June 22, 2022

I WROTE THIS BLOG AS AN ASSIGNMENT IN 2008 WHEN studying abroad in Croatia. This website has been broken since September of 2013: the design was disabled due to expiring web technologies, and there were thousands of automated spam comments.

In June of 2022, 14 years later, I restored the blog's original design (now at a higher resolution), made the photographs bigger and sharper, improved 3 photos with bad color, removed all of the spam, and updated the links. The 2022 version of the 2007 site no longer relies on Wordpress or server side technology, so it shouldn't require much future maintenance. I also reversed the order of the entries (it's now from beginning to end) for easier reading. Lastly, I added additional information in addendums for existing posts and added a final entry with media I never got around to adding.

You can see a full 2007-2022 change log here, see the working original/unimproved/lo-fi blog here, and see a more comprehensive collection of photos here.

A donation page for Leah is here.

At bus stop

Photo of me, Kayla and Kara by Lori in Old Town, taken March 8th, 2008


February 22, 2008

I AM GOING TO WRITE STUFF worth reading on this webpage. At least I’m going to give it my damnedest. Sort of uncool—yes. And I know only a few people will really read it, but that’s not why I’m writing it. By the end of the trip not only will I have amassed this wonderful body of thought and insight to look back on, but I think having been forced to do things and reflect on the experience more than I would naturally will have actually made the whole trip more cohesive and worthwhile.

Also, I think anything not worth reading is—after following the syllogistic chain of reason to an early enough link—difficult to justify writing in the first place. Like writing a piece of software that does nothing: If the actual program doesn't accomplish anything—if it's not challenging to write, what could possibly be satisfying in bringing it to being? There's this linear relationship between what a program can do, how hard it is to write, and how all-in-all satisfying that program is to produce. Even if you are writing a sophisticated program as a school project, and it will never be distributed, you learn a whole lot from it, get attached to it, and think back warmly about it years later. And so I'm applying that logic here, to this webpage.

My guidelines are as follows:

  1. I'll try to post two meaty entries a week (around Thursday and Sunday night).
  2. Each entry will have some sort of overarching point or theme that's sort of abstract (i.e. it's not just how my day went or technical details), and have a real conclusion (stream of consciousness isn’t cool for meaty entries) .
  3. I'll try to post one picture that doesn't suck for every day I'm abroad (grand total by the end; I might post two and skip a day, for example).
  4. I will be a little overwrought. Why? Because I like being a little god damned overwrought.
  5. I will use this webpage as a reason to see and do as much interesting stuff as I can while in Europe.

* * *

So I’m traveling with a group of 7 CS majors including me, and a small group of photo students. I haven’t met any of the photo students yet, but the CS group so far is looking pretty awesome (though the jury is still out on Kyle, who, as it turns out, appreciates football). We’ve got a trio of really sort of outgoing old friends; hopefully having them around will help keep us otherwise deeply introverted CS majors above ground. Damn. Next quarter can’t come soon enough.

* * *

So, on Wednesday night (3/5/08) I’ll be heading out from JFK and touching down in Frankfurt the next morning. I have 4 hours in Germany and then it’s off to Dubrovnik, where I’ll come in at about 4 pm.

Odds are if you are reading this I’ll see you there.


March 10, 2008

HERE ARE A COUPLE OF THE PHOTOS I took at the beach.

The sunset from the road.

Anna right after taking a picture

A shot from the road overlooking the city

Stacy playing with a stray cat

Stacy holding the stray

Some unusual trees by the road

Brad looking into the sunset (as seen in his glasses)

A building we passed heading to the beach

Zoran explaining something to Leah


March 12, 2008

I’VE NEVER BEEN ANY GOOD AT MAKING small talk. This is a problem when nothing especially important needs to be said and awkward silences are more awkward than awkward conversation.

So instead of having an awkward blog entry or an awkward silence (which there has been up to this point), I’m going to change my plans and make this entirely for photos; I’ll leave the small talk to the people who don’t suck at it (the links above, and there’s a more complete list on Chris’ blogroll).

If something needs to be said, I’ll say it—but until then I’m clamming up.


March 15, 2008

AN HDR SHOT OF DUBROVNIK I took from the side of the lake [body of water cleaving through Dubrovnik] opposite our [old] apartment.

Comment by Tina Sturgis:
This is an AWESOME picture! Is this a pic you actually took? Way cool.

March 15, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

Comment by Stacy:
It isn’t a lake, it’s the sea.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:06 pm


April 4, 2008

NOW THAT MY LAPTOP IS BACK ONLINE, my hard drive recovered, and my Internet connection stable, I’m going to start posting some of the pictures I’ve been taking. I’ve got a ton of them so it will take me a couple of days to catch up.

