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Greetings from Dubrovnik, Croatia! Events, Photography

I can’t believe I’m writing to you from this amazingly beautiful place. (I think I’ve taken 100 photos already in the short time we’ve been here.) If you have plans to visit Europe, Dubrovnik—a walled city along the Adriatic Sea—should be a must stop on your list of cities. It’s about 70 degrees today, and the sun is shining.

Our Big Shot entourage arrived on Easter Sunday. I want to take this opportunity to introduce everyone, because I plan to blog about them all week. The Big Shot organizers are Bill DuBois, chair of photographic arts in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts & Sciences; Dawn Tower-DuBois, NTID professor; Michael Peres, chair of biomedical photography communications; Tara Rosa, alumni relations director of chapter programs; and Debbie Kingsbury, assistant dean for the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences.

The six of us flew from Rochester to Washington Dulles International Airport on Saturday afternoon. Due to mechanical problems earlier in the day, our United flight out of Rochester was delayed twice. We knew we weren’t going to make our connecting flight on United from Dulles to Frankfurt, so we were booked on the German airline Lufthansa. I had no idea what to expect, but Tara had previously flown Lufthansa to Munich and raved about the service. All I can saw is WOW!! The plane was enormous. It was a B-747-400 with two floors and a seating capacity of 330 people. Each row is 10 seats across, with first class passengers on the upstairs floor. We were seated on the second floor in economy. No matter—alcoholic drinks were free. The flight attendants served us a hot meal (with real silverware), hot lemon-scented towels, cognac or Bailey’s Irish Cream and breakfast. As I’m sure you can imagine, the 4,057 miles from D.C. to Frankfurt weren’t so bad.

From Frankfurt, it was just under two hours to Dubrovnik. We flew Croatian Airlines for this last leg of the journey. Some old and new friends were at the airport to welcome us. Willie Osterman, professor in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts & Sciences, and Don Hudspeth, president of RIT’s American College of Management and Technology, were there. For those not familiar with ACMT, it’s RIT’s sister college in Dubrovnik. More than 600 students study here. Latika, a senior at ACMT, also was at the airport to say hello. Latika graciously drove with Debbie, Tara and me to our hotel to make sure we got settled. The three of us are staying at the Grand Hotel Park. Monday is a holiday, so ACMT is closed.

Today has been a bit technically challenging. I wrote this blog post in a Word document, but have had trouble finding Internet access. Tomorrow will be easier, as it will be our first day on ACMT‘s campus. There’s much more to share, but because Croatia is six hours ahead of Rochester it’s early evening already here. So, bye for now.

  1. Donna Sterlace
    Apr 09

    I'm so glad you all made it there safe and sound! We can't wait to see the photo on Thursday April 12! I'm glad the weather is good there...it's snowing in Rochester right now and for Easter Sunday we received about 3 inches of snow!
    I can't wait to read more of your blog...take care and enjoy Croatia!

  2. Marge Sakamoto
    Apr 09

    I enjoyed reading about your plane trip to Croatia, and I look forward to reading more about your experiences there at ACMT and with the Big Shot event and entourage. Hello to Deb Kingsbury!

  3. Jim Leone
    Apr 09

    Hey Kelly, it sounds like you're having a great time. Keep the news coming. Create a super big shot for us. We're shivering back here!

  4. Zerbe Sodervick
    Apr 09

    Hello to you Kelly, and everyone from here that are there...
    I was in your city by the sea on a honeymoon - a million memories ago. I too am excited about seeing your images and hearing more details about the trip itself. So glad you had a good flight and arrived safely. Now get out there and do it all! We are all thinking great thoughts about you over there. Zerbe

  5. Amelia
    Apr 09

    What a great opportunity! When I travel I love trying out the local cuisine. What is Croatian food like?

  6. Julie Long
    Apr 09

    Kelly--wow--what an adventure--just on the plane ride over! The Lufthansa airliner sounds amazing. Can't wait to see some of your photos of the amazing scenery! Catie and Anna say "hi!!" Did you get to Easter Sunday service at one of the churches there?

