Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dubrovnik

We took the bus from Mostar to Dubrovnik. A journey of 135km takes 3 hours not due to bad roads, they are in fact very good. Rather two border stops, one to leave Bosnia & Herzegovina and enter Croatia - this was a relatively short 10 minute stop. Then for a small area near Neum we re-entered BiH. This too should have been routine, there were 7 of us on a 50 seater bus - the joy of traveling off-peak. However 1 of the passengers had their passport checked in detail, then he was asked to get off the bus with all his luggage. They went into the immigration office and after nearly half an hour he rejoined us on the bus and we continued on. We have no idea what passport he was traveling on.

 

In Dubrovnik we headed around to the Pile gate, an entrance into the pedestrian only walled city. Our accommodation was up about 70 steps - a very good fitness workout while carrying a suitcase! Thankfully we only have to carry them up once.

The city is definitely in off-season at the moment with only small numbers of people wandering about, and only a limited number of restaurants open. Sadly we chose one of the more mediocre ones for our dinner. It was so bad the Andrew went to the effort of joining TripAdvisor in order to leave a scathing review of the Pertorun restaurant. In this picture the red cast is from the outdoor heater, but it could have also been from his unhappy mood.

The next morning after we had found some coffee and a bakery was to walk the circuit around the city ramparts. Note the shirt sleeves - it is warm here on the Adriatic, up to 15 degrees today - so glorious after Cambridge & Sarajevo, which were both pretty grey.

 

Dubrovnik has world heritage status and its walls from middle-ages had never been breached. Of course they were not able to protect the city from modern shells during the 1990s war and the city suffered extensive damage. Nearly 70% of the buildings were damaged in some way during the war and over $7 million was spent before 1999 in city restoration. The walls themselves came through this relatively unscathed.

 

Having learned from our disaster dinner, we stopped for pizza at a shop outside the old town and where a number of locals were dining. Excellent pizza and HUGE. We also went back for dinner and shared half a pizza. So, not the healthiest of diet for the day, but tasty and good value.

Dubrovnik is a lovely town, and overall we enjoyed it, but it was also a bit too touristy for us. In a travel publication there was a story on a sucessful local girl. She said growing up in the old city it was vibrant with people going about there lives. Today there were less than 1000 locals living there and so many houses had been turned into tourist apartments. As a result the old city is bland and lacking vibrancy. I think we would have to agree with this

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