The photo people with me, Kyle and Axel.

Addendum 7.4.22

All names starting from the left: Kyle, Lori, Anna, Zoran, Kayla, Teo, professor Denis Defibaugh, Kara, Don, me, professor Axel Schreiner

This was taken March 28 on Mount Srd.

Anna taking a picture of something.

Chris’ funny look.

Teo out of batteries trying to get his camera to work. Looks much more romantic though.

Stacy sitting on the top of fort on the hill.

An HDR shot of an old lady I found walking down this really interesting road by the salt mine in Ston. She gave me a kiss on the cheek afterwards :) .


May 8, 2008

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES FROM BEHIND ACMT, Mali Ston, and Ston respectively.

Chris lounges on wall overlooking a cliff. Stacy hides behind him.

Stacy shows Chris her pictures.

Default Chris: Handicam in hand and massive backpack to match.

Kyle enjoying the view.

Stacy looking at her pictures in the shade.

Enourmous dog checks out diminutive dog.

A bear with dog paws.

Tiny kid claims dog.

HDR shot I took without my tripod (which is why it looks a little funny).

Addendum 7.10.22

This is an HDR photo taken with a DSLR camera by merging several photos taken at different exposures together. Unfortunately, I took the three different pictures at slightly different angles here and the end result of merging them together is a mess (I used Photomatix ~2.5 to merge the photos). I tried to fix this so it didn't look like a straight up error, but it still looks like garbage.

Tracks outside of the salt mine in Ston.

River outside the salt mine in stone

Road leading to the salt mine.

The religious festival at night in Ston.


May 19, 2008

SO I AM IN THE UK WRITING ABOUT being here. I love Dubrovnik, but it’s nice to be around people who mostly speak your language, recycle, live in fear of traffic laws, and butter their bread. You still have to bag your own groceries.

In all honestly I see myself really enjoying my stay here in Boston Spa, which is a tiny, relatively rural suburb of Leeds. More than anything else it’s an escape from Dubrovnik for a little while. Here it’s quite, there’s lot of nature, no bright overpowering sun, and no tourists. Dubrovnik is beautiful, but it’s also overwhelming: too much coming at you from too many different directions. I really loved it for the first month or so, but you get used to the good things and the hand full of not so good things start to ware on you more as time goes on. If familiarity breeds contempt and absence makes the heart grow fonder, I’m sure I’ll have a renewed sense of appreciation for the place when I go back.

In other news: My little brother Chris started a blog. It was posted like 2 weeks ago and he already has more entries than I do. More than enough than would be required to do the Project for Axels XML class. Which I don’t… yet.

Have a picture:

That’s from the inside of York Minster, second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.


May 19, 2008

SO MY TIME IS ALMOST UP HERE AND I HAVE HAD some amazing experiences; there are a few things I regret too. So with that, some advice for any students planning on studying abroad:

  • Learn some Croatian before you come. I recommend the Pimsleur tapes, which are expensive if you decide to buy them, but you can rest assured that any time and money you expend will be a worthwhile investment. A lot of people at stores don’t speak English here and although you wouldn’t be able to talk to locals in their language with just 20 hours of lessons, it gives you a great basis for conversation.
  • Buy a prepaid cell phone here. Don’t bring one from home. Don’t neglect to buy a cellphone unless you are really strapped. It only cost us a few hundred Kuna (maybe a little over 50 bucks, cheaper than a sim card and easier to maintain) and its harder to get to know people without one.
  • Don’t neglect your studies and don’t waste time on the I time on the Internet. You want to have more free time to do cool stuff than in Rochester, but getting that time from neglecting school work can kill your spirit here and take away from the experience overall.
  • Be outgoing. Your well-being is much more contingent on meeting new people here than the people you’ll want to get to know, who usually already have an established friend base. You need to take the initiative to be outgoing.
  • If you have the money, plan trips to the surrounding area and other places in Europe with people. Of the people here who’ve gone, none have had any regrets.

That is all. Have a picture:

Ruins of an abby between the dales and Boston Spa.


May 29, 2008

IT WAS MONDAY, 9 AM CROATIAN TIME (3 AM EASTERN TIME) THAT I smoked my last cigarette before getting in the cab to head to Dubrovnik Airport. That was about 3 days ago, and I think most of the symptoms of physical withdrawal (headaches, depression, general dysphoria) have subsided. What still lingers is purely psychological, and has more to do with leaving Dubrovnik than nicotine (I was smoking more than 2 packs a day for the last few weeks). The people, the culture, the beauty, the sense of wonder, awe and safety all at once disappear and you are suddenly forced to return to regular, normal, humdrum life–and it’s a little bit of a shock.

