10 – 12 July 2010
Having left Albania and passed through Montenegro we successfully made our way to Dubrovnik (Ragusa of Dalmatia) in Croatia. We had two nights booked in this famous walled city; shame the food in our hostel was so bad.
The night we arrived we were fortunate to have some festival taking place so public transport was free into the Old Town. You cannot help but let out a ‘wow’ when you first see the walls of the Old Town up close. It is said to be the most spectacular walled city in Europe, no wonder it is a UNESCO protected world heritage site; shame Europe did little during a full year of bombing in the 90′s by Serbia! We arrived on a Saturday night plus it was a festival night, it was shoulder to shoulder with people while moving through Pile Gate (The gate into the walled city which passes over a dry moat) and only eased up slightly on the other side.
We were on a mission to experience the night life of Dubrovnik, bring on late night dancing and drinking. Passing through the Pile Gate you land on the Placa, main promenade of the Old Town. It’s marble pavers are kept constantly polished by the bustling crowd and constant sweeping by the city workers; why can’t Thailand put the same effort into protecting the cleanliness of their tourist attractions?
Inside I found numerous small streets filled with different kinds of bars and cafes. I was even lucky enough to come across a rock bar, sweet!
11 July 2010
We only had one full day in Dubrovnik, so to make the most of it we were up early ‘ish’ and headed into the Old Town. Our day started off with a one hour walking tour (Contiki included) of the area before we were given a couple of hours of free time. In our free time I checked out Dubrovnik’s war museum, I wouldn’t call it a museum but rather a very brief (cheap?) memorial to those who died in the struggle for independence in 1991. Croatia’s battle with Serbia to split from Yugoslavia happened so recently, 1991! This museum and our tour guide had given me the impression that the people of Croatia are interested in moving on rather than remembering the struggle. It sounds like a good idea, holding a grudge or bearing hatred is never a good way forward but on the other side history has a regrettable habit of repeating itself and I really wanted to know more about this place. What I heard of the history was so interesting yet so elusive; I still have only a vague understanding of small parts of the history of Yugoslavia. Having given up on educating myself on Croatia’s history I walked around the famous walls of Dubrovnik ($10 Euro) for roughly an hour.
Orlando Column was constructed in 1419, to give you an idea of the age of this beautiful city.
After our free time we had a Dubrovnik Cruise (Contiki optional excursion) booked for 11.45am. I’ve spent a lot of time on boats so the boating experience was nothing special for me. However the Adriatic Sea is spectacularly clear and beautifully blue, the Croatian beer goes down well and our group of Contiki cruise goers are all a decent crowd to cruise with. Overall it was a fun afternoon on the water; we enjoyed beers, beautiful weather, swimming, jumping off the boat, diving off the boat, attempting to do a running back flip off the pier, sunbathing and generally chilling out; sweet. We stopped on two islands, briefly on the first and for an hour and a half on the second, by this time I’d built up quite an appetite so I splurged on a nice seafood restaurant where I tried the grilled calamari.
Later that evening after chilling out at the campsite and using the internet for a while I headed into the Old Town again to catch the last of the Fifa World Cup final. Spain would have been awesome that night!
12 July 2010
Another early morning, another country to see; we passed out of Croatia and into Bosnia, but only briefly before making our way back into Croatia where we stopped off at Split. Apparently Bosnia is in the way, we certainly didn’t pass through for any other reason than to get back into Croatia where we were to stop briefly at Split before moving on to Zadar which would be our last sleep in Croatia before Slovenia! [So where am I now? While writing I am in Zadar, this morning we go to Slovenia.]