Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Drawn to Dubrovnik for its reputation as a perfectly traditional city of Croatia, it was time to venture south. Riding along in the charter bus I had a front row seat to the entire coast of Croatia, passing by tiny villages with small houses with red roof shingles sitting up on the hills, and trails in the thick green forest that leads your eyes down to the beautiful beaches that are left unpopulated in these remote areas. My hostel was positioned with an ideal view of the waterfront and of the large bridge that leads the highway into the city centre. Even though crowded with gigantic cruise boats, the panoramic view was incredible. 

On a day of adventuring, the short city bus ride dropped me right at the start of the small old town district. The first destination was to take the trolly car up to the fortress at the top of the city where there is a breath-taking view of all of Dubrovnik, and there is a chance to explore the region that was not too long ago used as a safe haven for the residence, and also as a battle station of protection against the constant attacks as the country fought for their freedom. Much of the city was destroyed through out the war, but they have worked hard to recreate much of what once was to ensure that Dubrovnik remains as traditional and attractive as it always has been. Venturing back down into the city centre I found out quickly what the hostel staff meant when they referenced Dubrovnik's "many stairs." Climbing up and down and all around through the city there was so much to see in such a small area. Wandering out the the edge of the port, I sat and watched the boats coming in and out, some bringing in their catch of the day, while others were out just for pleasure or to carry tourists from island to island.  The evenings in Dubrovnik were spent watching the sun disappear from the hostel balcony, making meals in the kitchen while chatting the night away over a bottle of Croatian wine with fellow travelers. Just a five minute walk down to the water there was a trail full of local people walking their dogs, docking their boats, or just taking a stroll. On one night I couldn't resist a walk to the end of the docks to watch the city turn to darkness, leaving only when my feet were pruning from letting them dangle in the water for so long. The beautiful city and a hostel with the water so near provided such a comforting feeling, I wasn't surprised to hear myself saying to the hostel staff, "I think I'll stay another night." 

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