George Bernard Shaw said Dubrovnik was “paradise on earth” and after twenty five days here, we must concur, as we have fallen in love with this most beautiful and romantic “pearl of the Adriatic”. Croatia has always looked good to us in pictures and appealed to us as a possible place to live, so we wanted to spend a little time here to get a feel for it and it has not let us down. It becomes clear almost immediately why UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site.
The hardest part will be deciding on which pictures to include in my limited space as this area certainly calls for its own separate album. Hopefully, I will get to those mini albums for each area once we get settled back in Spain. I am happy at this point, just to be more caught up with the blog as we will have to get moving faster again soon and that will slow the blog down. It is hard to believe its been a year!
Croatia is famous for its cleanest and clearest seas in the Mediterranean , many lush islands, Roman ruins and unspoiled fishing villages in addition to its pristine beaches. Dubrovnik’s City Walls are the finest in the world and its claim to fame along with its marbled paved squares, ornate fountains, monasteries and palaces.
It is another great city to arrive by boat and I knew we would like it at first sight, although I was surprised that I could not see the old town from the port arrival. We did see some of the old walls on a nearby island as we got close and of course the ubiquitous terra cotta tiled roofs.
When we first walked into the Old Town we entered thru the draw bridge at the famous Pile Gate and made our way down the wonderful pedestrian promenade that runs from one end to the other of the town. At the huge Onofrio Fountain(1438), we succumbed to a charming man dressed up, who was probably making a killing selling cute hand made heart souvenirs, which of course Mozart had to have. They were only a euro and they will make nice remembrance ornaments on our Christmas tree for many years to come (or so we rationalized as we bought one). Mozart got hers for free....naturally.
We became very fond of the fountain as our days passed here as it is a great place to rest, day or night on the stairs, and always good for a drink or a head or foot dunk on hot days. There is plenty of room for everyone to use a spout all around or find a seat to people watch even in high season.
You can not miss the Franciscan monastery nearby with its ornate statuary on the door which has the third oldest functioning pharmacy (since 1391) in Europe and an elegant cloister. We enjoyed it, the frescos and the connected museum where we bought books about Croatia and Dubrovnik.
The arts are very alive and well supported in Dubrovnik and the Summer Festival was going on while we were here. We particularly liked the folk singers and small crafts. We became quite fond of the strolling flute and drum corps that was dressed up in costume that makes its way from one gate to the other from time to time all through the day and night. No doubt it is done solely for tourists as a photo op (and it works), but we grew fonder and fonder of this magical procession from the first time until the last. We can almost whistle the tune.
It is a fun town to just wander around in and we enjoyed visiting a few museums and churches, not to mention stores and outdoor cafes. There was a good farmers market (we are fond of the sweet grapes and nectarines) and there are always good spots for Mozart to grab an ice cream which adds to the fun. I was thrilled to even find some classic books in English for very cheap prices to add to Mozart’s collection.
The cruise ships do add to the summer crowd and even more so when two ships are in at once or a particularly large one. Still, we met two nice older couples (one from New York and one from Philadelphia) who were on cruises. Luckily our campsite is right near the sea where the cruise ships dock, so we got used to dodging them and the crowds that come with them with a little practice, since we could see when they arrived and left.