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Published: September 17th 2016
DubrovnikDay 237 Sunday 11th September 2016 – Mostar to Dubrovnik
Paddling into the sunset
Up and in the garden for breakfast surrounded by all the fruit trees and no cockatoos or possums shredding them which happens in my garden at home. It has been a lovely stay but it is time to move onto Dubrovnik in Croatia so did the 15 minute walk up to the station for our 12.30pm bus. Again there is no seat allocations and to make things worse the bus was coming from somewhere else so a lot of the seats were already taken and people had their bags on the seats, I managed to get two seats together but others were having trouble just getting a seat as people refused to move their bags so they could sit down. Basically really rude but thankfully after much insistence people got seated and we got underway.
The scenery was amazing and we needed to pass through 3 border crossings, first from Bosnia into Croatia where we stayed on the bus and gave over our passports to be stamped, this took about 45 minutes. You cross back from Croatia into Bosnia and then back again
Rooftops from the wall
but we did not have to stop for the last two. On the Croatian side of the border we started to follow the coast and the difference is so obvious, in that there is a lot of money here with big resorts and yachts.
We arrived at the port/bus terminal at 4.00pm to be greeted by a massive cruise ship you definitely know you have arrived in Dubrovnik. Decided on a taxi to the old city as they have a set price of 10 Euros which is expensive for the short trip but no hassle and easier than trying to squeeze onto a local bus with our backpacks. We were dropped at the Pile Gate as no cars are allowed in the old city thank goodness but here we were hit by the human wall of people pushing through the gate. Forced our way through and down about 10 blocks to the Café Soul above here is our apartment, called the owner and he was here in a few minutes. The apartment is great with everything we need for a 3 day stay, the owner was good giving us tips to avoid the crowds but basically what
we already know get up early or later in the evening when the cruise ship tourists have left.
When we headed out in the early evening and the crowds had thinned a bit we were hit with a rude shock on the prices for food and drinks. We knew it would be expensive but this is ridiculous a small beer ranges from 7 dollars to 12 dollars depending where you stop. We checked out quite a lot of places and decided to go to the supermarket and buy food to cook in our apartment. It was actually nice for a change to cook and just relax in our own space. Day 238 Monday 12th September 2016 – Dubrovnik
We love our apartment it has a coffee machine and good little kitchen so had breakfast while I put a load of washing on. Well we discovered a problem with the apartment something is wrong with the machine it never seemed to get to the spin cycle and after nearly two hours I stopped it to discover the water was filthy and I mean filthy. Now our clothes may
Entrance to the old port
have been smelly but definitely not dirty. When we arrived yesterday I thought the bathroom drain had a smell but just put it down to being in the old city even though the apartment is beautifully renovated. We soon discovered that the filter area of the machine was full of dirty stagnant water that had been running back through the machine as the valve in outlet did not open enough for the water to drain away. Gross so I hand rinsed the clothes 3 times while Scott emptied the water out and modified the valve. . Then the clothes went back in the machine for another wash and this time it worked, but our whole morning had been wasted.
Well after all that we finally made it out the door for a walk around, this is a beautiful city with a wonderful setting but because it was the middle of the day we
avoided the main squares and streets and wound up through the hills. Had a great walk soaking in the place before venturing back into the madness and the main areas. For dinner picked up another bottle of red wine and some supplies and whipped up another feast. Day 239 Tuesday 13th September 2016 – Dubrovnik
Up and out the door at 7.00am to walk the city without the hordes of tourist but the streets are still busy with garbage trucks and endless vans and men with trolleys bringing in the huge amount of supplies for the restaurants and bars. These workers were much easier to contend with than the tourist groups all pushing to see where Cersei walked (GOT) or Chewbacca was, apparently Star Wars 8 had scenes filmed here. There are endless tacky souvenirs in the shops with Game of Thrones and Star Wars junk and walking tours starting at about 55 Euros. Well we did not get to drink with Cersei or Chewbacca but got to see the city and get a few photos showing the buildings rather than people. Sort of weird because a lot
Looking down at the fountain
of people think Dubrovnik is famous for Game of Thrones, but the place was a tourist magnet way before that and will continue to draw crowds long after GOT is forgotten.
Arrived at the Pile Gate about 8.00am just as the bus groups turned up and piled through the gate, so we should have got up earlier. Oh well we may try again tomorrow at 6.00am, if I wake up. Headed back to the apartment for breakfast and to decide what else to do for the day that avoided the old city.