  7. Kelly Downs
    Apr 10

    Hello Everyone! Thanks for your responses and well wishes. Jules, we did go to Easter Sunday mass at one of the old Cathedrals in Dubrovnik's Old Town. There's been a church in that location since the 7th century. The entire mass was in Croatian and the priest was quite passionate during the homily. If only we knew what he was saying! Tara and Debbie returned there yesterday to look around the church and light candles. Amelia, to answer your question, fresh fish is amazing and our friends in the photo school have discovered black risotto. Traditional breakfasts are very European--meats, cheeses, and breads and strong black coffee that I need to dilute with lots of milk! More later when we arrive on campus at ACMT. Looking forward to meeting all the people there who've been so instrumental in the logistics around the Big Shot.

  8. Debbie Kingsbur
    Apr 10

    Imagine being in Rochester...20 degrees and snowing, and 12 hours or so later you find yourself in paradise. Warm, sunny, ancient buildings, the most beautiful sea (Adriatic) you can image, and it immediately feels like home (or more appropriately campus) because you keep running into friends/co-workers, and your students on the street. What an amazing opportunity!!

    For dinner Sunday night Kelly, Tara, and I ventured to a wonderful little cafe where we tried some of the local cousine—seafood risotto, grilled scampi (these come to you whole, like a mini fresh lobster—messy but delicious), and pasta.

    Tara and I walked the fortress wall (2.5 hours) above Old Town early Monday morning to become familiar with the city and get our bearings—me in my sneakers, Tara in cute shoes with heels. She is much more graceful than I am. :)

    After `the wall,´ we went to find the Big Shot reception location—another beautiful location. We ran into Willie and several students in the area, and off I went with them for a quick coffee and to a photo class where a Croatian photographer was presenting. From there we went for ice cream (a favorite food here) at Dulce Vida. (My sense is I´ll be buying them a lot of ice cream for students this week!!!) It was great fun to spend time with the students and learn more about them and their experiences here.

    And here we are this morning at ACMT. Bill, Dawn, Michael and Willie are presenting to our students and the ACMT folks who will be working with us as `interpreters´ during the Big Shot. From here we visit classes, attend more meetings and go to more Big Shot planning events. We are hoping for A LOT of people to come out on Thursday night—but only time will tell!!

    More later....

  9. Mark Indelicato
    Apr 10

    I have been reading about Medjugorje - in that part of the world. Do you know the proximity of that place to where the Big Shot will be taking place?

  10. Paul Stella
    Apr 10

    What? No Starbucks, Kelly? That reminds me, I need my morning jolt. Off to Crossroads. :)

  11. John Follaco
    Apr 10

    Just checked out the link to your hotel. Ummm, wow. You got put up in quite a dive, huh ;-) Try to squeeze some fun into all the work you're doing over there. Looking forward to reading more updates.

  12. kelly downs
    Apr 10

    Hi Mark-
    Thanks for your question. Medjugorje is in Herzegovenia.It's about a two hour drive by car from Dubrovnik.

  13. Bob
    Apr 10

    Kelly, the finance office called....They want to see some receipts :-)...Can't wait to see your photos.

  14. Laura Cummings
    Apr 10

    Hey Kelly - Sounds like you're having a great time. What an experience! Can't wait to read more over the next week and see your photos when you get back.

  15. donna doldo
    Apr 12

    Deb, Sounds like a fantastic place, have enjoyed the Web site. Can't wait for the BIG SHOT. Take care, talk to you soon. Love Aunt Donna

  16. Kim Foss
    Apr 12

    Debbie, I am so jealous of your fantastic trip to Croatia! Even tho you must be exhausted from all your travelling, it sounds like a beautifull city. I am definitely going to travel with you someday! Have a great time, can't wait to see your pictures... Kim

  17. Deb Kingsbury
    Apr 13

    Kim - you can travel with me anytime!

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