Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Delightful Dubrovnik

The Irishman and I started our holiday adventure in the ancient, lovely port city of Dubrovnik. A walled-in city with ancient fortifications and picturesque red tiled roofs was heavily bombed during the Bosnian war, and much of what tourists see is a careful restoration. Our guide book called Dubrovnik "the jewel of the Adriatic", but we didn't get to truly appreciate it until Sunday.

We flew on BA, an easy 2+ hour flight from Gatwick, and took a taxi into town. Our taxi driver helpfully identified for us the good local brew (Ožujsko) and a few sites for us to see including the island of Lokrum that we were planning to visit anyway. He dropped us off outside the Pile Gate, and we wheeled ourselves through the muggy evening heat into city. We stayed in a rented apartment that we found above a pizzeria; when we got there we stood with our suitcases looking confused and the pizza lady took one look at us and buzzed the housekeeper for us. How handy! Our room was small but lovely, and we headed immediately out to explore. After a quick wander, we found the coolest bar overlooking the Adriatic. We sat with our feet up, drinking Ožujsko and listening to the waves. It was the perfect start to relaxation!

Unfortunately Saturday was a complete washout; we started out walking the walls and halfway around the 2k route the heavens opened up. We took refuge in a small lookout guardpost room with a nice couple from Manchester on a cruise holiday, but we took a gamble and got drenched a few steps away. We finally finished the walk, and decamped to our "local" pizzeria for wine and food and then a nap. The rain ended by the time we woke, and we explored a bit out of the town as well - there's not much, but a good supermarket called Konzum for cheap bottled water. We passed the rest of the day just wandering - seeing churches, wandering the city, having drinks in bars, and checking out the stray cats. There are TONS of stray cats (and dogs) all over the city!

Sunday we woke up to another overcast day and I was so upset that it would rain all day again. But once we left the apartment for breakfast, the sun broke through and it was warm and beautiful. We took the change in weather to be a sign of good luck, and ran back to the apartment to grab our swim gear and head off to Lokrum. 40 kuna (approximately £5) gets you a return ticket to the undeveloped island, where you can swim, hike, and just chill out. There are peacocks strutting about, and the ruins of an old monastery. Apparently there is a fortress on the top of a hill, but that day there was a fire watch so part of the island was restricted. That's okay because we found places like this to swim in and sunbathe.

We spent most of the day there and headed back for naps. This began two of our most sacred activities of the trip: daily naps and daily gelato. After a lovely fish dinner, we just relaxed because we had an early start Monday morning to head to our next destination: Korcula.

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