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We arrive in Dubrovnik after an overnight transatlantic flight from Calgary to Frankfurt, and then a short regional flight. Our first hotel, Hotel Vis, is on the coast in an older part of the city. We’re there for 5 days before we move the the departure hotel for the tour, the Hotel Adria.
The Hotel Vis is pretty much what we expected, smaller modest rooms by North American standards, but comfortable and quiet. Excellent location right on the bay with easy access to multiple restaurants and bars. It’s a short bus ride to the old town, tomorrows plan. Today we’re content to wander around and get our bearings. Still a bit of jet lag to deal with, but naps should help. 😉
Mid 20s temps feel quite warm after our coolish spring at home, definitely more strength to the sun. The threat of thunderstorms kept us close to our hotel today but we still managed about 8 km (5 miles) of exploring. Dinner was at the Hotel Dubrovnik Bar on the “tourist stroll”. Pretty good meal, excellent people watching. No pictures yet.
More exploring this morning around our hotel. I invested in European SIM cards for our phones this trip, mine with a data plan. This allowed us to use mapping once we became “locational challenged” aka lost. Lesson one. The walking profile might be the shortest distance for a pedestrian, but not the easiest as we found out. Alleys went from:
all with serious elevation changes. Thankfully we’re at sea level. In the afternoon we took the bus into the old city to do some restaurant shopping and get the lay of the land. Old town is the original walled city and port that’s still home to a large portion of the city population. It’s also a very large tourist zone/trap that utilizes every available inch of street and alley space for retail or food/drink. Every alley contains at least one eating establishment on each side, some Five or six. Every other doorway let to a souvenir shop. Did I mention there were alleys? Follow any of these upward beyond the second of the four or five levels and you’ll find first, rental apartments such as you might find on VRBO and then residences. Some of these were impossibly narrow and steep. we stumbled upon a cute little wine bar and after sampling the local product as well as a rather large chess try we called it a day and caught the bus back to the hotel up the road from ours where we had a night cap and watched the sunset.
And that dear friends is how we spent our 30th wedding anniversary!
Carol suggested we pick up a pair of Dubrovnik tourist cards. These gave us 6 bus tickets each on the public system, numerous discounts in the old city, as well as free admission to the wall, numerous museums and a few galleries. One of the discounts was for the ferry service to the island of Lokrum. This island was once part of the cities outward marine defence system and home to a large monastery. These days the whole island is a nature reserve and museum, totally uninhabited. we visited the botanical gardens and hiked up to the fort that overlooks the sea entrance to the city. the hike to the fort is a little over 100 meters of elevation change in less than 2 km on marginal footing. Quite steep in a few places. Lunch was a delectible thin crust pizza in old town. Threatening rain and sore knees dictated a retreat to the hotel for some pain reliever a nap and dinner.
This was to be “The Wall”. No Pink Floyd inference please. 😉 Up bright and early, breakfast, and then catch the #4 bus to old town and we were on the wall by 9:00.AM. The cruise ships start tendering in about 11:00 so we wanted to be out of the confined spaces and narrow stairs by then. We made it. Dubrovnik (the walled portion) reminds both of us of Carcassonne or Lucca. Very similar use of real estate for vendors, very similar fortifications for defence. The big difference is that Dubrovnik has seen war much more recently. As of yet we haven’t seen any indication of it, but as recently as 1995, Croatia was at war. The wall walk take about 1.5 hours and affords some amazing vistas. There is also some very old ruined portions of the city visible as well as some very inventive gardens and social spaces. Being able to look down on this really helps get a sense of life in the enclosed space. Numerous photographs of the wall walk are now in the gallery. We actually witnessed the arrival of a cruise ship just as we were finishing the walk. About the time the tenders started disgourging souls, we were leaving the enclosed city looking for a lunch spot. Had a very nice salad overlooking the bay then caught the bus back to the hotel. Dinner tonight was supposed to be a bit of a treat. Against all of our experience, it being a Wednesday and all, we decided to try and get a table at Pantarul, quite a well respected and reviewed restaurant, an easy walk from our hotel. No luck. Plan B was a waterside seafood place called Orsan, a little more casual, but still recommended by the travel blogs. It was well worth the added 30 minute walk. Carol got her first full meal deal seafood dinner and I remembered that I didn’t know how to peal grilled prawns. I survived. Day Five will be updated on day six? Maybe. I’m off to bed. 😉
Rain, gentle and warm but moisture just the same. Lingered over breakfast, did some banking and decided to take the regional bus to the small village of Cavtat. Sort of an artist enclave supposedly less touristy but beautiful. Two busses and 2 hours later we arrived. The rain had followed us and was joined by a very brisk wind. Found a little bistro and had another great thin crust pizza for lunch. Wandered around for an hour or so and caught the bus(s) to our base hotel for a nap. Dinner was at the end of a 125 plus step climb, up hill both ways of course. Good food made up for it. No pictures today.
Pack up and change hotels for the start of the motorcycle portion. Currently sitting on the new hotel balcony with an incredible view of the harbour, waiting for our room to be ready.