Saturday, October 15, 2011

Monastery Library

The university is housed in the upper portion of the Dominican Monastery right inside Ploče gate. One of my friends who works for the university gave some of the professors and myself a tour. The two upper wings of the Monastery where the school is situated were the original inhabitants library. The collection of books dates back to the 12th -13th centuries but few books remain from that time. Most of the collection that is left is from the 14th-15th century. When the French took over the city under Napoleon they stole large portions of the collection. The Hymnals that remained within the collection are about 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall. They where made to be used by everyone so the notations for the songs needed to be legible to all, hence the size. You can also see the older ones from the before the 15th century do not posses the bars or lines we associate with modern musical notation like this The books need conservational attention desperately as there are insect holes in almost all of the books as well as general deterioration.


We had our anniversary dinner last Friday and Zack got me the most beautiful necklace as a present. It’s a traditional Croatian design found in the Dalmatian region called Konavle buttons. Mine was made by this wonderfully eccentric man with a great moustache. He explained every step was done by hand, including pounding thin strips of silver and folding them into intricate designs. The work is amazing because the ball is hollow and the amount of detail is enormous. You can’t tell in the photo but the bits that look solid are really pieces of silver that have been folded into a fan shape and fit into the gaps. The traditional Konavle buttons where made of gold not silver. They where also much larger ranging from about the size of a golf ball (for special occasions and the rich) to large cherries (for personal decoration). I was told by one of my friends that they where also given to girls at their conformation because before that girls "did not fully appreciate jewelry”.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Next Up....

OK I fixed the settings so everyone should now be able to post comments. Sorry if anyone has been inconvenienced.

Now on to breakfast.

I love my breakfast. I love the way butter melts into my warm golden brown toast. The yoke of the egg as it spreads over the buttery surface. I generally prefer fresh bread cut from a loaf as apposed to that pre-sliced stuff. But let me explain for a moment. When we as Americans think of toast we think of this…

Now here in Croatia they think of this….

Yeah I know. What’s inside are pieces of bread that look like toast; except that they’re not toasted, have a sponge cake like texture and have nothing to do with toast at all!!

Have you ever had a sandwich where the bread was spongy? Americans are used to that soft pre-sliced stuff that makes the perfect PB&J or BLT. Here Toast is only good for toasting. Now this wouldn’t be  a problem except we don’t have a toaster. “No problem” you think “I’ll just put it in the oven.” That would work, if we had gas.

A gas oven needs gas, makes sense. But gas comes in those tanks people hook up to their grill and we have no idea how to get or install one. So I’ve been living for almost a month with no working oven, and no baking (but that’s a whole new post so never mind). Luckily as I was typing our landlord came by to measure the windows (don’t ask me why). He said he will get gas for us so I can bake again!!! We also pointed out the wasp nest on our patio. This was very comical because Zack was making buzzing noises and pretending to sting his arm. Our landlord doesn’t speak English and we don’t know how to say wasp in Croatian. He got the message though and I’m guessing will return to kill them at some point.

Not that I’ve gone way off topic we return to breakfast. Here the eggs are not as pasteurized and are fresh because there are no large chicken farms. Some of the eggs you get from the store still have a feather stuck to them. The eggs come in 12 packs but those have a tare here middle. By late afternoon all of the 12 pack eggs are gone or left in groups of 6. The only other large group of eggs you can get is a set of 10. Here is a picture of the 10 pack and you can see how bright the yoke is in the picture of the pan. Here is also my solution to not having a toaster or working oven when it comes to toasting my ‘toast’.