Saturday, September 30, 2017

Balkans Days 2-8: Dubrovnik

Our street was so picturesque that we couldn't walk out the door without getting in someone's photograph!

Expecting to need a few days to adjust to the time change and recover from the flights, we planned a relaxing week in Dubrovnik. It turned out to be a great choice for us. Our Air BnB provided us with a fantastic launching point for many daily wanderings.

In Dubrovnik, tight alleyways twist and turn concealing tiny cafes and boutique shops jammed together in a pleasing fashion. For many it's a day-trip destination or a cruise ship landing spot so staying overnight provided the opportunity to leisurely stroll the otherwise packed streets with large tour groups incapable of stepping out of the way for a couple carrying or pushing a baby. We fell into a routine of going on three walks a day with breaks for Baby's two naps. The maze of sidestreets gave much choice and new discoveries were found at every turn.

A rare sight: the main street (Stradun) empty of tourists

Family selfie!
Durbrovnik is an old city encased in its original walls. The 2km are walkable and a great opportunity to get a lay of the land. Views from the highest tower showcase the city, the walls themselves, and the Adriatic sparkling in the background. We timed our walk of the walls for late afternoon so the crowds had lessened, the sun was lowering providing beautifully atmpospheric views, yet the rust-coloured rooftops still shone against the deep blue background.

We would highly recommend visiting the War Photography Museum prior to your walk of the walls. This stunning display of history really enhanced the experience by reminding us how recently the walls had been used in actual combat. It was a very different feeling to look through the arrow loops picturing yourself in medieval times vs 20 years ago. The weight of their recent war was heavy.


The city was also protected, of course, by the sea. Citizens have made the most of this by creating wall bars and swimming spots from rocky outrcroppings accessible by winding staircases and giant slabs of rocks. The water is unimaginably clear, and we enjoyed taking morning dips at various wall spots and afternoon swims at Banje Beach.

The view from the wall looking down at
a wall bar and the swimming spot below.

All this adds up to a tremendous amount of walking! There were 372 steps between our tucked-away flat and our most frequented wall beach that we needed to navigate both up AND down. There are over 80 steps just to get down to Banje Beach from the main street. It was; therefore, a great relief to take an impromptu trip to the top of the city on the gondola. We enjoyed the panorama immensly but would recommend shelling out for a few drinks or a meal at the restaurant (ideally at sunset) to really make the most of the experience.

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