Traveling to Dubrovnik to Walk the Wall and Learn about the War Aug 24-27, 2019

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August 27th 2019
Published: September 22nd 2019
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We Know There Is A Passage InWe Know There Is A Passage InWe Know There Is A Passage In

and the view coming out was spectacular
Many people that have cruised in Croatia told us that there are numerous restaurants that provide either moorings or a quay that you can stop at for the night with the understanding that you eat at their restaurant. We had not tried this yet so thought we would before we left Croatia. We checked and it appeared that there were a couple of restaurants in a bay that would be on the way south so made a reservation at one of them. We first thought we would anchor out in the bay as it would give us a chance to have a little bit of breeze when we arrived as the days are still quite warm. We got to the bay and tried a couple of times to anchor, but did not have any luck getting through the weeds to have a good hook so called the restaurant and asked if they still had space for us at their quay. They confirmed that we could still come to the quay so moved there. We got hooked to the quay and found that the sailboat next to us was a charter full of guys that liked loud music and appeared to have
Tried to anchor in the bay but couldn't get a good hookTried to anchor in the bay but couldn't get a good hookTried to anchor in the bay but couldn't get a good hook

the restaurant quay worked, cat liter box to the rescue
been drinking for a good part of the day already. Not the best of neighbors, but this is one of the downsides of being so close to your neighbor. Oh well, we figured it would only be for the one night. Later a very large motorboat came in on the other side which blocked out any little breeze there was so we spent the rest of the afternoon down below with our 12 V fans on to keep cool. We are hoping that the dinner will make up for these downsides. Guess you definitely get spoiled while on anchor!

We had a hard time deciding which restaurant to make a reservation at as all 3 restaurants here had quite good reviews. We had a pleasant dinner at the Maran Restaurant, however, neither of us found out meal that outstanding and the price seemed on the high side, but we do remember that this is an island so everything has to be brought in. At the end of the dinner the restaurant provided us with a free drink of grappa. We had tried some local grappa earlier on our trip and enjoyed it so we thought this would be a nice treat. Instead this was pure firewater and it was the largest serving of grappa we have ever seen. Now what to do??!! We had our first sip of it and once we realized we could not possibly drink it, Bob very discretely watered the nearby concrete wall with it! I told Bob I just wanted to be sure there wasn’t a puddle of it remaining as there were 2 nice cats wandering around and would hate for them to get into it!! So much for the generous gesture of grappa here.

We now can say that we have dined at a restaurant using their quay, but if this is what they are usually like we think we continue to enjoy anchoring out and eating on the boat or going to shore somewhere and picking out a restaurant where we can see the menu ahead of time. At least we can say we had this experience. We won’t let it completely turn off of it if we get some firsthand knowledge about a restaurant the next time. Live and learn…

Our next stop will be in a bay near the city of Dubrovnik. We had heard from other
Watching the Sky for WeatherWatching the Sky for WeatherWatching the Sky for Weather

on our way to Dubrovnik
cruisers of a bay nearby that we could anchor in and catch a bus into visit the city which sounded like a good plan. The bay that the restaurant was in was very well protected with high cliffs all around and a narrow opening. This was great but it did not allow us to see what was happening out in the open water. Fortunately we didn’t have high winds or waves, but we could definitely see a thunderstorm ahead of us so we just kept an eye on it. Fortunately it was moving off faster than we were catching up to it so not a problem. The bay was quite large with high mountains on the sides and a narrow opening providing good protection. There were a couple of areas that widened out to anchor in and we explored both before settling on anchoring deep into the bay near Zaton Mali. We had to anchor in a little deeper water than we normally like (34 feet). We heard that it was a mud bottom so we worked hard to get a good hook as we planned on staying a few days. We knew we would be away from the boat
Anchored in Zaton Mali - a very deep bayAnchored in Zaton Mali - a very deep bayAnchored in Zaton Mali - a very deep bay

with shelter but also wind from the hills around
while we explored Dubrovnik so wanted to be extra careful with our anchoring.

The first afternoon we went ashore and just got a lay of the land finding the grocery store and getting a bus schedule to Dubrovnik from the very helpful travel office. I was very happy to obtain this information as I was not able to find it anywhere on the internet. With this information in hand we went back to the boat and planned out our next couple of days.

