NECA’s International Study Missions are intended to bring U.S. contractors into direct contact with the management and workforce of electrical contracting firms in other countries to encourage the interchange of ideas, technologies and best practices. Participants also enjoy spectacular sightseeing, dining and shopping with luxurious accommodations at every stop. And they bring back memories to last a lifetime!
This year’s trip explored Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro, September 17-28.
It all begins in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, a beautiful, compact city where 3000 years of history and legend blend with commercial modernity. Participants will stay at the centrally located Grand Union Executive Hotel. A guided walking tour along the cobbled lanes of the Old City includes stops at the 18th?century cathedral, Baroque town mansions, the Magistrat (town hall) with its arcaded gothic inner courtyard, Shoemaker Bridge and the Jewish quarter. The afternoon is devoted to meeting with local contractors to discuss government regulations, bidding, training, materials and wage rates and visiting active construction sites.
Then, it’s on to Croatia, with a stop for a walking tour of Samobor before arriving at the Regent Esplanade in Zagreb. The city has been likened to Vienna and Budapest and offers plenty of historic sights, including the Church of St. Mark located in medieval Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and the Mirogoj Cemetery, with its fascinating soaring domes, neo-Renaissance arcade, and trees, flowers and gravestones of all shapes, sizes, and colors imaginable. In addition, NECA members will also meet with local contractors and visit active construction sites in this capital city.
The full-day trip from Zagreb to Split on the Dalmatian Coast includes a stop for lunch at Plitvice Lakes National Park. The park, where 16 lakes are connected by a series of waterfalls set in deep woodland, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour group will arrive in nearby Podstrana late in the afternoon. Lodgings for the next three nights will be at the Le Meridien Lav, the Adriatic’s premier beach resort.
The next afternoon, participants visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site —Trogir, a charming island settlement dating back to the Hellenistic period. Later, a closer look at Split reveals a maze of medieval streets that cluster around the former palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, whose mausoleum now serves as the town’s cathedral, and a number of other spectacular sites that reveal how Trogir has been affected by Roman, Venetian, Austrian, French, Italian and Yugoslavian control over the past 2300 years.
The next morning, the tour crosses the Adriatic by speed boat to visit the medieval port on the island of Hvar, a well-known playground for international celebrities and royalty. Because the Dalmation Coast produces some exceptional wines, a tasting is included with lunch, and participants will explore Havar Fortress, the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Franciscan monastery that dates from 1461.
The next day starts with a visit to picturesque Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina where participants will see the Old Bazaar and the 16th\ century Karadjox Bey’s Mosque. By late afternoon, the tour group will arrive at Dubrovnik, a seaport surrounded by 800-year-old walls and famed for terra-cotta roofs, narrow cobblestone streets and its lively medieval atmosphere. Accommodations are the 5-Star Excelsior Hotel & Spa overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
The next morning features a guided walking tour through the city’s historic center that takes in the Rector’s Palace, Gothic-Renaissance Sponza Palace and the Dominican Monastery & Cathedral, which includes a treasury of gold and silver religious artifacts. In the afternoon, NECA members will visit a live construction site and engage in discussions with local contractors.
The final full day of the 2011 NECA International Study Mission takes participants to Montenegro for a visit to Kotor, an old Venetian town known for its fortified walls, 12th-century cathedral and maritime museum. Participants will also see the fjord of Kotor, Europe’s southernmost. (The bay and city of Kotor are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to their natural and cultural uniqueness.) Following lunch, the adventure continues on a boat ride to the tiny Church of Our Lady of the Rocks.