Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Trip Start Jun 24, 2011
Trip End Jul 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Porto Bello Hotel

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina  ,
Monday, July 4, 2011

After a quick breakfast in the hotel it was time to throw on the togs and take the quick half hour drive to Dubrovnik. As it is an isolated part of Croatia by the surrounding BiH, a short trip through border control was required before heading down the winding coastal road that dramatically reveals the spectacular city.
Dubrovnik is gorgeous. The Old Town walls and towers dominate the city and beckon a visitor to walk the beautiful cobbled streets. For a minute I became quite dejected by my decision to stay in Trebinje rather than overnight here; I say a minute, because once I joined the thick press of foreigners prowling the streets I has thankful of my choice. Seeking solace from the crowds in the Church Sv. Ignacije, I was struck by the tranquility and reverential beauty of the finely decorated interior.
After a reflective moment on a pew it was time to hit the streets once more (they were beautiful, despite the people) and continue seeing the sites. The Fountain Onofrijeva was impressive, the tiny shops intriguing, but before long my tolerance for tourists was tried and I tracked back to the entrance, forgoing the viewing of some other major sites (and I was on a set time limit with my car in the parking garage). Spying a fort on a nearby cliff, I wandered the back streets until I came the steep stairs that led me up to the entrance. Fort Lovrjenac was impressive... and deserted. No tourists. Not even a guide manning the front entrance. Like any good visitor I blundered in anyway and had the run of the place, getting some amazing city views and snapping away at the various islands just off shore. Startling the gatekeeper as I made my way out, an apologetic wave was all I could give before I scurried away - I had no local currency (kuna) on me, which would have made paying the entrance fee a tad awkward.
Winding through the backstreets once more, I sidled down some narrow spaces until I was greeted by a little bay being used by a few locals for a refreshing dip. With the fort watching down from above and a few villas recessed into the cliffs around the area - not to mention the melodious tune of a gently played violin drifting out a window - it seemed like a fine place to cool off. The water was pristine and determined the rest of my two hours in Dubrovnik - walking along the coastline and swimming whenever the fancy took me. With respect to the Australian coastline, I have never swum in such clear water (sacrilege!); the crystal waters allow for one to snorkel at leisure without the need for a mask. Negotiating some steep cliffs, I found a secluded area with some high ledges and had a fun time launching off them into the deep sapphire waters below. A most ungainly front flip left the judges (some intrigued locals) less than impressed and so my energies were better invested by ensconcing myself on a rock and watching the šassing of yachts as the hot sun beat down.
On the way back I headed inland a fraction and spent some time studying the cool stone alleys and beautiful architecture of the old villas. Another swim in my local swimming hole, a quick shower (it had everything), another sunbaking stint and it was time to race back and collect the car before the meter expired.
Winding the way back to Trebinje was easy going and upon arrival a well-earned lunch was eagerly ordered. Now when one orders a lunchtime mixed grill one expects a reasonable portion; the gigantic platter of six different types of meat, and chips, and roast vegetables, and salad, AND the soup was overwhelming and by the end I think I had only wounded it. The waiter graciously prepared the leftovers to takeaway and I waddled away with my arteries oozing deliciousness.
Browsing through the guidebook, it became apparent that a number of vineyards took advantage of the river to produce some great drops. Choosing the one that sounded most interesting - Tvrdos Monastery, where an order of monks were in the habit of growing and producing their own wine - I took the short five minute trip from town. Arriving, I donned the required pants and shoes and strolled towards the monastery, waving hello to a group of inquisitive men as I blundered past the visitors centre and eventually found myself inside the actual monastery itself. After a quick self-guided tour I bid a hasty retreat and returned to the actual area I should be exploring. Figuring the chance wouldn't come up to often, I purchased a nice bottle of Cab Sav that would be put safely in the cellar for a special occasion.
Next on the afternoon's visit list was the temple of the Mother of God (incorrectly listed yesterday as the Orthodox Church) and it was just as spectacular during the day as it was at night. The real experience, however, was the interior; the walls are intricately covered with depictions of different religious scenes and figures and it is a powerful place to experience.
The final site for the day was the Perovica (Arslanagica) Bridge that spans the river Trebisnjica and was built in the second half of the 16th century (1574).
Having completed an extensive day it was time to sojourn at a little bar nestled amongst some trees in the heart of the Old Town. After a few beers observing the pedestrian procession it was time for me to participate in this promenading pastime and take in the quaint little buildings for the final time. A delicious ice cream ordered from the most popular place in town (over four pages of items) capped off what was a pretty spectacular day.
Hitting the hay hard, tomorrow will see a trip to Mostar via the coast and some more ancient and amazing city sites.
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kerrie on

the old town sounds amazing

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