The bus ride to Dubrovnik was beautiful. Definitely an interesting ride south. As you wind along the coast the roads are intense. At several points we noted vehicles (a car, a large truck etc.) down on the rocks-cliff side. Little bit of a hairy drive, but then again – I’m glad I was not in the first seat up front looking forward AND down. The water and countryside of the Dalmatian Coast was gorgeous. The bus ride itself was like a tour bus trip. One of the peculiarities in the drive came in the form of a passport stop. As it turns out Bosnia has a one mile or so stretch of the Croatian coast which you have to drive through. Not sure if its always been that way or if it was a wartime concession. Either way it’s weird to have the country split like that.
Dubrovnik itself is a neat city. With architecture significantly different than Split. It still shares the small winding streets, with white polished paving stones and crystal clear water. As was the case in Split there are cats everywhere…they are well fed and friendly. It adds a great feeling to things and makes everything that much more picturesque. The inner city is surrounded by a wall which is in excellent condition. The wall itself is fairly impressive, a good 20-30 feet high on average with other points far exceeding that. At approximately 2km in length, the city itself is less than a mile square…or circle…whichever that would be. There are several main drags which then have streets that branch off of them. The streets then typically climb up the steep hillsides creating a beautiful feeling as you walk through the town. The buildings roofs are all red brick tiles, many have colorful shutters on their windows.
Interestingly Dubrovnik itself is very hard to photograph. Perhaps because of how it is layed out, though I think it is tied more to the color of the stone used and the pristine nature of the city walls. Either way the city is gorgeous and I regret not having longer to explore it. I arrived in the evening, then learned that the ferry to Italy only ran twice a week. Luckily enough the next one was the following evening at 11 at night. That gave me a small part of one evening and the entirety of the next day to explore. A lot of the experience reflected what I saw and did in Split. The wall was spectacular and the real highlight came at sunset.
A group of us set out from the hostel early in the morning to explore, get our ferry tickets, etc. We made our way to the ticket office, then down to the city proper where we ate, then split up setting a 3:00 meeting time. The girls went to do various errands and explore and the German guy and I set off to check out a nearby island. The small ferry was not running on account of weather, so we instead decided to split up. He continued exploring the city proper while I did the wall tour during which you walk the top of the wall the full length of the city at your own pace. From there I explored the city, bought a book, then reconnected with one of the girls at the fountain. The other two failed to make it by the appointed time, so after relaxing, resting and waiting a bit we set off together to explore the city a bit more socializing as we went. Eventually we found our way to a set of benches out on the old breakwater.
There were two people bread-fishing for mullet, a weird scrappy dog that was perpetually in motion, a nice luke-warm breeze, blue water, the smell and sound of the sea and an incredible city to our back. As time passed we eventually decided to walk around the city a bit more and picked up a quick snack. We then found our way to a bar that you access through a door in the city wall. The bar is a small set of cement terraces on the cliff in front of the castle wall. It is surrounded by jagged rocks and only about 10 feet above the water. The place only has enough room for the walkway and the tables. It was incredible! The bathroom is a stand at the far end with palm fronds and chemical camping toilets. The cats were out in full force as well, exploring the rocks and playing with each other.
From there we watched the sunset. It was a brilliant-fiery red event, that cast the whole area in red and gold hues. With the wall behind us it was fantastic. There was just enough cloud cover to disperse the light and create a beautiful sunset, but not enough to obscure things. Also, right as the sun neared the final stages a cruise ship sailed toward it. While i was a bit annoyed to have it obscure the natural beauty, it added its own movie esque flavor to things. From there we split up and eventually made it back to the place, grabbed our bags and headed for the ferry. It left at 11:00 PM and arrived at 8:00 AM the next morning. Our seats were deck seats, which meant that sleep was a FFA. As a result we headed to the bar, found the softest sofas and couch-like, areas dumped our bags and tried to sleep. I woke up stiff and sore, but still got some quality rest and had a good night of it.
I disembarked, made my way to the train station and caught a train to Florence. All said and done it took some 22 hours between when I left Dubrovnik and arrived in Florence.
Unfortunately, that does it for this update. I have a ton of catching up to do, I’m currently north of Verona in Trento and have done Florence, the Cinque Terra, Verona and Venice. Depending on how tomorrow shapes up I may be able to get partially caught up. If not, know I’m still alive and loving the adventure!