stranded in paradise.

 A while back my friend Meggan suggested that I start titling my travel blog posts ‘stranded in insert current travel location here‘.  Some of you may not get the joke if you don’t realize that our last name is Strand.  Get it?  Strand-ed?

Well, little did I know that a title of that sort would be especially apropos for our latest trip.

But let’s start at the beginning of the story, shall we?

Last week Mr. Q and I were practicing ‘safe social media’.  In other words, we went out of town but decided maybe it was smarter to not announce that to the entire world via things like my blog, Instagram and Facebook.  I hope you guys will allow me a little subterfuge in this regard.

Anyway, we went to Punta Cana!

We really needed a relaxing vacation that didn’t involve expending a lot of energy.  We’d debated just doing a stay-cation, but the reality is that I can’t just unwind at home.   I’m always looking at all of the stuff that needs to be done and then I feel guilty not tackling it.  I really have a hard time not picking up a paint brush when I have a few extra hours at home.

So we decided to book a week at the beach.  I’d been told that Punta Cana has some of the most beautiful beaches, so we found a reasonably priced resort and booked a week long getaway.

The most energetic thing we did all week was get up just after sunrise each morning for a walk on the beach.

It was perfectly gorgeous.

Next we went to the coffee shop at our resort, conveniently named “Mike’s Coffee Shop” (Mr. Q’s name is Mike, in case you didn’t know) where we had pastries and fabulous coffee.

We managed all of this before 8 a.m. and practically had the entire place to ourselves at that hour.  Our only daily companion for coffee was this guy …

He’d just stand there about 5′ away mostly motionless.  I’m sure he was hoping for some scraps to be thrown his way.

I joked with Mr. Q that we were doing ‘rope drop’ at our resort.  Any other Disney park fans out there?  If so, you know all about rope drop.  It’s getting to the park before it opens so that you’re there as soon as the rope drops to let people in.  It’s one of the best ways to get on a few rides before the lines get too long and the crowds become unmanageable.

Well, FYI, it works at resorts on the beach too.

After breakfast we’d head for the beach where my view mostly looked like this …

and occasionally like this …

LOL, that’s looking straight up at the palapa  that we sat under to protect our fair Minnesota skin from the blazing Dominican sunshine.  We went through 4 cans of spray on sunscreen!

We’d periodically get up and go for a swim to cool off, or head to the bar for another drink, but mostly we just enjoyed some serious R&R.

The resort we stayed at, Ocean Blue & Sand, was pretty.  The grounds were immaculately maintained.  Our room was spacious and clean.  But the main thing that stood out for me was the staff.  Everyone we dealt with was so friendly and welcoming.  Despite the fact that Mr. Q and I couldn’t really understand any of their Spanish beyond a few basic words and phrases, their smiling faces spoke volumes.

I have to be honest though, aside from those pastries at the coffee shop, the food was not great (it was all-inclusive) and for that reason we probably would not return to this particular resort.  By the end of the trip our motto was ‘stick with the chicken’ because it was the only thing that was any good.

We’d certainly return to Punta Cana itself though!

I have to admit, seven days of relaxing was more than enough for both of us.  By the last day we were ready to come home and get back into our normal routines.  I was especially looking forward to getting some furniture painted over the remainder of the holiday weekend.  But remember when I said ‘stranded in paradise’ was a good title for this blog post?

Well … yep, we got stranded.

Our return flight was supposed to leave at 5 pm on Saturday.  We got to the airport by about 3 pm and made our way to our gate.

By the way, the airport in Punta Cana is really lovely.

That was a lucky thing since we ended up spending a fair amount of time there.

First we heard that our flight was delayed until 6:30 pm.  Then we heard 8 pm.  And then, it was rescheduled to 9 am on Sunday!  I had visions of trying to sleep on uncomfortable airport benches.

But it was a Sun Country flight, and I have to say they did an amazing job of taking care of us.  They loaded everyone onto a bus and put us all up at an all-inclusive resort for the night free of charge.  The resort they just happened to choose?  Ocean Blue & Sand!  Ha, seriously, what are the chances?  This was not a package vacation, we had booked our resort and flights separately and no one else on the plane had stayed at Ocean Blue so it was purely a coincidence.  Off we went back to our resort for one more night!

