Dubrovnik

Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Saturday, July 9, 2005

Before we even got off the bus the touts were marking their intended victims. Our man´s brochure looked promising so we jumped in his van. He had said the bus station was a 10 minute walk away and the old town was 15 minutes away. We sped up a hill to take a look. The room was a little more run down than we had expected and the view was eastern block architecture flats. Inspiring!! We took it anyway and set off to discover Dubrovnik. 15 Croatian minutes later (reality - 25 minutes), we reached the steps leading down to Pile Gate. The walls of the city were awesome!!! Bit of a worry though, as the main entrance was ´Pile Gate´ and one of the focal tourist stops was the Rector´s Palace. Not going in there I thought, or is that being too anal? We decided to save walking the walls and higher part of town until the next day as we were a bit low on energy.

After the war, UNESCO pumped money into the reconstruction of the entire old town so now there are very few scars - however there are still some bullet marks around. There is a map at the entry gates showing which buildings were damaged and subsequently repaired. It must have been a huge job!

We walked around the lower half of town, through all the ancient allyways and lanes, taking photos as we went. It is a beatiful place, although packed with tourists and locals alike. As we passed an Irish pub, David spotted an Aussie jersey and dropped in to see what was on. The Australia\South Africa game for the Nelson Mandela Trophy was about to kick off. I decided the Dominican Monestary wouldn´t be going anywhere so we stayed to watch Australia kick South Africa´s ass!! We met a bunch of cool welsh guys and a couple of coldies later we were fired up and ready to hit the monestary. We kept the religious theme going for the afternoon and visited a Jesuit Church too. We followed the base of the walls wandering all around and watching people jump from the rocks into the sea below. It looked really refreshing!

We decided to cook for ourselves that night and David suggested a pasta salad so we bought everything we needed, including a very cheap tin of tuna. We weren´t quite sure if it was for human or animal consumption, but we thought, what the hell! Hopefully the mayonnaise would disguise any suspect flavours. As predicted, the ´tuna´ was very similar to cat food but we ate it anyway. To help wash it down we had also bought a bottle of Macedonian red. It certainly showed up Croatian´s own! And there was a view after all, from the terrace to the side of our apartment!

Next day we got into town early for our wall walk. Yesterday we´d seen the wall entry through Pile Gate with a huge queue but we´d found another entrance at the other end of town not far from the Rectors Palace. This was going to be our back door entry!

I wanted to spend as much time as possible just taking in the scenery. Not only did we have the walls to consider but we also had the town and all the views! It was spectacular! I loved every minute of it and took loads of photos. From the top of the walls we had a totally different perspective of the houses, the people and their lives. You couldn´t help but peer in and see that even after numerous wars, traditional life still goes on for them. Grape vines, gardens, washing hanging from the windows high above the lanes, etc etc etc. There were also some ruined buildings that I suppose had been left as a reminder perhaps? Three hours later we had circumnavigated the town via the walls. We went went to see the Italian baroque church and Sponza Palace (now the state archive building). They were open and free - so why not!

We´d heard a rumour that the hottest place in town to eat was a restaurant on the harbour called Lokanda. We found it and noticed that all the tables were full. Guarantee of a good turn around of food!! Eventually a table became free and we staked our claim. Unsurprisingly, seafood was the main fare. I ordered the grilled squid and David wanted to try cuttle fish risotto. Mine was superb, but David´s was black as the ace of spades and I refuse to taste anything that looks like compost! A queue had formed but we weren´t giving up our table for anyone, so we took our time with our beers. The table next to us had become vacant and a group of 4 swooped at it. Before the waitress could clear the plates of the previous occupants, they were eating from the leftovers!!! We pissed ourselves!! Worse than seagulls!!

Dubrovnik had met my expectations. Even though every spare space is packed with alfesco diners and tourists, it is the most amazing walled city I´ve seen so far.
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