We were warned that the evenings could get quite windy due to the wind coming over the mountains and they did not lie! It made for a very “rocky” anchorage, but with the anchor holding well, we still felt comfortable leaving Tsamaya here for the day while we explore. The bus ride into Dubrovnik was only about 20 minutes and fortunately the woman at the travel office told us where to get off the bus in order to walk down into the historic city. In researching what to do here we found that they also have free walking tours. Fortunately the company is the same as the one that we did in Zagreb. The guide
The Restaurant in Zaton Mali Said It Was a RuleThe Restaurant in Zaton Mali Said It Was a RuleThe Restaurant in Zaton Mali Said It Was a Rule

those that eat any pasta must wear a bib!
there had told us about a tour specifically explaining the war years in Croatia and we see that they offer the same tour here in Dubrovnik. It starts at 6PM and as it is a 2 hour walking tour we knew we would put a few miles on today. We wanted to visit a few of the museums and take time to wander around the city before the evening tour so we caught the early bus in.

For those of you that may not be aware, Dubrovnik is famous for its city wall. It completely encircles the city and is 6,365 feet around. It varies in height due to the topography of the land, but the maximum height is 83 feet. One of the main attractions here is to walk the top of the wall which we had heard from everyone we talked to was a “must do”. With the heat that we are still having we wanted to start that walk as early as possible and found that it opens at 8AM so we have that on the agenda for the next day. We figured we better space out the 2 hour walking tour and the city wall walk and that worked out in the end to be a good plan.

As we were not taking the normal city walking tour that would take us to many of the sites within the city we figured we would try to catch a few of those ourselves. We found that they sell a Dubrovnik Pass which gives you discounts to numerous museums and the city wall walk. When we figured out what we wanted to see it sounded like it would work out best to buy it. It even gave us a couple of city bus passes as well which definitely were used at the end of the day as they took us up the hill to the bus station where we needed to go to get back to Tsamaya.

Two of the museums we made it to were the Maritime Museum and the Ethnology Museum. The Maritime Museum is housed in one of the Forts and gave us a better understanding of the growth of Dubrovnik as a major port in the eastern Adriatic along with Venice. In the 14th & 15th C. shipbuilding became important here allowing for the build- up of a merchant marine. It
Old at the Top, New By The WaterOld at the Top, New By The WaterOld at the Top, New By The Water

always seeing a mixture of the old and new
was made up of 120 ships capable of sailing outside of the Adriatic. Unfortunately with the destruction from the earthquake of 1667, Dubrovnik started to decline economically and at the same time trade routes had expanded into the Atlantic. Now the French, Dutch and British merchant marine had expanded their fleets reducing Dubrovnik to the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. With this change now Dubrovnik concentrated on the building of the small and mid-size ships for this smaller trade area. The Ethnology Museum was housed in what had been the granary. Surprisingly it took 42 years to build the granary which is 4 stories tall. The wheat was brought up to the top floor for drying and then lowered down through slots near the side of the building into hollowed out holes in the stone below for storage. As a result within this museum you could view the granary itself but also enjoy the displays of traditional dress and household implements used over the years. We had the extra hope that both of these museums would have some air conditioning on such hot days, but that was definitely not the case – oh well!

Fortunately the evening tour about the
Some of the Alleyways & DoorwaysSome of the Alleyways & DoorwaysSome of the Alleyways & Doorways

that seemed inviting us to explore
War only had a few people so it was easy to get around as well as hear the guide. Which war do you ask? The most recent war here occurred between 1991-1995. As he told us the emotions are still close to the surface and from his perspective the Serbs were clearly at fault and he felt that it isn’t over yet. There are still many unresolved issues and the territorial lines are still not conflict free.

As the guide told us to understand the most recent war, we needed to understand a bit about the geographical area of the Balkans and their make- up ethnically, culturally and religiously. After WWI this area was combined into a multi-ethnic state called the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. After WWII it was renamed the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia when a communist government was established. It was made up of 6 republics – Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. The Serbs and the Croats were the two largest groups with a major difference being the Serbs were Christian Orthodox and the Croats being Roman Catholics. Even with their differences the feeling was that the joining of all 6 groups would be a stronger defense to protect against Austrian and Italians wanting to claim this territory.