The night before I left I remember wishing RIT was on the semester system. Maybe it wouldn’t have seemed complete to me regardless of how much time we spend there, but I think another 5 weeks would have made the entire experience much more satisfying. I could feel the city starting to wear on me, but leaving I still felt like there was a lot left unexplored, and a lot I didn’t quite understand yet. Maybe if I spent more time in the museums, or doing other more touristy things I would felt more satisfied… I didn’t even get around to walking the walls in their entirety before I left.

But at the same time, because of the people I met I’ve done and experienced things that very, very few tourists of any kind could have in Dubrovnik, or any place really. I’ve had coffee with Croatians, meet them, talked about personal things, I’ve seen their lifestyles, their passions, their personalities, and their problems first hand. In class Zoran talked about the Iceburg of culture; the culture Croatia presents for the rest of the world in tourist traps and gaudy museums and informative plaques is the tip of the cultural iceberg. 12 weeks is enough time see some of the nuances of their culture, stuff beneath the surface: things that are a lot more real, and a lot more interesting and less obvious. While I wish I could stay longer, I’m so grateful for having the opportunity in my life to see and understand another culture up close like this.

One of the recent episodes of my favorite radio show, This American Life, was about the figurative size and form of the world we inhabit; how our experiences shape it and how it shapes who we are. It’s kind of a weird thing to think about, but I think being in Croatia has dramatically changed my perception of the world and people; it’s changed the world I inhabit quite a bit. It’s bigger now. I see America as more of another country than a giant indomitable entity that the rest of the world revolves around–one of my old misconceptions. I don’t see cigarettes as evil or dumb anymore. I see work differently. I see war differently: more close up, and it seems more real and frightening than ever.

One of my preconceptions was actually strongly reaffirmed by my visit here: That people, underneath the cultural tip of the iceberg, are, by their nature, regardless of country and culture and upbringing, pretty much the same. From seeing the relationships and conflicts in people’s lives there, at least among the people who I’ve had the time to get to know long enough to see that side of their life, it’s clear that the dramas in peoples lives in Dubrovnik are very similar to those in America; they are just played out with a different accent. You see a political battle between nationalists and progressives, fear of unrequited love, problems with parents, inlaws, jealous boyfriends, and getting along with siblings–not better or worse than you see in the United States, but the same. I think of all the things I’ve taken away from the trip, I’m most grateful for that.

Final Dispatch

June 20, 2008

I WAS LOOKING THROUGH MY ARCHIVE OF PHOTOS today, looking to see which ones might be worth putting in my last post before I archive the files to DVD and delete them from my hard drive. I had over 2000 pictures–that’s 17 gigs worth of photos–to look through… and I was surprised about two things: (1) Just how how many of those 2000 photos completely sucked and (2) how much I forgot in only the past couple weeks about our experiences there. This might be because I have a particularly bad memory–but I bet most of us would be at least a little bit surprised to look back at some pictures and be reminded of moments that we would have otherwise never thought of again.

So, with that being said, one last batch of pictures, mostly from our trips to Kotor, Budva, Mostar and Sarajevo and mostly of people, starting with my fellow CS students:

Kyle (Kotor, Montenegro)

Ian (Kotor, Montenegro)

Leah (Mostar, Bosnia)

Chris (Kotor, Montenegro)

Stacy (?)

Brad (Dubrovnik, Croatia)

And of course, our professor:

Professor Axel (Mali Ston, Croatia)

Now, some individuals who are not CS students, but ended up spending a lot time with the CS group:

? (Rest stop memorial, Bosnia)

Teo (Sarajevo, Bosnia)

A few pictures of groups of people:

Stacy, Chris and Kyle (behind ACMT, Dubrovnik, Croatia)

Ian, Kyle, Stacy and Chris (Kotor, Montenegro)

Chris and Kyle (Kotor, Montenegro)

Ted and Stacy (Budva, Montenegro)

Chris, Ted, monster dog, Sammy, Axel and Carrol (Mali Ston)

Chris, Leah and Stacy (Kotor, Montenegro)

?, cattle, Leah (on the road, Bosnia)

Kyle, Stacy, Brad, Leah, Ian (Kotor, Bosnia)

Kyle and Chris (ACMT Picnic, Dubrovnik, Croatia)

Chris, Leah, Teo, Zoran (Memorial rest stop, Bosnia)

Chris, Leah (Kotor, Montenegro)

Chris, Ian (Dubrovnik, Croatia)

Ian (rest stop memorial, Bosnia)

And, lastly, a picture of each of the places we visited, in the order we visited them:

Babin Kuk Apartment View

Rest stop on the way to Ston.

