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!

*****

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