Sailing into port in Dubrovnik was a little like Kotor – not quite as long, but similar mountains and scenary. As it should be, since both on are the same coastline overlooking the Adriatic Sea. As we were coming into port, there was a suspension bridge that looked like we would have to try to go under but there was no way we would have made it! Just as it looked like we were going to try, the ship turned and we were docked.
Shuttle buses from the ship took about 20 minutes to drive from the port to the Old City gates – most of the time was for port authorities to check travel documents. Along the drive, I was reminded of streets in Berkeley – that area around the “circle” where I would always get lot at because I could not pick the right street! But, soon, I was at the city walls – and now I was reminded of how Mdna in Malta looked when you first entered the walled city.
The colour of the walls was more like the walls around the old town of Rhodes, but once I crossed the bridge, I discovered that I have never been in a city built of marble like this one. Even the pavement was marble, down to the gutters that helped to drain water (although the only water in the city was the sweat dripping down in the 30+ degree heat (100+ degrees) — very little shade and no breeze unless you were close to the water. I melted!
When you enter the main gate, you see what is considered the oldest pharmacy – built in 1313. Next to it is a Franciscan Monastery. The main street, or plaka, has a number of tourist shops, stores, gelato, etc. Each cross street lists some of the businesses that can be found there. And there are also a lot of stairs – especially going along the wall (in the heat with no shade). But there are also places to get out into the water (wish I had known how easy that was …) and you can even rent kayaks. You will also find women crocheting different types of items for sale.
Probably the most confusing was money. I left my Euros on the ship, thinking that I would get some Kronos in town – which I did. Then, when I tried to buy something, they wanted Euros and actually gave me change in Euros. Then, trying to just get some gelato and a bottle of water, they wanted Kronos, but all I had now was Euros! Very confusing. There are lost of ATMs in the city, however never where I needed one — when I needed one!
I wandered around the town – found the Dominican monastery (of course) and was going to take the gondola to the top of the mountain – but ran into the money issue again. Hot, tired and a little frustrated, I found a shady spot to watch kayackers before heading back to the shuttle bus (long line) than back to the ship.
I would love to come back to Dubrovnik – but not at the height of summer!
I love Dubrovnik, but in the middle of summer it can be very crowded and hot. Split is also gorgeous. And the currency is called “Kuna” 🙂
The entire coast is beautiful — but when I was there I remembered why I do not like to travel in the summer! Thanks for the reminder of what the currency is called — I just know that I never seemd to hasve enough of the “right type”!
Contacting a private guide for one or two of your port visits might have given you the key to when to hit certain places, if only because of the heat, but also to get a better sense of the culture of the area and not just some landmarks.
I have arranged for a “local friend” in some of the places I’ve gone (http://rentalocalfriend.com/EN/index.html), however I thought I would be able to navigate through Dubrovnik in ways similar to how I did for Kotor and Rhodes. I thought the ship was docked closer and I would be able to easily explore a walled city — one of my favorite things to do. But, with the temperatures soaring to 35+ (100+), I was not able to be my normal engaged travelling self. I simply do not like the heat!
I look forward to going back — but will try to stay clear of July (and August) for my next adventure there!
Thanks for the suggestion!