Dalmatian Paradise Lost!

Trip Start Sep 09, 2013
Trip End Dec 16, 2013

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Where I stayed
Fresh* Sheets Hostel Dubrovnik Old Town
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Croatia  , Dubrovnik-Neretva County,
Monday, September 23, 2013

One of the joys and challenges of independent travel is trying to master a local transit system. Once you figure it out, you can get around cheaply, if not always efficiently, and perhaps get some sense of how and where locals eat, sleep, go to school and so on. Perhaps more importantly, you can go at your own pace and choose your own local destinations. Dubrovnik is a regional centre, out of which various public buses and ferries serve many little villages and islands up and down the Dalmatian coast. We took advantage of this to venture out to see some of these places.

The Benedictine monks, in medieval times, had it figured out - the ruins and remains of their monasteries dot these bays and islands of the southwestern Croatia. Fittingly, and almost mystically, it is within the walls of these sacred places that one is still able to find a quiet, contemplative space, even when abandoned. However, in modern times, the area is so warm and so pretty that it is practically impossible to find that truly 'out of the way' place. Tourism is a powerful economic engine, most places cater to visitors, and lots of them. I come from a tourist town, so I understand this dynamic very well.

We were happy to discover the little village of Cavtat at the end of the line on bus #10 from Dubrovnik. Tour buses arrive there, too - but even so you could feel that, here, things slowed right down. All coastal towns here feature a promenade on the waterfront, usually paved with limestone and lined with tourist shops and restaurants. Our favourite stops on the promenade tend to be the bakeries.... (and we had hoped to lose weight while traveling. Mmmhmm).

Beyond the crowds on the promenade in Cavtat, and past the old monastery, we found a little piece of paradise for the afternoon. This rocky outcrop on the shores of the Adriatic (which even in late September, is beautifully warm for swimming or just dipping your feet) had a small patch of grass and shade provided by a stunningly green Aleppo Pine. Just add a good book and.... zzzzzzzzzzzz. That is, until six German Fraus, each about the same age as my mother in law, discovered the same piece of paradise and promptly doffed their clothes for bathing suits, right in front of us. Talk about the Full Monty! While Sandi watched bemused, I had to avert my gaze somehow, so I decided to look up and count Aleppo cones. Twenty minutes later, the Fraus had had their dip, and the procedure was reversed. I counted a few hundred more Aleppo cones until we had the place to ourselves again. A gorgeous Dalmatian sunset saved the day.

Paradise lost, but only temporarily.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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