Addendum 7.14.22

Location photograph taken: 42°42'57.0"N 17°58'17.6"E

Trsteno Arboretum - Constructed slightly before 1492, used by nobles historically and as a set for Game of Thrones season 3 and 4 years after this photograph was taken.


Mali Ston


Me and Brad’s Apartment View

The first stop we took on the way to Kotor

Kotor, Montenegro

Restaurant between Kotor and Budva

Addendum 6.29.22

Location photograph taken: 43°39'04.7"N 17°45'15.3"E

Our trip to Montenegro (Kotor and Budva) was April 19 while was taken May 9 or 10, so this caption is incorrect. This image was posted twice in the original blog, where its other caption stated it was between Mostar and Sarajevo, which is right.

Looking at the photographs Exif data there are pictures of Mostar hours before this shot and Sarajevo after, and I was later able figure out that this restaurant was Zdrava Voda, by matching customer photographs with this photograph, which I took 15 minutes after taking the picture of the food above.


Budva, Montenegro


I have no pictures of Međimurje :(

Mostar, Bosnia

View off the bridge in Mostar



Battle of Sutjeska memorial
(I updated this to a newer tonemapped version of the less interesting original version, which can still be seen here – Tom 9/21/08)

At the border of Serbia (?) and Croatia

* * *

There are also quite a few pictures on my flickr that weren’t posted here (to save you wear on your scroll wheel). At some point in the future I’ll post all of these and more in one whopping album on facebook. Also, if you haven’t already, make sure you check out Lori’s video, which turned out fantastic.

This is my last post here and all future blog entries, mostly photos, will be at posted at once I finish setting it up.

If you reading this and you traveled with me, it was a pleasure travelling with you.

And I guess that wraps everything up.


July 11, 2022

I ADDED THIS POST MANY YEARS AFTER MY FINAL DISPATCH. It's not a post as much as it's a place I can post additional media and information which I didn't have time to time to include originally, but want to remember. It includes a clickable list of addendums so you can see what new information has been added, an interactive panorama and additional photos. Thanks for taking the time to peruse this old blog.

Addendums added after 2022 update (click to view):

A panorama I took on one of our apartments:

Photo taken a few meters from 42°39'05.7"N 18°05'50.7"E at Guest House Kalauz

To make this I put my Rebel XTi on a tripod on the balcony and took pictures at a bunch of different angles and used Photoshop CS3 to automatically stitch them together.

Here is the original picture.

Some photos that took but didn't originally include:

See the panorama on the desktop site

An HDR shot of Dubrovnik from Srd. According to file data taken on 3.28.08

Anna, Kara and Teo taking pictures of ruins in Sarajevo on 5.9.08 or 5.10.08

Dubrovnik beach picture taken May 11, 2008 during the ACMT picnic.

Taken at Banje Beach at 42°38'29.28"N, 18° 6'57.00"E

Kara on Mount Srd taking a picture of a large cross located here. This was probably taken March 28, since that's when most of my pictures on Srd are dated. I never uploaded this one to Flickr, so all I have is this low quality 2008 era Facebook version.

Don takening pictures of ruins on Mt Srd (?) on March 28, 2008

According to my vague memory of 15 years ago, this was taken inside of a fort on Mt. Srd in Dubrovnik, Croatia (if that's the case it was on March 28, 2008). However, since the HDR processing deleted the photo's exif data I honestly have no idea when/where this is for sure.

According to EuropeTravel.Blog, this is The Medallion of the Lion of St Mark. Enscribed in 1760 AD, the Latin inscription directs to the Kotor Fortress. It's located at 42°25'33.0"N 18°46'19.5"E This was taken on April 26, 2008.

The walls of Budva, taken on April 26, 2008

Taken on March 28, 2008. Tower on Mount Srd (most likely)

Don on May 10, 2008. Showing the mini door of the mini mart.

Very high resolution shot taken waiting in customs on a border on May 11, 2008. Highest resolution photo here.

Chris and Kyle walking in Dubrovnik March 17, 2008.

Chess at dusk Sarajevo on May 10, 2008

Public art in Sarajevo on May 10, 2008

Chris on March 21, 2008 in Ston. He is standing at a few feet from 42°50'14.2"N 17°41'45.6"E. You can see the other side of the structures / water here.

Students walking away May 11, 2008

According to photo data taken on March 30, 2008, but I think I really took this on March 28, since it looks like a Brad's descending what looks to be Mount Srd, and that's when we did that.