Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Croatia: Dubrovnik

A few days after I arrived back in Milan I was skyping Eleanor. She was traveling in Croatia with other friends of ours, Ayla and Alain. They all suggested that I come! Well, this whole trip has been founded on invitations like this - one of the first being from Eleanor a little over a year ago to come on exchange. Within the hour I had a flight for 2 days' time!

So, early on a Tuesday morning I trekked through Milan and caught a bus to the airport. I was flying cheap and only allowed carry on. Wearing all your heaviest things - which does not mean most fashionable - is a daunting experience as the sun rises and sheds light on the fashionable Milanese!

Anyway, I arrived in Split and grabbed a bus to Dubrovnik, where I would be meeting the others. The coastline is breathtaking and even though I was knackered I snapped probably too many pictures of it. Dubrovnik is beautiful and I settled down the wait in the old town... And I waited... and waited. See, it turns out that the overnight bus the others were on left on the 20th rather than arrived on the 20th. A hazard of these sudden decisions!

Arriving in Dubrovnik

My view for most of the afternoon - the city is also incredibly touristy so I had a steady stream of people to watch as a consolation.

Oh, and there's a drawbridge that looked like it was functional, if not often used.

In the evening these guys came out - I imagine they're some kind of tourist show.
I looked for accommodation but Dubrovnik is one of the most expensive cities in Croatia so that was a no go then I climbed up into the hills to sleep there considering I had a sleeping bag and bed roll. I don't know if you've ever been to the Dalmatian Coast but the hills are rocky, steep and prickly. Eventually I arrived at the bus station, bleeding, dirty and sweaty where a cop took pity on me and talked to the ferry terminal security guard into letting me sleep there. This was fortunate as it turned out I got a better sleep than the others on their bus, crossing four borders overnight!

Those are the hills I climbed up
More wandering
I met them super early the next morning and we set about exploring Dubrovnik. For any Game of Thrones fans, this is the setting for King's Landing - see if you recognise some spots. Alain pointed quite a few out that I snapped photos of. We had a look through the streets and grabbed a coffee then went exploring the walls of the old town.

Croatia has just joined the EU by the way - making it 28 member states strong.

Croatian flag. Turns out I'm a fan of flag shots.

This is their reaction to 'pose'. Don't you wish they were models!
All of the roofs are terracotta.

We're an attractive bunch!

Alain's best tourist pose. I think he pulls it off.

Gotta get that shot...

And this is what it looks like from Ayla's perspective.

I think this was one of the King's Landing spots.

The danger of traveling with climbers around so many stone walls - we like to see how easy they'd be to climb. If they feel nice we all gather round and have a hold. When there's a huddle of four of you exclaiming over how nice a wall is to hold, and all taking turns, you tend to get odd looks. Also, I won't condemn all climbers - this may just be us.

Boring photo but... those people are walking on a 1.5m ish wide pathway - and that window underneath cuts straight through it making it look 2D - well, when you're there it does. The photo may not be quite as good...

Eleanor acting out being pushed off by Alain. Alain refusing to act with her.

Oh yeah, and you could pay this guy to put a parrot on your kid's head because you're tourists and that's the kind of thing you do.

Another game of thrones scene apparently.

Keep going down and you get to a bar with what has to be one of the best views in the world.
We were the macpac crew... except for me. I had a small black handbag. I have to argue for handbags though - I once climbed Mount Robert with a handbag and it worked just fine even if I did get mocked the whole way up.
So that's Dubrovnik. I was actually going to try to do all of Croatia or maybe some of Montenegro (the next post to come) until I realised how many photos I took in a 24 hour period - I thought you guys could do without a 30 page post!