Even though we were really looking forward to getting home, we can’t really complain about being stranded in paradise for one extra night.

In the morning Sun Country bused us all back to the airport and our flight actually took off a few minutes early.  I guess when all of your passengers are arriving together it’s easy to make sure everyone is on board and ready to go on time!

So we returned home yesterday afternoon.  I’m all rejuvenated and read to get to work on some more furniture projects.

Oh, but wait, I almost forgot.  All of that extra time in the airport gave me a chance to stick with my travel giveaway tradition.  For those who aren’t familiar, after each of my last several trips I’ve brought back some foreign decorating magazines to giveaway.  This time I only found one, and comically enough it is seriously outdated which I didn’t notice until after I bought it.  And of course, it’s in Spanish.

I’m going to throw in a few Prima Marketing products as well.  I just happen to have a few extras.

Today’s prize includes:  the Micasa magazine, a Ruby Rose transfer, a stencil brush (which also works great as a wax brush), 3 jars of chalk paste and 3 decor waxes.

The basic rules:  to be eligible to win today’s prize leave a comment of any kind on this blog post.  Your comment must be left on the blog, not on Facebook or Instagram.  You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!

Normally I make a point of answering every comment left on my blog.  If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I like to acknowledge that.  I usually only get 10 to 20 comments so it’s easy to fulfill that promise.  But I suspect I’ll get a few more comments on this post so I’m going to warn you up front that I may not be able to answer each one, so I hope you guys will cut me some slack on that this week.

I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Friday, May 31, 2019 at the stroke of midnight (U.S. Central time).

The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, approximate retail value of prize is $110, if the prize is not claimed by Sunday, June 2, another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.

Good luck!

 

cumulus & thunder.

You know how they say April showers bring May flowers?  Well, how about April snow, sleet and freezing rain?  That’s what we had here yesterday and I felt so sorry for the vendors at Junk Bonanza.  I hope they still had a great showing!

Last Saturday we also had a few of those April showers, but it was too warm for snow or ice.  That made it the ideal weather for a visit to the American Swedish Institute with Mr. Q, my sister and my niece.

The American Swedish Institute is housed in the Turnblad Mansion which was built between 1904 and 1908 for Swan and Christina Turnblad.  Swan Turblad made his fortune in the newspaper business and by making good investments.  Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, ‘The family moved into their new home in 1908.  While it was their official residence, they spent most of their time living in an apartment across the street after 1915.  After Turnblad’s wife died in 1929, he and his daughter moved into the apartment full-time and turned their former home into a museum.’

That kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Swan was descended from generations of Swedish farmers.  Perhaps having come from such humble beginnings he felt out of place in such a massive home.  Or maybe the house was simply too large to heat well during cold Minnesota winters.  I don’t know, I couldn’t find an explanation as to why they didn’t live in the mansion much.

 It definitely has a foreboding appearance in the gloom though, don’t you think?  It reminds me a bit of the Haunted Mansion in Disney World …

Maybe that’s the real reason the Turnblad’s didn’t inhabit it for long, it’s haunted!

Currently (through April 28) the ASI is exhibiting surreal photography by Swedish photographer/visual artist Erik Johansson.  If you are local you really should try to get there to see this exhibit.  There are some amazing, thought-provoking pieces like this one called The Cover-Up.

Actually, pretty much every piece is amazing.  I loved this one called Leap of Faith.

If you look closely at the yellow diamond sign on the staircase, it says ‘one balloon p.p.’.  Don’t we all feel a little bit like that some days as we head off to work with our briefcase in hand and our one allotted balloon?  Or is it just me?

My sister really liked a piece called Impact.

They were showing a short video explaining how Johannson creates his art (here’s a link if you’d like to watch the video for this piece).  There is far more work behind these images than I realized.

As we were wandering around the exhibit there were moments when I couldn’t decide what I should be looking at, the photography or the mansion itself.

I was torn between looking up at the beautiful ceilings …

or checking out some of the 11 tile stoves imported from Sweden …

But in the end it was definitely the thought-provoking art that drew my eye.

 I was totally fascinated by a piece called Demand & Supply.

Take a closer look at what is happening in that photo.  Those backhoes are digging away at the very precarious structure that is holding up that entire city above.  It definitely makes you pause for a moment to consider the implications.

