About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dubrovnik Croatia

We had a nice breakfast at our hotel before hitting the road, heading south to Dubrovnik. The GPS said it would be a 4 hour drive, but it really took about 5 hours. The highway down the coast is two lane road that twists, turns and goes through many, many villages.

Croatian coast - photo by Brandon

Brandon's Puffle, Sunny, kept him company during the trip - photo by Brandon

I guess this is what it looks like in the car when you sit in back - photo by Brandon

Croatian coast - Adriatic Sea - photo by Brandon

We stopped at this roadside fruit stand to buy some plums and apricots. Very tasty. They were also selling wine and brandy - photo by Brandon

One interesting part of the trip down the coast was adding another country to our list. The Croatian coast is interupted for about 17 km by Bosnia/Herzagovenia. We had to drive through a checkpoint to get in and again to get out. At the southern checkpoint, the coastline becomes Croatia again.

This sign amazed us enough that we had to stop and take a picture. We never thought we would visit this part of the world - photo by Katrina

Another view from the backseat - photo by Brandon

I guess this is what it looks like out the back window - photo by Brandon

We arrived in Dubrovnik around 1pm, found the home of the people renting us the apartment and checked in. In Dubrovnik you basically have two options for a room: 1) an soba, private room or apartment, or 2) a resort hotel outside the old city on a distant beach. We wanted to stay inside the old city, where the sights and action are located. Our choice, Apartments Pavisa, run by Davorka and her husband Pero.

Pero helped us find a free place to park near their home, then drove us (and our luggage) down to the old city. We are staying in the Francesco apartment, an attic apartment. It was great!! Very cool to stay in a 600 year old building.

Side story: We had some phone issues while in Croatia. I turned my phone off on the ferry to Split so that it wouldn't use up all the battery charge while it roamed for a signal. When I went to turn it on, the security code wouldn't work. I tried it the three times it would allow before the phone locked up completely. My phone would be useless until we get home and I can get the PUC code from the box to turn it on again.

Katrina temporarily lost her phone while we were meeting Pero and checking into the apartment. Bad news. Two phones down and to make it worse, Katrina's is a work phone. Pero was very kind to give us a ride back to his house so we could backtrack our route in search of the phone. Katrina found it between the seats in the car! Whew!

Ok, so we checked in an made ourselves at home. Pero suggested that we do the city wall walk today, while it was cloudy and cool. Tomorrow is supposed to be very hot. We took his advice, but stopped on the street below for a nice lunch. Lunch was fantastic. Katrina and I both had fish. Brandon had spaghetti bolognese.

The old city of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a popular cruise ship port. When we arrived there were two ships in the harbor and one heading out to sea. On a busy day as many as 7 ships will bring as many as 30,000 cruisers into town. Thankfully, that was not the case while we were in town.

St. Blaise's Church, dedicated to the patron saint of Dubrovnik.

After lunch we headed down the Stradun to the Pile gate to start our walk on the city walls.

The Stradun, the old towns main pedestrian street.

Before climbing the stairs to the top of the wall, we stepped outside the Pile gate to have a look.

At the entrance to the Pile gate is this sign. It shows where each bomb dropped on the old city in the recent war. Inside the walls, you will see virtually no signs of war. The residents have worked diligently since the war to rebuild quickly.

One of Dubrovnik's most popular attractions is strolling the mile and one-quarter around the old city walls. These walls have been here almost as long as Dubrovnik. They protected residents from invaders. They even helped protect residents during the recent war. Walking the walls gives visitors the best idea of how much of the city was impacted.

Fortified wall of the old city

View of the Stadun from the wall

Many of the buildings in Old Dubrovnik have bright new orange roof tiles. The people of Dubrovnik have worked hard to rebuild after the war.

Onofrio's Big Fountain. In the Middle Ages Dubrovnik had an aquaduct system that brought water from the mountains. The water entered this fountain before continueing through the city.

Brandon acts as photography assistant

Where the wall meets the sea

A few sections of the city have not been rebuilt yet.

Fort of St. Lawrence

Overlooking the Adriatic Sea

Brandon takes aim at the cruise ship

The ship survives Brandon's attack

Brandon is imprisoned for firing on a cruise ship

Croatian Flag

The harbor

A restaurant below the wall prepares for dinner. This is not a formal restaurant. All restaurants, cafes, and pizzarias seem to take pride in their table settings. It is very rare to find a restaurant that doesn't use table cloths.

More fortifications

On the wall above the high side of town

Every posed picture with Brandon must also include a silly pose.

Looking down on the restaurant where we would eventually eat dinner. It smelled so good, even from up high on the wall.

Climbing the last tower

Above the old city

Beautiful Dubrovnik

It took us 2 - 3 hours to walk around the perimeter. We were slowed by all the amazeing views, Katrina the shutterbug, and an ice cream break.

Once we finished circling the old city, we descended the steep stairs back into town and took a break on the church steps and listend to a stree performer playing guitar.

Hey, you're in my shot!

Captain Brandon

While on the wall above the high side of town, we spotted and smelled a restaurant cooking in an outdoor fireplace, Lady Pi Pi. The smell was wonderful, so we climbed the steps way up to the top of town for dinner. I tried cevapcici (cheh-VAHP-chee-chee), a minced meat formed into sausage like rolls then grilled. It is typically served with ajvar, a condiment made from red bell pepper and eggplant. It is like ketchup, but with a little kick. I loved it so much, I bought a jar at the supermarket.

Enjoying some wine while we wait for dinner

Before and after dinner, Brandon played with my camera on the sidewalk near out table. It was getting dark and he ended up with some unusual shots:

Ok, maybe there is something to this alien thing?!?!

Photo by Brandon

Sunny's night out, photo by Brandon

We had a fantastic afternoon and evening in Dubrovnik and look forward to a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.

St Blaise's Church

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