Civilisation and santiy!
Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
14Trip End Ongoing
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You can tell the old town in Dubrovnik used to be the domain of rich people, apparently it was a rival for Venice in the merchant stakes, the buildings are large, the main streets and squares are impressive as are the churches. The side streets are the usual narrow lane ways, but seriously 'high rise' It is altogether different from the 'homey' down to earth, medieval feel of Tallinn, which I loved. Dubrovnik actually has a rather scrubbed, almost sterile feel to it, that Split certainly doesn't. The shops are low-key tasteful and very expensive, I know I bought a handmade hat from a shop with a hundred year history, but I love it and try not to beat myself up too much over the price!
I walked the wall, great views of the coast and enough clothes lines and kids playing soccer to remind you that people actually lived there, all under red tiled rooves. The back streets aren't as renovated as the main tourist areas, but they have done a very impressive job on the wall.
Went to the art gallery, nice building and lots of 19th to early 20thC Croatian artists, who are really very good
The highlight of my sojourn was a trip to Trsteno where there is a Renaissance garden, created by one of the rich merchants, who was more into gardening than big houses. The scenery on the bus trip was just awesome, the Adriatic at its gleaming blue best, endless inlets with small villages, not all old, but all picturesque, took some lovely bus photos. The formal part of the garden was really very small but the wooded area was lovely, huge old trees, some purported to be at least 500yrs old. A grotto, featuring Neptune and a couple of nymphs and an aqueduct leading into it. Picked an orange, because I forgot to take water, it was the most bitter thing I've ever tasted! Walked down the rather rocky and rough path through the grey green Mediterranean vegetation, that led to faux ruins, spectacular views of the coast and a coastal path back to the village, that was all old stone houses clinging to the hills. With nothing open except the post office
The next morning the very convenient bus dropped me off at the bus station and off I went to Split, a city of a very different flavour.