5-6 September: And so back to the UK!

Author: Mr (and Mrs) A

Location: Dieppe to Newhaven ferry, English Channel, Europe

And so after just over 4 months touring Europe (we find ourselves already distinguishing that from the UK!) and we are on our way back to the UK. A time to reflect on our experiences.

We started Europe on a high, with a few days with friends (new and old) Champagne tasting
We feasted in a farmhouse in Provence

110 of those nights were spent camping, in all sorts of places from car parks in the middle of towns, ‘fancy’ (often not) campsites charging more than a hotel, vineyards, oyster farms, beside crumbling castle ruins…and so the list goes on. What those places had in common was a respect for other campers. Even when crowded together a metre apart, not once were we were disturbed by thoughtless noise from our fellow campers or passers by. In Australia, as our camping friends know, you’re lucky to go a couple of nights without some booze ot drug fuelled hoons running your serenity. A very different culture here, both on campsites and on the roads. We’ve loved that.

A vineyard with a view in Barga, Italy
Magical sight of Assisi complete with friendly cats
Seafront views complete with oysters in Brittany
A little bit of history in Normandy

What we’ve missed is the ability to just chat to people easily because we share a language. This morning my trip to the boulangerie went particularly smoothly, even ending up with what I thought I ordered, a rarity I have to say. There was a real sense of achievement in that, given my very sad state of linguistic ability. I spent French lessons at school being mostly slapped with a ruler by a very uninspiring educator. I will though miss being challenged to learn at least the basics to show courtesy to our local country hosts. But our UK friends and family beware, we are incoming with A LOT TO SAY!

Plenty of English spoken with friends in La Marche, Italy
New friends made in Austria
Old connections reestablished in Germany…

We have loved the variety of scenery and culture that Europe offers. You drive a few miles down the road and everything you see changes so fast. The landscape, the architecture, the farming, the signs (despite the EU’s best efforts), it’s a constant assault on the senses and we have loved it. The variety in the food as well, stacked up in supermarkets groaning with options. And please explain why you travel 20km down the road and go from one “country” to another and the food is completely different. How did that come to pass? Well I’m glad it did anyway. For us, Italy was an absolute standout winner on the dining-out front, quality, price, service, ambience…all just brilliantly executed. And on dining in, well we found great fresh produce everywhere, and the very talented Mrs A turned that into awesome lunch and dinners in our little Truffy.

From Italian hilltop villages…
….to fields of poppies….
To Lake Bohinj in Slovenia….
…and Slovenia’s Lake Bled…..
Alpine lakes in northern Italy
Incredible scenic cycleways in Austria

In the driving department (there’s only me working in that one), it was a little stressful to start with getting used to the dimensions of our Fiat truck, with its the manual gear box changed with the right hand (it is left hand drive), plus everything happening on the other side of the road. But…OK…settled into it. A few hairy moments, like driving into a tunnel in Italy having roadworks performed, which clearly didn’t involve fixing the tunnel lights, and seeing massive lorries thundering towards me in the other lane, usually reserved for traffic going the same way!! But I have to say while on the subject of Italy, the drivers there were some of the most courteous we encountered, overtaking in places I wouldn’t, but understanding of my constraints in Truffy. We had one horn honked at us in 4 months, I was a little cautious after the tunnel nightmare of every dark yawning hole that I approached…a little too carefully it would seem.

Finding somewhere to park for the night, even in the middle of the high season, never presented a problem. We didn’t always like the prices or the facilities, but there was always somewhere. France the clear winner here. Their network of places to pull up, refill with water, empty your grey and black water, is just fantastic, and many of these are free. We always tried to make sure we went into the town though wherever they were and spent some money, only fair. Many of these places were no more than scruffy car parks with a bit of kit in the corner that allowed for the emptying and filling, with various degrees of success and cleanliness. Mrs A was also an absolute wiz at researching all of these stopovers, allowing me to focus on getting us there in one piece. What a team!

Diverse scenery in Austria…
Our bikes that took us for literally hundreds of kilometres
Our packrafts allowed us to get away from the crowds and see some wildlife

So what would we have done differently? I asked Catherine this yesterday and we both agreed…very little. Splashed out on an awning for Truffy to keep us cooler, that’s about it. We also knew we had a great team in our dealer’s workshop to talk to if something went wrong with Truffy, which it rarely did. We loved the layout of the van, but more of that in a separate post. Having almost constant internet thanks to our 4G signal booster on the roof and a super plan from Vodafail…connectivity and therefore information was almost always on hand…well except in Germany where they seem to be strangely lagging in the internet department given their usual level of efficiency! Even the amount of time on the road felt right, if we hadn’t have had our stopovers “drive surfing” through France and Italy we think it would have been more challenging. As it was we got to stretch ourselves out every so often and move our elbows while having a shower…luxury.

A bit of drive surfing to celebrate a big birthday in Italy
And another big birthday celebrated in Croatia, island hopping by boat and cycling

So…friends-and-family time next and we are both really excited to be doing that. One thing we have noticed about writing this blog, our friends don’t feel they need to check in and share what they’re up to (or maybe it’s the excuse they’ve been looking for all along!?).) We have so much catching up to do.

Red legged bees in Slovenia

Then at the end October its back to Australia, our fur child and Aussie based friends. That also is something to look forward to. Retirement…the holiday that never ends. Or sorry I should say “career break” for Catherine. She gets a bit touchy if I say “we’re retired”. She’s clearly too young for that, and spends a chunk of her time volunteer-working on her role as admin for the health support group she runs along with research with doctors across the world. Much to admire in my wife…

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!

