August 3-9, 2010
There are 67 pictures here.
I took a bus from Mostar to Dubrovnik, and then spent six nights in Dubrovnik. We passed over this bridge on the way into town.
I stayed at a sobe run by Paulina Čumbelič, a very kind, gentle woman renting four old-fashioned rooms. I was in room number 4, which was upstairs, and right outside the window were clothes lines on a pulley. That was great as I could wash clothes and hang them outside to dry. The windows were open all the time, and there were no mosquitoes or other flying critters. The place was right near the Pile Gate (Pee-lay), the main entrance to the Old Town.
Some 500 years ago, Dubrovnik was a major maritime power, with the third-biggest navy in the Mediterranean. Busy merchants, the salt trade, and shipbuilding made Dubrovnik rich. In the Middle Ages, the city-state of Dubrovnik (then called Ragusa) bought its independence from whoever was strongest – Byzantium, Venice, Hungary, the Ottomans – sometimes paying off more than one at a time. Dubrovnik’s ships flew whichever flags were necessary to stay free.
Dubrovnik flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries, but an earthquake destroyed nearly everything in 1667.
Liberty has always been close to the heart of every Dubrovnik citizen, and even today all over the town are flags with the name Libertas, meaning liberty. Dubrovnik believed so strongly in libertas that it was the first foreign state in 1776 to officially recognize that upstart experimental republic called the United States of America. [I thought Morocco was the first, but, oh well.]
The Old Town is surrounded by a wall over a mile in circumference. Here is the Pile Gate. There used to be a moat filled with water.
The heart of Dubrovnik’s Old Town is the 200-yard Stradun promenade. Notice the LIBERTAS banner hanging on a wall. The promenade is full of tourists and lined with tourist trap shops.
At one end is the Onofrio fountain with spigots where many folks get a drink of water or wash their hands.
I heard the rat-a-tat-tat of drums, and saw the costumed “town guards” parading down the street to take their place at the Pile Gate. Many tourists get their pictures taken with them.
Off the Stradun are many, many very skinny side streets chock full of shops and restaurants. Most of the restaurants had tables that took up most of the street. Many of these streets went uphill.
In his guidebook, Rick Steves recommended the “best” ice cream at Dolce Vita on one of the side streets. They got to know me there.
Here is the wall that surrounds Old Town.
Dubrovnik’s single best attraction is to walk the scenic 1Ľ miles around the city walls on a path at the top of them. There have been walls here since the start of the city, and they were beefed up in the 15th century when the Ottoman navy became a threat.
I walked the walls early in the morning, before the tourist crowds. It took me a full hour, as I took lots of pictures.
There were lots and lots of stairs.
Here are some views from the path on the top of the wall.
In 1991, after Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia, the Serbs began bombing Dubrovnik during a siege of eight months. The city held out and was liberated by the Croatian army. Most of the city was rebuilt. The roofs that are lighter in color are the ones that had to be replaced. The darker roofs were not damaged during the war. At the entrances to the Old Town are maps indicating everywhere a bomb was dropped. Shells struck 68% of the 824 buildings.
More scenes from the wall walk.
After I walked the wall, I went to the Fort of St. Lawrence.
At the top of the fort. The island in the background is Lokrum, which I went to.
From the ferry to Lokrum. Note the rocky shore. Most of the island shores were like this. The island was open only during the day, and you had to take the ferry back before it got dark.
I went swimming on the island. One place was for nudists, of which there are no pictures. But the rock "beach" looked just like these, where I also swam.
I took the cable car up to Mount Srd. I was going to walk it, but when I got to the trailhead, it was virtually impassable.
The large peninsula from Dubrovnik is Lapad. I learned to use the buses, and took one to here. There was a beach at Lapad Bay with a mixture of sand and pebbles. Most of the toddlers enjoyed clothes-free freedom. I saw one woman sunbathing topless. The swimming was great. I did a couple of laps from one side of the bay to the other.
One of the tallest “hills” on the peninsula is Velika Petka. I walked past the “No admission” sign (in four languages) and took a very pleasant walk up to the top, where there were transmission towers. I loved the smell of pine trees on this road.
The water of the Adriatic Sea is such a pretty blue.
This time of year in Dubrovnik they have a Summer Festival, with concerts, dances, and dramas for a month. I went to hear a chamber quartet at the Rector’s palace. It was very nice.
One morning I visited the Dominican Monastery, which was nice and peaceful.
One day in the middle of my Dubrovnik stay I took a day trip excursion to Montenegro, shown on another page.
When I finished my stay in Dubrovnik, I went to Hungary.
That's all for Dubrovnik.