Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Walking in the old city of Dubrovnik with gelato and Venitian-mask shops on both sides of the Stradun, I had the illusion of being in Venezia, Italy. The broad straight Sradun brought me back to reality but I got lost again in the intoxicating blue Adriatic ocean, felt that I was on an island of Greece. Is the fusion atmosphere of Italy and Greece the secret of Dubrovnik that attracts millions of people every year? I had to slow down my pace as the stone road of Stradun was slippery smooth, a result of years of polishing by tourists, and that's just as well, I could gain a better control of my agitated heart and appreciate the pearl of the Adriatic, slowly.

From the bustling main street that hosts most of the tourist sights: the most famous landmark of Dubrovnik is the Onofrio fountain and next to it the third oldest functioning pharmacy in Europe, is in the Franciscan Monastery & Museum and the medieval knight sculpture at Luza Square that used to be the official linear measure of the Republic, etc; to alleys where restaurants and bars set tables in and locals hang out their laundry to dry overhead,  they all blend in naturally.

A walk on the old city walls and forts perfects the tour in Dubrovnik. From above, a stupendous panoramic view of the city unfolds, on one side the walled city and on the other the ocean and all its activities. I saw a labrador swiming in the blue Adriatic and it puzzled me that in the land of Dalmatia I hadn't seen a single Dalmatian? (but I did see cats everywhere). Walking on the walls that were built in the 13th century, I imagined soldiers patrolling the fortifications and then I saw two men dressed in traditional costumes guarding the drawbridge at Pile gate, one of only two entrances to the old city, the other being Ploce gate, a reminder that the drawbridges were once actually raised every evening, the gates closed and the keys handed to the prince as the golden hues of sunset colored Dubrovnik at dusk.

As I waited to take some sunset pictures, I noticed a wedding party in the courtyard of the excelsior hotel. Summer in Dubrovnik it seems is wedding season, and love is in the air all around. Jubilant revelers drive back and forth honking their horns, it seems from every direction, mixed in with some soccer fans, whose team has just won their match at the world cup. It's definately party time in Dubrovnik and the city is alive with joy and celebration in this summer holiday season.
Photosynth of Onofrio fountain

Panorama of old city harbor

Panorama of old city walls

Panorama of new harbor

Dubrovnik photostream

Useful info:
From/to airport:
Atlas shuttle buses (35KN/5Euro/person) (tel: (020) 442 222; depart for Dubrovnik after the arrival of every regular incoming flight.

Around Dubrovnik:
Dubrovnik's buses run in the city as well as to suburban areas such as Cavtat. You can buy the city bus tickets from the driver directly, 10KN, or from any tisak (kiosk) for 8KN. The ticket is valid for all local bus lines within an hour after validating it in the yellow box on a bus. The time table of the bus can be found on the company, Libertas Dubrovnik, website: Bus map of the city:

Dubrovnik City Card:
The card is on sale at all cultural institutions in the city of Dubrovnik and all of the information office of tourist boards. Facilities included in this offer are the Maritime Museum, Natural History Museum, House of the Marin and the Dubrovnik City Walls, Art Gallery Dubrovnik, Cultural and Historical Museum, Rupe Ethnographic Museum and Gallery Dulicic-Masle-Pulitika.
Daily Card, 130KN, includes free entrance to 8 cultural institutions and 24h public trasport rides
Weekly card, 220KN, includes free entrance to 8 cultural institutions and 20 public trasport rides

The Dubrovnik times
Dubrovnik wikitravel
Offical tourist office


Robb said...

Hey did you visit any Naturist beaches?

Fili said...

Eh! I was there 3 days ago.

A real cool city. Would love to go back for more.

(BTW - definitely some nudist beaches around there, if you take the boats to the smaller islands)

Hanjié said...

Yep! I had my very first FKK (Freikörperkultur) beach experience at Cava beach in Dubrovnik. It's next to my hotel, the argosy hotel, and I went in by accident. When in Rome do as the Romans do, so I striped and enjoyed it.

Apparantly, one of the attractions of Croatia is its Naturist beaches, my next visit to Croatia would be staying in lighthouses along the coast and sun bathing in the FKK islands