In 1941 the Axis forces invaded the area known as Yugoslavia and Tito took over the running of the country as a leader of the anti-Nazi resistance. Tito had previously fought in the Austro-Hungarian army as Croatia had been part of their empire. After WWI he then fought against the Serbs and had been sent to the Russian front and later became part of the Russian Revolution. He returned to Croatia and joined the Communist Party. At this point of time Stalin was grabbing all that he could and wanted this area as well. Tito did not want to answer to Stalin as he did not accept Moscow as the ultimate communist authority and he did not want to share power. He had a strong dislike of Stalin and in 1945 he became the leader of what was then Yugoslavia. Stalin in 1948 wanted to purge the Yugoslav leader but Tito remained in power as a dictator. With his separating from the USSR, the West were offering assistance, After Stalin’s death Tito was actively against the invasion by the Soviets of Hungary and Czechoslovakia so thought that the best way to protect Yugoslavia during the Cold War was for him to start the non-aligned movement. This was an organization of states that did not want to formally align themselves with either the US or Russia and wished to remain neutral or independent. The countries that originally started this were India, Indonesia, Egypt, Ghana and Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia was a political entity but with a combination of ethnic people with many differences. When Tito died in 1980 he didn’t leave a clear successor with Yugoslavia still continuing for a few more years but in a weaker economic state. Many of the ethnic tensions continued to grow with some groups wanting to break up Yugoslavia and become independent. The Serbs did not want this as they wanted to keep Yugoslavia together and to maintain power over the whole territory. There is a lot we will skip over here as it is quite complex and gets even more involved, but the Croatians decided to declare independence in 1991. Once they declared their independence, several of the other Balkan ethnic groups did likewise creating Slovenia, Serbian Krajina, Macedonia, Herzig-Bosnia and later Kosovo. In April 1991 the Croatian War of Independence broke out between the Croatian government and the ethnic Serbs which were then backed by the Yugoslav People’s Army. The Serb dominated Yugoslav army shelled civilian areas of Split and Dubrovnik as well as other nearby villages. This is the war that the tour was about, but it was clear that as in most wars the cause is not a simple one and the history of what leads up to them is important to understand.

The guide was very good about showing us maps of the political lines that changed over the years as well as saw many before and after photos of the damage that the war caused in Dubrovnik. It is amazing to see how much has been repaired to this USESCO Heritage site. The guide had so much to cover it took almost 2 ½ hours to complete the tour, but at least we have a little better understanding of this area with its very complex history and ethnic make-up. With the tour being over quite late and having to catch a bus back to the town where Tsamaya was anchored it made for a late return. It is sometimes hard
MegaYachts Are Not Allowed In the Inner HarborMegaYachts Are Not Allowed In the Inner HarborMegaYachts Are Not Allowed In the Inner Harbor

only local boats to keep the view more realistic
to think that this area was a war zone as recently as 1991-1995 and that many of the people that we see on the street today lived through this period of conflict with many of their families being personally affected in one way or another.

As mentioned above the next morning was already planned out with starting the walk around the city wall. The earliest we could start would be 8AM so the 7AM bus worked well with getting us there. We also know that there are many tourists in Dubrovnik both by cruise ship and tour bus so hopefully an early start will allow us to see some of it without the crowds. We have been to numerous cities and towns that are walled, but this one is completely surrounded with defensive walls and forts. In the 9th C. the Saracens attacked the city for 15 months and there is knowledge that there were walls around the early settlement here. As the city spread during the 9th & 10th C. the walls were increased to include the new areas in their boundaries. The city was actually separated from the mainland by a sea channel but it was filled
An Overview of Part of the Wall Surrounding the CityAn Overview of Part of the Wall Surrounding the CityAn Overview of Part of the Wall Surrounding the City

with a closer look of the wall we walked
in with dirt in the 11th C. By the 13th C. the entire city was encircled by defensive walls. These walls were further strengthened by the addition of 5 forts, 3 which are integral parts of the wall.

