to stand temples and the ancient Greek acropolis with the temple of Asclepius.
Sven had done his homework well, so he continued to lecture to us. “Cavtat is the home town of Baltazar Bogisic, a 19th and 20th century scientist of world-wide fame, member of many European
academies, Doctor of law, a passionate collector and guardian of national folklore. His rich cultural heritage is stored in the Rector's palace in Cavtat: the library with more than 22,000 rare old books, a collection of drawings of more than 10,000 items, a collection of antique coins from the Dubrovnik Republic with about 1,500 pieces.”
We also heard about the great painter Flaho Bukovac who comes from this area. We saw examples of his work at St. Nicholas' church, and in the church of the Franciscan monastery.
Our tour over, we decided to take Sven out to a popular seaside restaurant for serving Dalmatian dishes called Konuba Lanterna.
I ordered zagorski Strokhi. This is a cheese based dish made with thin pastry and layered with the local cheese, which is soft and almost like cottage cheese in texture. It was very rich and absolutely delicious.
Stan ordered Meso z tiblica, which was a sort of ham dish, and Sven, who said he never got lamb in America, ordered Janjetina, roast lamb with Mediterranean herbs and all the trimmings.
And now Stn had more information to impart to us, as he had spent Saturday in Split at Diocesan’s palace.
"The whole complex occupies around 30,000 square meters and around 3000 people live there.
“Emperor Diocletian had a wish to enter his palace on a ship, without leaving the deck. Today, it is
hard to imagine that the lower tier of his palace once was covered with water, and the ship of the Emperor was slowly passing between the columns and stopping among the vaulted rooms of
the lower tier. Only the foundation and lower floors of these apartments have survived Diocletian’s octagonal mausoleum and three temples were also located in the southern part of the palace.
“The windows in the lower rooms of the palace are located near the ceiling - in case the water would
rise - and even during the day the illumination here is weak, uneven. Over time, the sea receded, and a city emerged around the palace.
“The rest of Split is covered with white stone buildings of different periods and styles. The palace was built from local limestone and white marble.”
“So tell us Sven, have you recaptured your Roman interest in your house back in Georgia?”
“Oh, not at all,” he said with a laugh. “But my house is pretty special.”
“Where did you say you lived, again?” asked Stan. “I know you told us but I forgot.”
“Sandy Springs, Georgia where it's 70 degrees all the time – no earthquakes, no tornados, no hurricanes so it's just about perfect. In fact it is listed among the 50 best small cities to live in in the US.”
“And what is this special house of yours like?”
“Its a $950,000 split-level ranch style. The whole neighbourhood is surrounded by lush foliage making it one of the prettiest places in the Atlanta outskirts."
“So its a rich man's area, and I'm guessing you don't have a lot of black people living near you,” said Stan, trying to draw Stan out.
“Sandy Springs is a markedly affluent community covering a 38-square-mile area of North Fulton County, about 14 miles north of downtown Atlanta. The income levels and cost of living in Sandy Springs are well above the national average. With a population of roughly 90,000, Sandy Springs is the sixth largest city in the state of Georgia. And there is nothing to stop black people living there, as long as they can afford it.”
“So what is your life there like?” I asked, before we got into a controversy that would not end well.
“It's definitely car-dependent, though there are lots of shopping options and parks all within the city limits and MARTA, Atlanta's transit system, services it. It is a very family-oriented community with children attending prestigious private schools or top-rated public schools . Sandy Springs is also close to many of the city's Jewish synagogues and Hebrew schools
“Most important to me, it's near the Chattahoochee River and other vast green spaces,where I enjoy walking and boating and Morgan Falls is my favorite place. You'll have to come and visit me, and I can show all those lovelyn places to you first hand.”
Our meal over, we said our goodbyes. Sven had his trip to Montenegro to look forward to. Stan and I had not yet planned how we would spend our last full day in Croatia. Little did I know that before another day was over, my life would have totally changed.