I’ll leave you with this charming photo called Cumulus & Thunder.

I guess this explains where all of those clouds came from last weekend!

I’m sure glad they were there though because we had a really enjoyable time at the ASI.  I’m not sure we would have chosen to go there had it been a gorgeous, sunny, spring day.

Be sure to check out Erik Johansson’s website to see more of his work (and definitely some better images of his photos than that ones I took above).  And if you are local and you’re looking for something to do while the snow melts this weekend, I highly recommend checking out this exhibit before it closes at the end of the month.

la serenissima.

Today I’m sharing the final port of call on the Adriatic cruise that Mr. Q and I took last November, Venice.

Back in December I jumped ahead and shared part of our day in Venice, the tour of the velvet workshop, because it inspired my handmade Christmas wrapping paper.

But today I’ll share a few more photos from our visit to the Most Serene Republic of Venice, or La Serenissima.

I suspect that many people who visit Venice don’t find it serene at all.  Especially if they only go to St. Mark’s Square and the surrounding sights.  However, should you be lucky enough to sail into Venice on a cruise ship in the early hours of morning you might be able to capture the serenity.

This was the second time Mr. Q and I have arrived in Venice by cruise ship and it really is the most amazing thing.  You sail right down the Guidecca Canal passing beautiful Venetian buildings that look like they could sink below the waterline at any moment.

Back in 2017 Venice came up with a plan to divert large cruise ships from this route, but that won’t take effect until 2021.  I totally understand why they want to do this, while at the same time I consider myself really fortunate to have had this experience before it becomes obsolete.  So, FYI, if you’ve always wanted to do this you’d better book that cruise soon.

As I wrote in my earlier post, we hired a private guide in Venice.  Her name is Luisella Romeo and she was absolutely amazing.  So if you are booking that cruise soon, I’d recommend booking Luisella for a tour while you’re at it.

After spending time touring the velvet workshop, we headed across the Guidecca Canal by Vaporetto (water bus) to the Fortuny workshop with Luisella.  Once again she had arranged a totally private tour for just us.

Fortuny makes beautiful dyed fabrics.  However, they are extremely protective of their proprietary process.  So, unlike the Bevilaqua velvet workshop where we saw every step of the process, at Fortuny we only saw the showroom.

But that’s OK, it wasn’t really the fabric I was interested in, it was the garden that is tucked away behind the building.

I have to admit, November probably wasn’t the most impressive time to be visiting this garden.

Nonetheless, I totally enjoyed its serene, early winter beauty.

Even on this rainy day it was really lovely.

Unfortunately our time with Luisella was done after the Fortuny visit.  Had we realized how amazing she was going to be we definitely would have booked her for the entire day.  But we hadn’t, and she had another group scheduled for the afternoon.

So we parted ways, but not before she gave us some ideas of where to go next, drew the route on our map for us and made sure we knew which Vaporetto to get on and which stop to get off at.  She suggested we walk past the gondola workshop, or squero.  The Squero San Trovaso first opened in the 17th century.

You can’t actually tour the place, but it was still interesting to see it from across the canal and watch the craftsman at work.

Although Luisella had given us a couple of other suggestions for where to go from here, we ended up deciding to just wander around the quieter areas of Venice away from the rest of the tourists.

We knew we couldn’t get too lost, it is an island after all.

We just took our time and enjoyed the scenery.  Not everyone is enamored by the graceful decay of Venice, but I definitely think it’s beautiful.

Comically enough, we had just started to realize how hungry and tired we were when we looked up and realized we could see our ship from where we were.  It was easy enough to make our way back to the People Mover and then back to our ship.

I’ve really enjoyed sharing this trip with you guys.  I get to relive it myself while putting these Wednesday blog posts together.  I’m a little bummed to see it end (although I do have some semi-related posts coming up still).  I think Mr. Q and I are going to have to get busy planning our next trip so that I have more travel stories to share!

How about you, have you ever been to Venice?  And if so, were you able to find some serene spaces away from the tourist hordes?

ravenna.

Oh my gosh you guys, we are down to the 2nd to last port of call on our Adriatic cruise from last November.  Today we’re visiting Ravenna, Italy.