Jumped onto bus number 6 just outside Pile Gate to Babkin Kuk which contains a lot of the expensive resorts but also has a nice walk around the coast and the tiny beaches. The water here is crystal clear and according to the daily notice boards the water temperature is 27 degrees just right for me but Scott says that is like a warm bath. The beaches have no sand just large pebbles so most people hire lounges and umbrellas the prices ranged from 90 Kuna to 200 Kuna for two (AUD$18–40), the one for 200 does come with towels and better
lounges. Today we just walked and took in the views and appreciating the tranquil walking track, only passing a handful of people.
Got the bus back to the old town and looked into doing kayaking tomorrow, so we now have options for our last day. At 4.30 we headed off to walk the city walls, which costs 120 Kuna each, as with all things Dubrovnik, this is costly but was well worth it. Dubrovnik is encircled with 2.5 kilometres of walls that are in good condition and makes a great walk with views over the old town and also over the sea. We left it to later in the day as to avoid the worst of the crowd but at times it is still a bit of a conga line to get around, there are plenty of spots to pause and take photos. Took nearly 2 hours to do the walk and then back to our apartment for another home cooked meal. Day 240 Wednesday 14th September 2016 – Dubrovnik
Shelley was going to jump up at 6am to take some more early morning photos
The walls and port
but there was no way I was going to and so in the end she slept in as well. It has been nice having our own apartment and slowing the pace down a bit more, of course any slower we might be going backwards. Because of the tourist hordes, you really cannot comfortably walk the streets between 9 to 4, and there isn’t a great deal to see other than lots and lots of overpriced restaurants. Love/hate Dubrovnik, love it because it is beautiful to look at, is filled with lovely original old buildings and the walls are probably the best set of defenses you will ever see - but, really hate the place due to the volume of people. I know I bang on about this quite a bit but the volume of people pushing through the streets here is overwhelming, especially for someone as anti-social as me. The guy who rented this apartment to us told us how the city has changed over the years and how it used to have 5000 permanent residents but there is now only about 700. As he sees it, that once you lose your residents the place stops being a city and
loses it soul and just becomes an attraction, and I fully agree with him. Didn’t get out the door till 11 today and wandered down to the small beach outside the city walls and booked a kayaking tour for the afternoon, before returning to our apartment for some down time.
At 3.30 we headed out of town to meet up with our kayak group just outside the Pile Gate, and it was an absolute struggle walking through the town against the onslaught of tourists, like a salmon heading up stream. Got to the small beach under the city walls and then after a short “training” talk we jumped in our kayaks and headed off. Everyone was paired off in dual kayaks and there were 8 boats in our group and we had two guides, one leading the way and one trailing behind to pick up stragglers. The course we took was 8 kilometres and we skirted around the Dubrovnik city walls and then around Lokrum Island and then back to the starting point. The whole thing took nearly 3 hours with 7 stops, 5 for talks and 2 for swimming. Our guide was really great and not
Shelley in the kayak watching the sunset
only gave a good overview of the area but also small insights into the politics and feel for the town and Croatia. At one of the stops he chatted to us and told us how he plays “Aussie Rules” football (AFL) and that there are 11 teams in Croatia, told us how he used to play soccer but they kicked him out because he was too aggressive – AFL sounds perfect for him. It was a fantastic day of kayaking and it always feels so good to be out in the water paddling and as an extra bonus we got a fantastic sunset. To cap the whole day off on our return we got a couple of glasses of local wine to warm us back up.
Wandered home feeling exhilarated and happy to have done something wonderful as our farewell to Dubrovnik and after a shower decided to give Michele a night off from cooking duty and headed out for a feed. As stated before this town is expensive, but decided to splurge gently and the best cheap option was an Irish Pub that had a guy playing guitar. Pink Floyd and Eric Clapton done well was
a good accompaniment to a decent feed and a few beers and a nice way to say goodbye to an incredible city that is being loved to death. The tourist numbers are unbearable, the city doesn’t really have a soul, but it is still an amazing place, and can fully understand why everyone is falling over themselves to get here. If you do decide to join the throng, bring your wallet, a tazer and a bucket load of patience, and if you are lucky you may even get to have a beer with Cersi or Chewie.
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