After lugging my suitcase across Dubrovnik and up the "Spanish Steps" (translation, mucho steps), across gravel and up more steps, I made it to my hostel, Fresh Sheets. I heard it’s a party hostel. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it’s the only hostel inside the walls of the old city so I went with it. Really glad I did. I got a welcome shot of some local spirit
. It was basically grappa. It seems that most places in the Balkans have a local spirit that is something like grappa. They are so proud of it and want you to try it. And you ask, is it like grappa? I don’t know, I don’t know grappa. I sigh and give it a go. Yup, just like grappa. Yuck.
This hostel also has happy hour. After getting settled in and exploring, I was told to come back for happy hour, because it’s so fun. Well, it’s a hostel, not a bar so it wasn’t so so fun, but it was good because it gave people a chance to get to know either other. We all decided to go to the vegetarian restaurant together. This WAS fun. There were only two wine drinkers that night so I shared a bottle with this guy. It wasn’t that good but we suffered through it. Then a few of us went out afterwards. We were the new ones. The those that were there the night before went out hardcore and wanted to take it easy tonight. Luckily the one guy who went out last night took us to the first bar so we knew where we were going. He looked like one of the Living Sneezes from Puff the Magic Dragon. I kid you not, go ahead, google Living Sneeze. It was awesome. I loved it.
It was me and 5 guys (until the Living Sneeze went home) at the Irish pub.
I ended up talking books (and Ireland and Chechnya and the world) with an older couple for Ireland for half the time. They, especially the wife, kept telling me how amazing I was for traveling alone and coming here and this and that. By the time they left I had a sense of renewed awesomeness. Then the other guys (one American investment banker and two English blokes) began talking books and what I need to read. It was great fun. Until they brought up Nelson. They say (one of the blokes is in the Queen’s Royal Navy) that Nelson was not faithful to Emma Hamilton and didn’t love her nearly as much as she loved him and la la la. I defended their love to the end, but alas I was the American who just read one biography of Emma and they were blokes. Stupid blokes. We actually had great fun with it. They (and the old couple from earlier) were impressed with my knowledge of history and the area. I was pure awesomeness. Then we went to another bar, when I broke out the gnome. The blokes wanted to do funny poses with it. Well they were drunk and dropped him and the tip of his hat broke off. But I guess the gnome now has a story and character, right? After that bar we went to another one that did karaoke. I got the blokes to do Oasis Wonderwall. The one bloke kept the gnome in his pocket so he would be on film. It was pure gnome awesomeness.
What a great first night (especially for my ego) in Dubrovnik!
Woke up in Kotor, Montenegro and heading the famed Dubrovnik, Craotia. Ok, now there was some serious border control! They went through EVERYONE's baggage at the Montenegro Croatian border. They were even tearing this one car apart, taking off the door panel and everything. I asked the girl at the hostel about it and she said that's it’s normal. I thought it was maybe drugs, she said maybe, but sometimes people put alcohol or other things they don’t want to declare in the door panels. That seems like a lot of work for some vodka…but that’s just me.