We woke to find a beautiful sunrise that we could admire from our balcony.

This is yet another place that I had never heard of before.  The main draw in Ravenna are the churches and their Byzantine mosaics, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

You can buy a combination ticket to visit the top 5 sites, and the route between them is easily covered on foot.

One thing to note if you ever end up in Ravenna via cruise ship, the port is quite far from the city center.  This was also a rare occasion where there were no taxis or other locals waiting just outside the gates at the port to take passengers on tours either.  There was absolutely nothing nearby.  Fortunately our ship offered a shuttle to town for $26 per person.

Once off the shuttle it was an easy walk to the ticket office to purchase the combo admission ticket.

Now, I have a bit of a confession to make.  Our visit to Ravenna was over 3 months ago and when I look at my photos and the map … well … I’m not sure which place is which and they all look rather similar.  So rather than give you any specific details on each place I’m just going to say that if you ever find yourself in Ravenna you should definitely visit all five of the top sites (and more if you have time, because there are more).

Some say the mosaics in Ravenna are the finest examples of Byzantine art outside of Istanbul, and they definitely were stunning.

The colors were so vibrant, and the magnitude of scale was incredible.

The level of detail is mind boggling.  Remember, these are made with tiny, little tiles.

There are also several painted ceilings.

And finally, when your neck has had enough of looking up at ceilings, you can head back outdoors and admire the architecture … but, oh wait, that mostly requires looking up too.

Well, not entirely.

You could just wander the cobblestone streets and admire the buildings too.

Or you can do a little shopping, there was plenty of it to be found.  In fact, this is the spot where we saw so many ‘Black Friday’ sale signs which totally took me by surprise (since Thanksgiving is not an Italian holiday).

I guess the moral to my story is that a visit to Ravenna may also require a visit to your masseuse to cure your stiff neck afterwards.  But it was well worth it.  Next week we’ll be visiting our last port of call, Venice.  Although I already shared our morning tour of the velvet workshop, I still have more to share from Venice.  So if you are enjoying these Wednesday travel posts, be sure to check back next week!

split.

Today’s port of call from our Adriatic cruise is Split, Croatia.

If you aren’t familiar with Split, it is the 2nd largest city in Croatia.  Many people enjoy Split for its beaches, but we were much more interested in the fact that Split was built on the remains of Diocletian’s Palace, a Unesco World Heritage site dating back to A.D. 295.

Diocletian was a Roman emperor from 284 to 305.  He was the first Roman emperor to ever voluntarily give up the position and retire.  In fact, only 20 of the 70 Roman emperors died of natural causes, the rest were assassinated, died on the battlefield, were executed or forced to commit suicide (check out this link to read more about the demise of various Roman emperors).  Anyway, Diocletian built his palace in Split to serve as his retirement home.

It took 10 years to build and Diocletian spared no expense, importing marble from Italy and Greece, and columns and 12 sphinxes from Egypt.

They call it a palace, but in reality it was more of a military fortress with an imperial residence and a fortified town within its walls.  There are 220 buildings within the walls.  One thing that Mr. Q really wanted to find when we were there was a small model of the walled complex that he could buy, and lo and behold, he did find one.

That gives you some idea of what it would have looked like in Diocletian’s day.  Back then the waterline would have been at the front door (it no longer is).

Our ship docked just a short walk away from the Silver Gate, or the eastern entrance into the walled city.

The walk from the port to the Silver Gate takes you past a bus station and a strange gauntlet of luggage storage kiosks.  I’ve never seen so many people who want to store your luggage for the day.  Apparently travelers come to Split by ferry or bus just for the day and need to store their luggage somewhere while they hit the beach or explore the town.

But, more importantly, our walk also took us past an ATM machine.  Croatia has its own currency called the Kuna.  We withdrew a small amount of cash just in case we needed some, and lucky thing because the public bathrooms in Split are not free of charge.

We spent a bit of time just wandering around Split and admiring the unique look of ruins within a thriving city starting with the peristyle.  A peristyle is an open colonnade surrounding a court.

Here is my handsome husband with the peristyle behind him.

As you can see, this particular location was a tourist magnet.  How many tourists with cameras can you spot in this next photo?

