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Published: July 31st 2009
The alarm goes off and it is 7:00 AM, we drag ourselves out of bed and get ready for the bus ride from Kotor Montenegro to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Just ready to leave when Francine asks what time it is because her watch is different than the alarm clock. We don't know at this point so we leave anyway and find out at the bus station that we are an hour early. So we had a time change that Angie did not account for on the alarm clock. But thank heaven we gained the hour and not lost it.
The bus was an old one and it was overloaded. We were not able to sit together although did get seats. Fran was up the back row with and chatted with a lovely young couple from Turkey and they are planning in immigrating to Australia in the near future. Angie is seated next to an Australian girl whom Fran called a “west” or USA “trailer trash” (talked rough and loud). Anyway she kept leaning over Angie's seat to talk to other passengers and each time Angie dozed off she would turn Angie's air con vent towards herself. We shrug
and say it's all part of the experience. The ride itself only lasts two hours but the crossing of the borders took an additional two hours.
Leaving Montenegro we were left on the bus while a policeman came on board and individually looked at each one, some more than others. But we lucked out and they only glanced at us. However, the process took at lot of time and the bus was not allowed to be running, so no air and no windows that opened. We were stuck in a sweat box and 35c / 100f outside.
Within just a few moments of going through that we had to stop for the Croatia Customs. Once again we are stuck on the bus while a policeman inspects each person and their passports and collects them and takes them back to the little customs station. The bus is getting hotter and hotter, finally the passports are given back to the driver and he just passes the lot of them to the people in the front seat to take theirs and pass the rest back. WELL, that was not acceptable to Angie and she was getting mad seeing passports being handled
by others rather than only officials. Then as we were half way through having them handed back (by passengers reading the names and calling out) we were advised that we had to get off the bus and get our luggage for a full customs check. So people began getting off the bus. Francine and Angie had not yet gotten their passports so Angie yelled out PASSPORTS, PASSPORTS, WE NEED OUR PASSPORTS. A lady yelled Australia and a girl said yes that's me. Francine said wait there are more than one Australians on the bus, we have to check who owns it.
Finally we got our passports and were able to leave the bus get our bags and go through customs. What a truly unorganized mess. Usually when going through customs you are asked to leave the bus, take your luggage and passports to the appropriate people and return to the bus. No one handles your passport but you and the policeman / official. This was a really bad situation. Angie has fears of someone taking her passport and walking off the bus with it. But thankfully her paranoia was unfounded. Angie was lucky and only had to open her
day pack and show her laptop and the peach that she had with her and was waved on.
Francine is not so lucky. She had her day pack thoroughly checked and had to put her large back pack up and all its clothing was felt over. Then he asked if she had anything to declare such as alcohol or tobacco. Well, since she had a bottle of Drambuie and had already had her other bags investigated she said yes and proceeded to remove the three combination padlocks from the bags. She lifted out the bottle of Drambuie wrapped in a dress and then a plastic bag. He had a quick look in the bag and Francine panicked as of course it had taken her two hours to pack in safely in Athens. So she made the official wait whilst she organised everything safely again. Then it was back to the bus and trying to find a place to put her luggage as all the passengers had thrown their bags in and it was a mess.
And it's all part of the experience and we have been very lucky to date and not had to have these experiences.
Finally head off on our final leg of the bus trip to Dubrovnik. We come around the bend and there in the distance is the beautiful old city and fortified walls.
When we arrived at the bus station in Dubrovnik we check with a travel agent to find accommodations since our trip is plan as you go. Which is a a stressful way to travel. However, the travel agent just down from the bus station and closer to the marina is able to find us a place to stay for the night just outside the city gates. To get there we are told to hop on the city bus to the gates of the Old Town.
The bus however was loaded with people when we got on and only got worse. Francine has a daypack, a back pack and her wheelie bag. Angie has her daypack and her backpack. We are packed like sardines then on one of the stops a lady in a wheelchair gets on the bus and Angie moves out of her way to let her in the appropriate space and others are pushing Angie into the lady in the wheelchair and Angie takes the
brunt of her anger, a clear case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When to bus is that crowded everyone gets pushed around.
We could not get off the bus soon enough, we were drenching in sweat and ready for a break. All we have to do was to go down a few steps to our private accommodations. A fantastic location we go down 4 steps to our private accommodation. The room was very modern with a small kitchenette but had to share the bathroom. And only 30 seconds from city gates.
The old town of Dubrovnik is the most fantastic old town that we have every seen. Kotor was nice, but we really liked this town. We wandered around the town in the alley ways and small winding streets and It is completely surrounded by the city wall that is complete and fully restored. The wall walk provides fantastic views of the Adriatic Sea and the breathtaking Croatian coastline. There were people who climbed down the steep terrain to swim in the sea. Many places had ladders to help the swimmers out of the water. We envied those swimming, it look so cool.
But we didn't have time in our plans to swim today.
Dubrovnik is on the World Heritage List of Protected Places.
They have a Summer Music Festival and some of the popular entertainment are the street musicians. The program is called “In the Streets of Dubrovnik” to “Experience Dubrovnik”. We were able to see some the musicians and 2 soldiers in period dress marching up and down the streets with the beat of their drums.
Francine and Angie decide to eat at an Irish Pub for a change, but was slightly disappointed with the food, must no be too many Irishmen in Croatia.
After dinner Francine decides to buy a new pair of thongs. No not those, but a pair of flip flops. Her ones from home have worn out. So a new pair is needed and she is able to find a pair. Not the same but they will suffice. Boo Hoo.
One of the big surprises is that large cruise ships are able to enter into the small inlet bay and dock right outside the Old Town. It has to be a very deep harbor.
Some little known facts:
Dubrovnik except for the city walls were destroyed by an earthquake in 1667. Most buildings were restored or rebuilt.
there are 1185 islands off the coast of Croatia and only 66 are inhabited.
It has one the the oldest Pharmacies in Europe and it still exists today.
Marco Polo was born just 2 hours drive from Dubrovnik.
The inventor of alternating current Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia.
The old name for Dubrovnik was Ragusa which the English word argosy is derived.
The dalmatian dog breed was named after Dalmatia and the tribe of Dalmati.
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