FELLOW TRAVELERS NEWSLETTER
Happy 2008 to everyone, some of us launched an unforgettable New Year in the Portuguese Algarve. We look forward to celebrating next New Year
in Germany (Berlin & Luneburg) and the following year in Sicily. While “hope springs eternal” the economic augurs do not forecast a happy economic (near) future for the international traveler. The news recently informed us the Euro hit $1.53 and crude oil was selling for over $103.00 a barrel. That is not good news for Fellow Travelers. We are still working hard to keep prices down but our $1700 tours of yesteryear are as much a part of history as $1.00 gallon gas. We continue trying to concurrently create exciting new itineraries and keep prices down. For example, to prevent cost escalation for the October Sardinia/Sicily Tour, we just purchased airline tickets seven months in advance to avoid a predicted $200 fuel surcharge. We continue searching for bargains, but they are increasingly hard to find. We do appreciate your efforts to help us keep costs down by paying with checks when possible rather than credit cards; it saves us nearly $50.00 per person per trip in costs.
SARDINIA SICILY TYRRHENIAN ODYSSEY
This tour remains full. Several people dropped out but were replaced by others on a waiting list. We would be pleased to add your name to the waiting list.
ADRIATIC HOLIDAY, CROATIA, VENICE &
BUDAPEST APRIL 1 – 13, 2009 $2695
This 12 day tour is one that I am enthusiastically looking forward to. Having taught Roman History for over 40 years, I have long desired to see the impressive remains of Rome’s legacy in the Eastern Adriatic. 3rd century B.C. pirates from Croatia (then known as Illyria) drew Rome into the political vortex of the Eastern Mediterranean. The region later produced Roman Emperors like the infamous Diocletian who attempted to systematically destroy Christianity. Incredible monuments like the Roman Coliseum in Pula and Diocletian’s Palace in Spit await us. Please see the MSA Cultural Tours website http://msaculturaltours.com for a virtual tour and complete details of the itinerary. (See footnote on Kosovo)
GRAND TOUR OF HISTORIC SPAIN
For those who like to plan long-range, we will kick off the 2009-2010 year with a new tour, “The Grand Tour of Historic Spain.” in October 2009. While the itinerary remains a work in progress, it will focus on the seminal centers of early Spain. Among the destinations will be Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Avila, Leon and Santiago de Compostella. I will have the complete itinerary to you in the next electronic MSA Cultural Tours Bulletin.
V. NOCCIANO AND EVORA
We again thank all of you who helped make the 2007 Nocciano Program a success. The Mediterranean Studies Association (a non-profit educational corporation) continues its endeavors to provide international education opportunities for American high school and college students. For complete details please go to the MSA International Programs website at www.mediterraneanstudies.net.
University of Évora
The MSA is pleased to announce a New Program in Portuguese Language, History, and Culture at the University of Évora, Portugal, June 16-July 13, 2008. For further information we again asked you to consult the MSA International Programs site at: www.mediterraneanstudies.net
FOOTNOTE ON KOSOVO
Because of the recent news of political unrest in Kosovo I was recently asked if Croatia is a safe travel destination. Indeed it is, Kosovo, like Croatia and Greece is in the Balkan Peninsula. Kosovo boarder on Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, not Croatia.
Yugoslavia was a superficial WW I creation founded in 1918. It consisted of diverse people and areas including Slovenia. Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Yugoslavia offered fierce resistance to the Germans in WW II, and adopted communism. From 1953 until his death in 1980, the Dictator, Tito, ruled it. In the 1990’s Yugoslavia fragmented into five independent countries. Croatia and Slovenia in June, 1991, Macedonia September, 1991, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in February, 1992. In each instant there were military invasions by the Serbs to prevent independence. With help from NATO, independence was achieved but not without bloodshed, massive destruction, and alleged Serbian atrocities. A number of Serbs have been tried in The Hague for war crimes. Croatia suffered considerable damage during their war of independence and loss much of its lucrative tourist industry. Now peaceful and rebuilt, Croatia is again a tourist Mecca attracting million of visitor each year. It now appears to be Kosovo’s turn to suffer Serbian wrath.
Kosovo is the heartland of medieval Serbia, home to some 1.7 million ethnic Albanians. Predominantly Islamic in faith, with a rapidly growing population, they are a source of enmity to Serbian nationalists who view Kosovo as a kind of Serbian Palestine. NATO intervened two years ago to prevent ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kosovo’s Albanian/Moslem population by the Serbs. An unsettled situation in Kosovo will possibly exist in the near future but it should have no affect outside a very limited area of the Balkan Peninsula.