I spent Easter weekend soaking up the splendor of Dubrovnik, Croatia. I had already experienced the country’s capital of Zagreb several weeks ago before traveling south into Bosnia-Herzegovinia. Now, I left behind the craggy countryside of Bosnia-Herzegovina and was once again immersed in the splendor of the Adriatic. I must say that it was a bit of a culture shock to be back in a cosmopolitan atmosphere again. Things here were a bit too “pretty” compared to the rough and tough charm of Bosnia.
But I had heard about Dubrovnik for years and wanted to see for myself what the fuss was about. Now I understand! It is indeed an alluring city.
My favorite thing to do in Dubrovnik was roaming its narrow, steep-stepped lanes with my camera. Local life flaunted mazes of fluttering laundry and flower-adorned window wells.
I don’t know if the snaking laundry lines were hung for the benefit of photo-hungry tourists or if it was just an everyday occurrence. No complaints here either way.
From antique lanterns to roses spraying weathered doorways, Dubrovnik had me under its spell.
And then there was this adorable barber. His little shop was adorned with family heirlooms and relics from trips abroad.
From clifftop fortresses and sun-drenched marble lanes to bubbling fountains and trendy eateries, there was old world charm around every turn. It was enough to simply sit along the pedestrianized walls with a thermos of tea and watch the fisherman in the harbor.
This was the perfect tactic to avoid the crazy, mid-day crowds that flooded the city center as well. Plus, there were always plenty of cats to cuddle too.
The harbor was packed with fishing boats as well as tourist boats that offered day excursions. Clanging halyards and the smell of a salty sea brought back wonderful memories of my own boating pastime.
One afternoon found me hiking to the top of Mount Srdj where I had splendid views of Dubrovnik’s jutting peninsula and the Dalmatian Coast’s long expanse. From this vantage point, one can see Dubrovnik’s two kilometers of pedestrianized walls as well as the turrets, towers, gates and forts built to serve as a defense from an attack from the sea. In 1991-92, the city suffered a tumultuous siege during the war. Buildings were bombed and large portions of the wall were damaged. Today, there are no signs of the city’s turbulent past for restoration happened immediately. This view of the fortified city was just jaw-dropping.
Market day in Dubrovnik brought forth tables of homemade delights such as breads, cheeses, fig bars and fruit. I love how the city’s fountains spurted pure, delicious water – perfect places to wash fruit and fill up water bottles. Why can’t we do this in the States? Metal water fountains just don’t hold the same appeal to me.
I didn’t stay in a hostel during my time in Durbrovnik. Instead, I enjoyed a few nights in my own double bed at a family-run pension. For the most part, the family left me alone. Except for a few hours spent chatting over their kitchen table – eating some marvelous apple cake, I might add – I was free to come and go as I pleased. I found this special place on my own while wandering through the town. However, many of the pension’s owners actually wait at the bus terminal in Dubrovnik and meet travelers as they disembark from their transport. These pensions are wonderful options for a quiet night’s stay and they typically cost about 10 – 15 Euros per night.