The Walled City - Pearl of the Adriatic

Trip Start Dec 29, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2013

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Thursday, July 4, 2013

We chose to visit Dubrovnik after friends of ours had shown us their vacation pictures from last summer.  We thought it looked like a beautiful place to visit plus we had heard that it wasn't as expensive as other parts of Europe.  We were right that it was truly a lovely place to be, but prices for accommodation and food were equal to our encounters in Italy and Spain.  Truth be known, we found Slovenia to be the least expensive place we traveled in Europe! I think the secret of Dubrovnik is out as even in London, we saw billboards all over the Underground advertising Croatia as a vacation hot spot!

We came to Dubrovnik by bus and then took a local bus to the old town.  It was quite a journey to get there, but what a beautiful and historical place.  We easily found the apartment we had rented in the old town and then set out to explore and buy groceries for dinner.  The boys found a square full of pigeons while Jim and I were in the grocery store.

In the morning we headed to the beach for some relaxing after such a busy travel day the day (and night) before.  Too bad we arrived too late to rent any lounge chairs, but we did snag an umbrella along the rocky shore.  We weren't too impressed with all the rocks at first, but the boys had a grand time building rock structures instead of their typical sand castles.   Aiden even discovered a ladybug on the beach and built a home for it!  We had several cooling dips in the Adriatic ocean and people watched for the entire afternoon.

 The next day Jim and I were out the door early to snap some pictures of the main streets and gates before the hoards of people arrived.   As there are always cruise ships disembarking for tours of the old town, the streets get very busy!  We had a nice coffee and tea on the main street and watched the shop keepers accept deliveries before the vehicles rolled out of town to make way for the people.  

 On this day, we took a gondola up the side of the mountain to gain a bird's eye view of Dubrovnik and to visit the war museum at the Napoleon fort on top of the hill.   We had fantastic views and learned a great deal about how Dubrovnik suffered during the war with Bosnia in the early 1990's.   Having been in high school at that time, I remembered reading news articles and watching the clips on TV, but it was extremely interesting to me to learn about what happened at that time in a more descriptive and meaningful way, actually being in the country the war took place in.  Dubrovnik itself was very badly bombed and burned during the war.  The people actually thought it would be a safe place to be since it was a UNESCO heritage site they didn't think that Bosnia would target it.  However, we learned that it was damaged hugely and even now you can see more bright orange roofs that had to be rebuilt after the war than the original dark and mossy tiles.

Interesting too, was the fact that Dubrovnik never lost a war throughout it's history dating back to its origins in the 7th century. 
See more info here Even when Napoleon took the city, he tricked them into letting his troops enter and took over from within its walls.  We took a guided tour along the walls that surround the city and our guide told us the city was an independent city state until Napoleon.  

Caleb discovered he is destined for true love after balancing on a gargoyle at the city entrance. Legend says that if you balance there on one foot while removing your shirt that you will find true love!  Albeit Caleb left his shirt on, he balanced with an ice cream in his hand - that's got to be worth something!

We loved visiting Dubrovnik, enjoyed learning about the history of the city, and as Jim and I are reading the Game of Thrones, we were excited to hear that the show has been using Dubrovnik to film the King's Landing scenes! 

The next morning we left to meet our guide for a seven day kayak tour of the Elaphiti Islands which are a short ferry ride from Dubrovnik.
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Auntie Marj on

Hi there. Just getting caught up on your blog entries. I must say you guys are doing a great job on keeping us up-to-date. Just a note on Croatia. Colette's sister Tamara left on July 31st with friends and is in Croatia. Have received a few Facebook postings and it certainly does look historical. Hard to believe that you will soon be home. I imagine that it will great to settle back in before classes start. On no school after all this travel NO NO - oh well routine is good too.

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