The wall walk was worth the effort (and money) as it gave you an excellent view of the entire city and great vantage points to see the layout of the various sections of the town, the areas that had been bombed with their roofs repaired (clearly seen by the color of the roof tiles), the backyards of the buildings you saw while walking through town and a closer look at the steeples and taller structures. The day was a very hot one, but there were even a few places you could stop for some refreshments if desired. Fortunately the walkway itself was an easy one with parts of it heading uphill, some made up of stairways and even some parts slanting downwards! Our plan of an early start did work out well as we were able to do quite a bit of the walk without much of a crowd and it only filling in later in the morning hours. Fortunately the walk is only allowed in 1 direction so there is room to walk and not worry about oncoming traffic!

When you enter the historic city through one of its three gates, there is a very large water fountain where you can fill your water bottle with clean, cold water and there is another one at the other end of the same main street through town. It was wonderful to not have plastic water bottles being sold and the chance to fill your own bottle as many times as you’d like for free! It sure was refreshing as well.

There were numerous places to visit within the city walls and with limiting our time to these two days we had to pick and chose where we went. Our normal system is “wandering” but there were a few places we did want to see so made it to the Franciscan Monastery that was founded in 1317. This one was established as a monastery pharmacy for the friars, but later on for humanitarian and charitable reasons it was opened to the public. As with other monasteries we have visited this one had a very peaceful cloister with quite interesting stone carvings
The light galley (top) defended in 10-12th CThe light galley (top) defended in 10-12th CThe light galley (top) defended in 10-12th C

& carrack (bottom) built in Dubrovnik 15-17th C
on its columns. We didn’t bother actually going into the pharmacy but it sure seemed to be packed with tourists.

As with all cities there are a number of churches so we did visit a few of them, but not even close to all. Each has their own unique history and important pieces of artwork to enjoy. An interesting tidbit was about the building of the Dubrovnik Cathedral. The current structure is from the 18th C. but with restoration work done it was found that it sits on the remains of another cathedral from the 5th or 6th C. This still does not explain the legend that the Cathedral was built with the money donated by the English King Richard the Lionhearted that had survived a shipwreck near here in 1192. He stated that he would build a Cathedral as thanks for surviving.

When you look out over the harbor one thing that you see that is missing from here that you see in almost every other harbor are the “mega-yachts”. We found out that Dubrovnik does not allow them to come into the inner harbor which definitely gives the look of the port a more natural feel with “normal size” boats of locals and some visitors. We feel it was very smart on the part of the powers that be to make such a ruling as the modern day mega-yachts would change the look drastically.

There is much more to see in Dubrovnik, but we know that we need to keep moving as we still have a long distance to go this season and plenty more to see on the way.

The next day we moved from our anchorage south to Cavtat to check out of Croatia and then continued that same day to Herceg Novi to check into our next country of Montenegro. Bob checked out the chart and decided that we could sail past the city walls of Dubrovnik on our way out which gave us a great last look at the walled city of Dubrovnik. We had an enjoyable trip down the coast of Croatia to the town of Cravat where we had to officially check out of the country. It took a little while to complete as Bob had to go to two offices and they were not near each other or easily found from where we had to stop in
A 19th C. Women's Outfit Complete with a RazorA 19th C. Women's Outfit Complete with a RazorA 19th C. Women's Outfit Complete with a Razor

utilitarian or protection or both?? Our guess-utilitarian
the port. Oh well, legal issues done, we could now continue on to the next country on our travels, Montenegro. Our entry into the next country was at Zelenika in the Bay of Kotor. The boundary lines between the two countries are interesting as one side of the bay as you enter is still Croatia and the other is Montenegro.

Will tell you about our time in Montenegro in the next blog entry so I can get this one posted

Additional photos below
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The Bell Tower Built in 1444 Has An InterestingThe Bell Tower Built in 1444 Has An Interesting
The Bell Tower Built in 1444 Has An Interesting

Clock face as well as a digital display
The Bus Drops You Up High in Town The Bus Drops You Up High in Town
The Bus Drops You Up High in Town

so you join others walking down to the walled city

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