Tag Archives: black Madonna

Leaving Croatia

Tomorrow we fly to Rome, for a couple of days at the same little pensione we stayed at when we first visited the city twenty-five years ago. From Rome, we will fly home. It has been a long vacation, and filled with impressions that will take some time to sort out.

We took a boat to Trogir today to tour extensive Roman ruins–yet another World Heritage site. Everywhere you look in Croatia, it seems, is another amazing landscape.

A few unconnected observations I haven’t previously noted:

Several of the old churches here depict the Madonna and Child as black. I am not sure why, or what the history of such representations is, but I do get a chuckle when I consider how disconcerting those depictions would be to some of our homegrown “Christian” politicos…

As I’ve previously noted, people continue to live in apartments carved into thousand year old walls of the central cities. It’s a reminder that in much of Europe, wealthier people live in the center cities, and poorer folks must settle for what we would call the suburbs. I’m not sure why Americans have inverted that pattern, or when and why density–having neighbors–became something to be avoided. It is density that makes so many services economical, and I have always preferred living in genuine neighborhoods…It’s a puzzle.

Everywhere we’ve gone on this trip we see people wearing English-language t-shirts: everything from Motown to sports teams to University logos to “I heart NY.” And in virtually every case, as the person in the shirt passes by, s/he is speaking German or Italian or French or some other language. For that matter, it is impossible in most cases to tell where people are from. It used to be that you could tell which passersby were Europeans and which Americans with some degree of accuracy; those days are gone. The whole world, it seems, wears jeans and flip-flops, uses IPhones and IPods, and has a Facebook page…

Unless my gaydar is badly malfunctioning, Croatia is a very gay-friendly country…especially the islands. (I will admit to being a bit surprised by a tee-shirt in a local souvenir shop that said–in English–“Just Do It” over a very graphic graphic of male same-sex sex…).

We took a sightseeing bus yesterday, and the guide told us that Croatia is 90% Catholic and 10% atheist….No Protestants, no Jews, and presumably no Muslins, although she didn’t mention them…

I don’t know what my connectivity will be in Rome, but in any event, I will be back in the USA on Friday–air travel permitting–and these posts will revert to the policy and politics subjects that continue to piss me off.