Another Beautiful Old Town: Dubrovnik

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
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Trip End May 12, 2012


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Where I stayed

Flag of Croatia  ,
Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Today was a brutally early morning departure.  We had a 6 am breakfast in the hotel with a 6:20 departure by bus for Dubrovnik.  Louise had just started her breakfast when the taxis arrived to take us to the bus station.

We traveled past what looked like Soviet bloc style apartment buildings, then past villages with rows of sticks and grape vines.  Many houses had vegetable gardens with vegetables already at least 6 inches high and grape arbors, lots of fruit trees (the white flowers have gone though), and quite a few greenhouses.    We are still surrounded  by mountains.  I do recall now that the Balkans are pretty mountainous countries. 

It is about 8 am and we have just had our passports checked now by various immigration and customs officers.

We drove through more lovely scenery:  the mountains with rock outcroppings in light gray with striations and some white stones.  On the right side of the road is a river that we are following - in some places, it widens out into a sort of lake, or it might be a long, narrow bay from the Adriatic because we are getting closer to the coast now.  We passed under a modern bridge (or did we go over it?).  As we entered Dubrovnik, we saw at least one cruise ship in the harbor. 

We got our taxis to the Villa Micika and Louise almost got cheated out of her 100 kunas in change, but then the taxi driver turned around and brought it back to her and apologized. 

After settling into our rooms, we went for lunch not far away.  Marilynn and I shared a pizza.  It turned out to be bigger than we thought since the waitress recommended the large pizza and said the small was too small for 2 people.  Half of the group decided to go the the city walls first instead of eating.  Louise paid for our bus tickets and said she would pay for the return tickets.  Once we got to the city walls, we had to decide whether we wanted the special card that would give us museums as well as the city walls tour and a 24-hr bus pass.  When we found out that the card was good for 24-hr from the time it was first used, we decided to go for the card.  I tried to convince Louise that we should get credit for the bus ride amount as well as the city wall tour amount and she agreed, but I never got my 10 kunas refunded.  This logic made sense at the time but now it seems to be missing some critical element of explanation.

The City Walls tour with Louise was fantastic.  We had a lot of stairs to climb - I feel as if this whole trip should be called the Eastern European Stair Climbing Experience - with lots of nooks and crannies to explore.  The views were incredible.   As in Kotor, I could have taken a photo with every step I took.  Maybe I did.  In addition to the views of the lovely red-tiled roofs and the sparkling blue sea, we had views into people's flower gardens and I have a whole new series of clothesline photos!  It took around 2 1/2 hrs and all of it was wonderful....

Those developments in the US that do not allow clothesline should take note.  Some people enjoy seeing clothes drying outside and will take photos of them....so I guess that would imply that drying clothes outdoors is a plus and should not be prohibited. 

We did a little souvenir shopping before going back to the hotel by bus.  It is a good thing that the others were paying attention.  Estelle was a star finding our way back from the bus stop and finding me cheap postcards and remembering to get water too. 

I made some attempts to get my Split trip arranged but didn't get far since I only downloaded photos before dinner,  I did decide it would be easier to book my Dubrovnik stay on the 11th in Villa Micika rather than somewhere else since I could leave my bags and not have to drag them around before catching the bus.  Also, it would be easier to ask Tony for help in arranging to get to Split. 

We had our farewell dinner on the terrace of the restaurant next door.  I sat next to Estelle who sat next to Jordan.  Jordan and Nick did quite well with all the older people and Estelle is especially fond of Jordan.  It is nice to see different age groups interacting so easily.  Tee was looking for people to share her red wine, so I did.  She had already shared a huge plastic bottle of Montenegrin red before we went over to the restaurant.  For a farewell dinner, it was a bit lame - none of the speeches or skits or other typical farewell dinner activities. Not that I am any good at any of those things.  I said my goodbyes to Lynne and Graeme and Caroline and maybe some others.  There were only 4 of us leaving so maybe that is why it was less of a production.

Marilynn and I were a little disappointed with our accommodations here.  We are in a building all by ourselves and the bathroom is across the hall.  The bathroom is roomy but outdated with a big tub and no shower curtain, and no soap.  But I appropriated some of the cleaning supplies soap for hand-washing.  Our bedroom is quite dark unless you open the balcony door and then you hear the jack hammers and have a chance of the bees coming in.  Outside the balcony, though, there are tons of white blossoms on the trees.  I thought that they were jasmine but they are orange tree blossoms and there are ripe oranges on some other trees on the grounds.  Marilynn's bed creaks pretty badly and the mattresses and pillows are sort of rubbery and heavy.  As in everything, there are pluses and minuses.  I wondered what kind of use this building had originally been put to - something institutional I would have guessed.

In any case, I managed to fall asleep fairly easily.
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