Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Saturday, October 18, 2008

It was another long and early bus ride but again it was well worth it. The countryside here is stunning with its beautiful rolling hills all along the already gorgeous Dubrovnik Riviera. Although we still prefer train travel these views are definitely allowing the bus network to compete. We rolled into Dubrovnik, a city of about 45,000 positioned apart from the rest of Croatia annexed by a strip of Bosnian territory that cuts through Croatia to the coast. It is in the southern most part of the country and without question the most popular for visitors. It is a Venetian city that is still heavily influenced by the Italians. It has much of what makes Venice popular, the beautiful buildings, the white Italian marble streets, the countless cafes and Italian restaurants, a healthy population of pigeons, and the hordes of tourists chasing their tour group leader's colourful umbrella through the windy alleys of the old town. Being in the old town for five minutes, we quickly realized why there were so many tourists here... it is gorgeous!
Our first chosen activity was the "must do" for any visitor. We walked the city walls that surround the old town. These 8th century limestone walls connect the numerous towers, gates, and fortresses that are strewn about around the old town. They provide incredible views of the orange tiled roofs set against the breathtaking Adriatic coastline. After hiking around the town dodging tour groups walking the wrong way on the walls (apparently it is 'one-way' in order to keep the people from bottling up) we took refuge in an Irish pub before dining in one of the countless Italian restaurants... darn.
Our next day we headed to check out the 14th century Franciscan Monastery that houses Europe's oldest pharmacy. The small museum there displays a nice collection of elegant medical containers, tools, and even some jewelry and religious icons. From there we left the packed windy streets of the old town to check out the rest of the Dubrovnik area along the coast. It is quite a nice place and there is no shortage of hotels and resorts peppered all over the place.
Our last day we went back to the old town for a historical tour focusing on the history of conflict in the area. Our guide gave us a very lengthy history of unrest in Dubrovnik full of first person accounts. It is amazing that the region has been so full of so many different ruling powers, it is no wonder they have seen their fair share of civil unrest, all wrestling over one of the most beautiful places in Europe. Certainly an amazing story and we have only scratched the surface. Tonight we are going out to eat at "the best pasta place in Croatia" before we head to Split tomorrow.
Megan and Kevin
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