Dubrovnik, Croatia

The bus from Korcula to Dubrovnik was running late. Lucky for us the bus driver was local, as if it was us driving we would never have known that you are allowed to overtake with oncoming traffic or even as signs said SLOW as corners approached, you were actually meant to drop down a gear and accelerate faster. I was about to turn to Sarah to comment on the crazy fool, when I noticed she was asleep. Perhaps it was just me.

Minus the crazy driver, it is quite a nice drive along the peninsula towards, what is called “The Pearl of the Adriatic.” We arrived via a fairly new road and over a spectacular bridge overlooking the main harbour. The bridge was 50m high and yet the cruise shipped docked was even higher. It was scary to think how many people were on it. We arrived at a bus stop outside the walls of the Old Town, collected a map, and wandered through the Gate of Ploca. There were a lot more people here than anywhere else we had been, and as we moved closer to the main road, Stradun, the numbers increased. We had heard about the incredibly beautiful marble street that runs up the centre of the old town but, as we turned into it, it could not be seen. Thousands upon thousands of people in groups following one person with a numbered sign.

As we zigged and zagged though the people, we tried to find the street we needed to turn down. Halfway down the street we heard a a voice from behind crying out, “Wait, Wait Wait!” We turned to find a lady clutching a notepad, trying to get our attention. As she arrived, she said, “You are Mr Wait and you need a room, yes?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis normally happens as you arrive into port or to a bus stop. Local people are waiting trying to rent you a room in their house. But this lady knew my name (kinda) and she opened her notebook and pointed at ‘Wade’. She was slightly out of breath, but she said she called the bus station, then the agency we came by looking for us as we were late and she was worried. The agency said we would be an hour or so later so she sat in the Main Street, drinking coffe, waiting for us to walk by. As we walked past she thought we looked Australian (tanned and muscly!) so ran after us. She led us through the tiny streets of Dubvonik telling us where to eat, where to drink, where to go, what time to go, who had the best pasta, who had the best pizza, how big the ink risotto is here and how big the fish is there. When we arrived at our place, Rooms Stradun, our minds were frazzled. She took our details, introduced to her sister, showed more places on the map, and after one more “okay darlings!” she disappeared. Ahhh what just happened!

It was a huge room, and just outside, leading through a tiny window (that was mentioned ten times “be careful, it’s dangerous you will hit your head”) was a beautiful garden terrace where we could eat dinner. As we were well and truly over budget for Croatia, we had already planned our entire weekend of self catering. The people in the other room, however, had demanded to have the shared kitchen and shared bathroom to themselves, so we had to eat out out and use the bathroom downstairs. No biggy, but there goes the budget again.

We decided to try the place with the ‘best pasta’ for lunch, called Spaghettiera Toni. We shared a mountain of delicious prawn pasta and a cold glass of white wine. As we were about to leave, Sarah remembered the lovely couple who bought us a beer on Vis. As we went separate ways on Hvar, they had given us a card that gave 10% off at eight restaurants in Dubrovnik. We checked it and randomly of the approximately 1 million restaurants, we had sat down at one of the eight. Budget back in check, we wandered the town, stopping in the shade when ever we could to cool down and to avoid the mass crowds. It was so hot we decided to head back to the room for a shower and to cool down before tackling the steps and heat involved in walking above the old city walls.

We waited until 6pm before climbing up and by 6:05pm we were drenched in sweat. It was still the perfect time to go though, as the sun was beginning to set causing the red roofs of the old town to glow, making the view even more spectacular. We spent just under two hours walking around, taking photos and admiring the views, so it was time for a well earned dinner and a couple of cheeky beers. After hearing so much about the squid ink risotto, we decided to wander down to take a look at the restaurant. Once glance of the menu, it was decided, burgers from Presa, will be our dinner this evening. At 280kn for one giant burger and two beers, it was hard to complain.

The following morning we decided to skip the day trip to Mljet and instead, opted for the local ferry to the island of Lokrum, which translates to Bitter Fruit. Upon arrival, we changed the translation to Peacock Island. Peacocks in the bushes, peacocks in the trees, peacocks in restaurants, they were everywhere. Walking through the garden was a great respite from the heat. We slowly walked towards the”Dead Sea”, a small salt water lake within the island. We looked at the size of the lake, the amount of children swimming, did a quick ratio calculation of wee:water and opted to keep walking. We wandered though the former monastery with manicured gardens, into the remains of the chapel and into the botanical gardens that were full of Eucalyptus trees. There were no Koalas to be found but more peacocks and a random rabbit underneath a bush.

We walked the coast of the entire island as it got hotter and hotter, but were rewarded with a view back over the water to the old town of Dubrovnik. We climbed up the hill to the fort for another spectacular view of the Adriatic. By the time we reached the coast again, it was time for a swim. We climbed the rocks to the ocean and broke previous records of time taken to jump in. We dried off while eating our picnic before strolling back to the harbour, where as we arrived a boat had just left, so had to wait for another. While we waited a group arrived wearing their finest outfits for a wedding that was going to take place in this amazing setting, when all of a sudden the skies opened and we all ran for shelter. The rain stopped as the ferry arrived and within half hour it took to get back to Dubrovnik, the sun had reappeared and had already dried the streets. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the new town and bus station where we organised our tickets to Montenegro and shopping for what ingredients we could not get from the fresh food market earlier in the day.

The kitchen in the guesthouse was open today so we were able to save some money and cook for ourselves. Tonight’s menu was Chicken Caesar Salad and as the terrace was in the shade, we thought it a good idea to do all the prep there. I walked up through the window, hit my head and walked back down. One of the two other guys staying in the other room was standing in the kitchen holding paper towel to his head.

“Hit your head, mate?” I said.

“Yep”

“Me too, wish they would have mentioned it!”

A couple of paracetamol and an ice cold beer later, we sat down to a delicious meal before joining the other guys for a few drinks before hitting the town pillows

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We were woken at 5am when our whole room was lit up by a flash of light and almighty crack of thunder. The days prior were building for this and it was one of the biggest lightning storms we have been in. It went on all day, constant lighting hitting the city and the noise from the thunder echoing up the stone lanes. We had already decided that today would be a day to chill out and catch up on everything so it had worked out well. We put on the TV to find a local channel to immerse ourselves in Croatian culture, so when Crocodile Dundee came on, we knew the rest of the day was sorted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe following morning started the same as the day before, but thankfully, the rain took some time off as we walked to the bus that took us to the station where waited for our coach into Montenegro.

8 thoughts on “Dubrovnik, Croatia

  1. Another place I would love to visit. It must be very pleasant travelling through Croatia under your own steam and seeing places & having adventures you may not have on a guided tour, Mr.& Mrs. Wait!

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