Dubrovnik, Australian capital of Croatia

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Zio Apartments

Flag of Croatia  ,
Saturday, August 28, 2010

It is 90km from Kotor in Montenegro to Dubrovnik, Croatia. How long can it possibly take for a bus to drive 90km and no, before you ask, the road is not mountainous. Well, the trip is supposed to take about 2 hours, but with some crazy driving on the part of our bus driver, we managed it in 7. To be fair, this was all down to queues at the border, apparently made worse by the end of season rush to get back to the nearest airport. Lucky for us, it was a spectacularly warm and humid day, with no aircon or opening windows on the bus. 'Free sauna!' one traveller suggested, but he just got glares in return - most travellers were failing to see the funny side. We all piled off to walk alongside the bus in the fresh air, watching people picnicking on the verge while their cars remained stationary in the queue. Some people panicking about making earlier flights figured they would take their chances, retrieving their suitcases from the bus and setting off for the border on foot. Soon the bus driver snapped and set off on a mad overtaking frenzy, zooming off down the wrong lane leaving us all running madly down the road in the midday heat to try and catch up, wondering how we managed to pay so much money for a bus fare only to end up walking.

It was a relief to finally arrive in Dubrovnik and leave the sweaty bus for good. Until we realised that although our hostel was only a few hundred metres from the bus station, it was a few hundred metres of stairs straight up the hillside. The positive side, which we managed to see later in the evening (once we had found beer and food), was the view from our balcony over the lit up peninsular and port (if you think we can afford old town views you severely overestimate our overdraw limit).

In the centre of Dubrovnik is the beautiful Venetian style old town. One highlight was the undamaged city walls that circle the town - we walked along the top of them on the popular city walls tour route for great views of the old town, the mountain backdrop and of course the sparkling blue sea complete with islands. (Being able to look into peoples backyards was sort of entertaining too). Wandering around the old town all we heard was Australian accents in all directions with an occassional English accent - it seemed that the entire English speaking world was holidaying in Dubrovnik (including Santa, although does he speak English?). I was talking later to a girl from Finland who said that all she heard was people talking Finnish, so perhaps it is just a matter of perspective (and that explains Santa). Thankfully it is possible to avoid the hordes though - the old town is higher at the North and South ends, and the tourist numbers seem to decline proportionally with the number of stairs climbed. Not far from the old town, on the 'postcard views' side of town is a gorgeous beach with compulsary views of the old town framed by the sparkling blue water. The water was surprisingly cold, especially after the warm water of Kotor, but very refreshing after a day of walking in the heat and humidity.
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