We had sort of entered the peristyle through the back door.  The front door would have led into the Imperial Audience Hall with its oculus, which is just beyond that arched opening directly opposite in the above photo.  I’m sure the hall was designed to impress visitors as they arrived at Diocletian’s palace.

The building to the left (which is not at all visible in my photo of the peristyle) is the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.  The structure itself was built in AD 305 as the Mausoleum of Diocletian.  According to Wikipedia, it was later consecrated as the Cathedral of Saint Domnius at the turn of the 7th century AD and is regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure, without near-complete renovation at a later date (though the bell tower dates from the 12th century, and was totally reconstructed in 1908 after it collapsed). By the way, Saint Domnius was martyred by Diocletian.  Hmmmm.  Such irony.

That bell tower is stunning, don’t you think?

Finally, off to the right when looking at my photo of the peristyle is the Temple of Jupiter.  However, this dude on display inside the temple is not Jupiter …

Instead this is a modern day bronze statue of St. John the Baptist, and I have no idea what he is trying to convey with that hand gesture.

But you have to look up to see the real treasure inside the temple.  It’s this vaulted ceiling which is original to the 300 A.D. structure.

Each of those 64 panels has a face in the middle representing a particular human emotion.  Let me get you a close up so you can see them …

Slightly freaky, am I right?

After visiting all of these spots we just wandered the town for a bit.  I simply had to snap a quick photo of this impossibly chic woman as she walked by …

I felt like I had literally stepped into the pages of a fashion magazine.  European cities simply have the best people watching opportunities!

After exploring for a bit, we came upon a coffee shop and the smell of rich, dark coffee brewing drew us inside for a coffee break.

Comically enough, shortly after we sat down with our coffee the skies opened up and it poured rain.  Honestly, we hadn’t even seen it coming.  It had been a lovely sunny day up until that moment.  Seriously, check out all of my photos above, the sky is blue!

So, what was only going to be a quick break for one cup ended up turning into a 2nd cup (and the use of a complimentary toilet) while we waited for the rain to subside.  In the meantime a lovely young couple ducked inside with a small baby sleeping in a baby carriage.  They sat at the table next to us and we struck up a conversation.  I have to tell you guys, this is Mr. Q’s favorite part of traveling.  He loves to meet people and just talk to them, he is a true extrovert.  The young man was from California, but his wife was from Split.  They lived in California, but had brought their young baby to meet the family in Split.  They told us that they actually got married in the Cathedral of Saint Domnius.  I bet that was a beautiful wedding.

The rain eventually passed and Mr. Q and I said goodbye to our new friends and headed out to stroll around some streets that were a bit more wet now before eventually making our way back to our ship.

We stopped off at a little kiosk along the way to spend the rest of our Kuna on some pop (FYI, that’s Minnesotan for soda for those of you not from around here) and a bag of chips (or as the British say, crisps).

By the time we got back to the ship the sun had come back out.

So we were able to sit on our balcony with our feet up, relax and enjoy the view before our ship once again set sail.  Next we are headed back to Italy, this time to Ravenna.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday to learn more about Ravenna and its beautiful mosaics.

made for each other.

One question that comes up rather frequently on my blog is ‘where do you get your inspiration?’  I’m betting that most of us find inspiration on pinterest, Instagram, in magazines and home decor books, and even in our friend’s homes … oh, and hopefully on your favorite blogs too 😉

But I want to add one more thing to that list for me, my travels.

Back in 2017 I was inspired to paint some things in what I called Norwegian Blue after a trip to Norway.

That’s actually Miss Mustard Seeds Flow Blue on that stool, which I thought made the perfect Norwegian Blue.

I was inspired to make my own Christmas wrapping paper after seeing some gorgeous velvet fabrics in Venice on our recent Adriatic cruise.

I also found some inspiration in Montenegro.  On Wednesday I shared our visit to Our Lady of the Rocks in Perast where I was very much enamored by the painted trim inside the chapel.

I love that combination of blue and gold.  It provided the perfect inspiration for revamping this thrift store frame that I picked up last year.

Naturally that slightly creepy picture of a girl was the first thing to go.  But the frame needed a little work too.  Here’s a close up ‘before’ photo …

The gold paint on the inner frame was barely hanging on by a thread.  Initially I was just going to brush off the loose paint, seal the rest, and call it good.  But most of the paint came off when I touched it.

