Thursday, September 5, 2013
It's very sunny here and quite dry. I did laundry in the sink
this morning, and it dried almost instantly out on our balcony.
There was nothing to eat for breakfast but cookies because the
local grocery store closed before we could get there last night,
but I sat out on the common balcony and drank my coffee. Last night
some other guests were using the balcony, but they checked out this
morning, and we have the place to ourselves. The Carevic family
lives downstairs, but they remain almost invisible.
Dubrovnik, “The Pearl of the Adriatic”
Tom and Jana, Lapad
At noon we walked to the bus stop and rode to the Dubrovnik Stari
Grad (Old Town), Croatia's top tourist town. The bus dropped us off
outside the Pile Gate, at one end of the Placa a/k/a the Stradun,
Old Town Dubrovnik's main pedestrian drag.
Interesting fact: Dubrovnik, then an independent republic, was the
first foreign state to recognize the United States, in 1776.
Pile Gate entrance to
Dubrovnik Stari Grad
Dubrovnik's Old Town juts into the sea and is surrounded by thick
medieval walls. I was surprised to learn that the only time in
history Dubrovnik has been attacked and actually used the
impressive walls for defense was during the 1991-1992 siege of the
city during Croatia's break from Yugoslavia. There was massive
damage in the Old Town from the bombardment, but they quickly
rebuilt, and the only evidence of war we could see were lots of
new, bright-orange roof tiles.
Crkva Sv. Vlaha (St.
We strolled the length of the Stradun to the Old Port, stopping
while I grabbed a “New York” hamburger at FHD Fast Food. The Old
Port, just outside the eastern town walls, was filled with
hucksters selling excursions, but they weren't obnoxiously
aggressive. The Old Port itself was lovely.
Outside the Old
We entered the Gradske Zidine (Town Walls) at the far end of the
Stradun, near the Ploce Gate and Old Port, and spent two hours
walking the 2 kilometers back to where we started. The views of the
Adriatic Sea, the Old Town, and the mountains were stunning.
Note the new vs. old
Tvrdava Lovrijenac (Fort
At some spots along the wall, you can see right into residents'
“private” courtyards. We were lucky enough to see a very old naked
woman taking an outdoor shower. Once again, we're cool with not
stumbling upon the nude beaches.
Velika Onofrijea Fontana
(Onofrio's Big Fountain)
Fort Lovrijenac, another
Along the south wall, we looked down on a unique swimming area
hanging onto the outside of the Old Town's wall. It's merely an
outcropping of rocks with a metal pool ladder attached to the side
so swimmers can climb back out of the sea. The swimming looks okay,
but it doesn't look comfy for sunbathing. We also watched four
brave/crazy teenagers, three guys and a girl, climb way up the side
of a cliff and jump into the sea.
After the hot walk around the city wall, we needed a snack before
we continued our sightseeing. Just outside the Pile Gate, I got a
raspberry and blueberry gelato, and Tom got, if you can believe, a
slice of pizza.
Tickets to walk the Town Walls also include entry to Fort
Lovrijenac. After our snack, we tackled the steep steps to the fort
and were treated to more spectacular views of the city. I don't
know how much more beauty my eyes can stand!
Dubrovnik from Fort
In the late afternoon, we took a cable car to the top of Mt. Srd
(pronounced “surge”), for yet more great views of Dubrovnik and
Lokrum Island. The fortress at the top was built by Napoleonic
forces, but the trenches were dug during the Homeland War (War for
Croatian Independence) from 1991 to 1995, when the Croatian Army
dug in and fended off the Yugoslav People's Army from this
Dubrovnik and Lokrum
Island from Mt. Srd
Another view from Mt.
Trenches on the
Battlefield of Dubrovnik
The cross on Mt. Srd was erected in 1935, destroyed by mortars and
shelling during the war in 1991, and was later reconstructed and
again positioned atop the mountain, overlooking the town. The cable
car used to reach the top of of the mountain was also destroyed in
the war, not reopening until 2011.
We descended from Mt. Srd and caught a bus back to the Lapad
Peninsula, stopping for groceries on the walk back to our soba.
Restaurant food is so average in Croatia, we hate to keep paying 40
bucks a night for it. We got back to our room around 9:00 and made
salami, turkey, and gouda sandwiches with olives and pickles for
dinner. Delightful. We washed the sandwiches down with a 2-liter
beer in a plastic bottle we picked up for 25 kuna, or about $4.50.
That's more like it.
At the grocery I also bought some blueberry liker, Brovonica Liker
od Domace Borovnica. No real blueberries in the bottle like the
stuff we got in Slovenia, but still delicious. The label had a few
English words and described it as “blueberry wine,” but at 20%
alcohol, it had to be fortified. I think we found the Croatian Mad
Tonight I realized we don't have a TV in our room. In fact, we
haven't had one in days. I don't miss it a bit! At night we've been
planning the next day's activities, and I've been journaling. Plus
I brought my tiny computer with the 8-inch screen, and we've backed
up photos, emailed, tweeted, and kept up with headline news.
Traveling, at least the way we do it, is a lot of work. We're going
to be tired when we get home!
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