20-21 June: Two nights in beautiful Dubrovnik

Author: Mrs A

Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thursday: Our ferry from Split pulled into port at around midday, after just over four hours of travel. The passenger ferry had called in at many of the islands we are about to visit on our cycle-cruise and we had tried not to look and spoil the delights to come.

Once we had disembarked from the ferry, we put our backpacks on and jumped on the bikes to ride half an hour to our Airbnb. There were no cycle lanes and the pathways were quite busy with tourists, so it wasn’t as easy as we expected. And of course the roads were quite steep, so we were grateful for our electric motors.

Our host, Ela was there to meet us, and let us into the four bedroom terrace house with courtyard. What a perfect place! We had found this online back in January, knowing nothing about Dubrovnik. It sounded nice, just outside the walls of the city. It was much better than we even expected. Air conditioning in every room, just two minutes walk from the entrance to the city, with a little bay less than a minute’s walk away.

The entrance to our accomodation, complete with courtyard

We settled in and before long got a message from our friend Owen to say his flight had landed and he was on his way. Once he had unpacked, the three of us headed into the city to meet up with some of the other friends and Owen’s family who had also travelled over to join us.

We were congregating here specifically to help Owen celebrate his 60th birthday. All in all about 18 people had flown to Dubrovnik tor this auspicious occasion from around the world, including California, Switzerland, Australia and the UK.

We met at a bar in the centre of Dubrovnik Old Town, sharing some wine, beer and nibbles as we caught up with old friends and got ourselves acquainted with new ones.

Getting acquainted over drinks in the old town

Friday: Our day began early with an 8am tour around the walls of Dubrovnik.

Nowadays a park, this used to be a moat around the city

The streets are blissfully quiet at 7.30am

100 steps up, I was grateful not to be climbing up these every day

It was the day of Owen’s birthday and also the birthday of our tour guide, Vlaho. We had found him via Tours By Locals, a company which organises city tours by those who live and have grown up there. Vlaho had excellent reviews and not only was a long-time resident of Dubrovnik but also had spent some time in Australia living in Sydney, so understood our sense of humour and was able to give us pertinent examples.

Punctual Vlaho is there waiting for us under the clock tower at 8am

We learn that cats have been revered in Dubrovnik since the Black Death, which killed a third of the population

‘The walk of shame’ steps – a scene from Game of Thrones for a team photo. L-R: Nic, Oliver, Anton, Lisa, Mrs A, Mr A, Donald, Gayle, Tim P, S-J, Amy, Dave, John, OE, Tim C and Tom

Mr A finds the earphone is a little too small for his ears

The little port

A lovely calm day with not a cloud in the sky…it was warm up on the walls

Team photo around the walls.

Terracotta rooftops as far as the eye can see – mostly replaced post the war in the 1990s

The tower in the background has a significant part in GOT, with many fans visiting

Owen and Nic admire the views

Views out across the viaduct into ‘new’ Dubrovnik

Looking across the city from the highest point on the walls

Starting early in the morning and at a time before the cruise ships disembark means you can get some time without people

By 10am the city is already much busier

For the Game of Thrones fanatics out there we were shown some of the top filming locations, along with photos of particular scenes that were shot. There were many people dressed up in wigs and costumes, dragons on their shoulders and suchlike posing around the city…weirdos!

For us though, most of the focus was on the history of Dubrovnik along with the stories of how it survived the war in the early 90s, not without a great deal of hardship. Vlad was one of the residents prepared to give his life protecting the city, and he is a very proud and respected man for it.

After the three hour tour, some group members headed off in search of beer and lunch while Mr A and I instead decided to go for a kayak. Just around the corner from our accomodation was a rental company, so we jumped on a double and paddled out.

It was stunning escaping the crowds and being on the water was so refreshing. We followed the city walls where they plunge down into the Adriatic Sea. We then paddled out to Lokrum, an island just 600 metres from the city we had spotted during our tour.

Happy to be away from the crowds and much cooler out on the water

Beautiful colours along the coast

Crystal clear water

A cheeky dip in the water

Crystal clear water in the caves

Coming around the southern most point of the island

Back around to the little port where we started our tour this morning

And finishing up where we started near our accomodation

We stayed out for a couple of hours, enjoying a swim or two along the way, before returning home to get ready for the evening.

Housemates (minus Oliver who was on a work call) ready to go. L-R: Dave, S-J, Owen, Mrs A & Mr A “Happy birthday Owen!”

We then caught taxis up the narrow winding road to the top of the hill overlooking Dubrovnik for our meal at Restaurant Panorama.

Our first view down the coast as we arrive at 6.30pm

It’s like being in an airplane

Table 1: LHS from front: Donald, Gayle, Tim, Amy & Tom RHS from front: Oliver, Mr A, Mrs A, Tim & Owen

Table 2: LHS from front: Fay, S-J, Dave, John and Lisa, RHS from front: Otto, Paul, Steve, Claire, Anton

Birthday boy

Amy and Tim bathed in sunshine

Tom enjoying his prime seat

Looking up towards the islands we’ll be sailing around from tomorrow

The sun sets inland, looking towards Bosnia & Herzegovina

Surprise birthday cake for OE

The city looking lovely at night

Owen’s birthday celebrations continued back at our courtyard, with music, more beverages and lots of laughter…and clubbing for some who are never too old to drink shots and dance to awful music!

*****

Footnote: apologies to our email subscribers who have been receiving many duplicate messages recently. This is an error with WordPress, not us, and we are working with our web hosts to try to resolve this issue. Please be patient with us while this happens, and sorry again!