So plan B was to give the frame a new look inspired by the chapel at Our Lady of the Rocks.

I used a small piece of sandpaper to remove as much of that flaking gold paint as possible and then I repainted the middle section of the frame using Prima Marketing’s re.design chalk paste in a color called Buxton Blue.

Are you wondering what exactly chalk paste is?

It’s basically a very thick version of chalk paint.  It is more commonly used in combination with a stencil to create dimension, but it can also just be used as a thickly textured paint.  It was the perfect choice for this frame because it left behind a textured, layered, aged looking finish with just one thick coat.

Once the Buxton Blue was dry, I pulled out the re.design decor wax in a color called Eternal, which is a gorgeous metallic gold.

Using a q-tip, I applied the wax to the inner-most section of the frame to brighten up the gold a bit.  Then I also used it to highlight the detail on the outer-most silver part of the frame to tie it in with the gold.

The final step was to toss the creepy girl picture and replace it with this water color over a Minneapolis plat map.  This was also a thrift store find, but it came framed in a really cheap and tacky modern metal frame.  And by the way, this is a print not an original artwork.

But it looks so much better (and more authentic) in this vintage frame, and can you believe how perfectly it fit!  It’s like they were made for each other.

So, what do you think?  Can you see where the inspiration from Our Lady of the Rocks played a role in this makeover?  Anyone else tempted to try a blue and gold color scheme on something?

our lady of the rocks.

Last Wednesday I shared part of the day we spent in Montenegro on our cruise in November, but I saved our morning tour to Our Lady of the Rocks and Perast for today.

As you may remember our ship sailed past these two spots in the early morning hours on the way to our dock in Kotor.

Our Lady of the Rocks is that little island on the left and St. George island is on the right in the photo above, and here is Perast …

Shortly after our ship docked in Kotor, we disembarked and took a short walk to another dock to board the smaller boat that would take us to Our Lady of the Rocks.

As I mentioned last week, the water in the Bay of Kotor was as smooth as glass.  As we were heading out, this beautiful sailing ship was heading in.

I believe this ship offers some sort of day excursion but I couldn’t find any info about it online.

Although it was a little chilly on the water, the sun came out and the scenery was amazing.

Our Lady of the Rocks is situated on a man-made artificial island.  There is a legend that the islet was created over the centuries by local seamen who kept an ancient oath after finding an icon of the Madonna and Child on a rock in the sea on July 22, 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid another rock in the Bay. Over time, the island gradually emerged from the sea. Apparently the custom of throwing rocks into the sea is still alive. Every year at sunset on July 22, the local residents take their boats out and throw rocks into the sea, widening the surface of the island.

Initially a tiny orthodox chapel was built on the island, but in the 1600’s the Venetians took over this region and they replaced it with a Catholic chapel in 1630.  However, the current church was built in 1722.

The church contains 68 works painted by Tripo Kokolja in the late 1600’s.  According to Wikipedia, the paintings on the ceiling were badly restored by Josip Rossi in 1883.  If you look closely, especially at some of the faces, I think you’ll agree.

There are more of Kokolja’s paintings all around the perimeter of the chapel.

Above the painting hangs a collection of over 2000 silver votive offerings.

These are thin sheets of silver embossed with a design, in this case mostly of ships, that were presented by sailors to give thanks for a safe journey at sea.

There is a natural island (not man made) near Our Lady of the Rocks called St. George island.  It contains an abandoned monastery, but it was also used as a cemetery thus giving it the nickname ‘the island of the dead’.

I bet that would be a creepy place to visit at night, but I think I would have enjoyed seeing it by daylight.  However, our tour did not stop there.

Instead we headed over to Perast.

We could have stayed with our group and toured the local museum, but we were ready to just wander around on our own.  Passageways that look like this just call out to be explored!

We climbed up to the higher points in Perast to check out the view.

Then we headed back downhill and walked the length of Perast’s waterfront.

Along the way we encountered a local who was giving free samples of some Montenegrin pomegranate wine,  and naturally after test tasting it we had to buy some.  We still haven’t popped the cork on that bottle, I’m saving it for a lovely summer evening when we can enjoy it on the deck while fondly reminiscing about our day in Montenegro!