Nicknamed “Pearl of the Adriatic”, Dubrovnik is a popular tourist destination on the Adriatic Sea with it’s Old City (much like Old Quebec) and it’s seaport frequented by cruise ships and vacationers on their own sailboats and yachts.
In order to get to Dubrovnik I had to wake up at four thirty in the morning to catch a bus for the forty-five minute ride to Mljet’s main harbour in Sobra. Then hop on the high speed passenger ferry, Nona Ana, for the one and a half hour ride to the city; some day I’ll get used to this commute. The only commute I like so far is the one in my village which takes sixty seconds to walk down eighty-two stairs so I can jump into the bay for a swim.
I arrived in Dubrovnik at seven-thirty in the morning at Port Gruz. Then started my casual walk through the city passing a mini farmers market and then a marina to look at boats. There were various boat types from small fishing ones with outboard motors to sailboats and yachts.
Then I walked along the waterfront trail at Babin Kuc passing “Copacabana Beach” and a series of expensive-looking hotels that offered great views of the sea.
The day become hotter by the minute so at Lapad Bay I opted to switch my bi-pedal motion for some wheels. Hopping on a bus I headed to Stari Grad (Old Town). If there is one thing in common with any city and its transportation system is that passengers rarely move to the back of the bus to allow more people to get on. I felt I was back in Toronto being squished like sardines in a can or like a cow in a cattle-car. Dubrovnik roads are narrow and traffic consists of scooters and vespas zipping by cars and buses. Oddly, traffic lights are at a minimal and there is less congestion.
With it’s large fortress walls and defensive towers, Old Town is a city-museum that has its own place in history since the seventh century. The walls run two kilometres and are about five metres thick. First timers may get lost through its maze-like corridors and alleys. Though if you know where the main street (Stradun) is relative to your position then you should be fine. There are plenty of Churches, restaurants, cafe’s, souvenir shops, and street buskers to keep you entertained. In the Old Town there is Onfrio’s Fountain. It was used as an urban aqueduct drawing water from twenty kilometres away in the 15h century.
I stopped at a cafe to get a tasty beverage and to look for a power outlet to recharge my camera phone. Since taking photos with it drains the battery faster than a regular digital camera. I figured a strawberry milkshake would refresh me during a hot day in the city. I was wrong. They used strawberry ice cream and over-blended it to a point that it was warm to drink. But at least I charged up my camera phone so it all works out, I guess.
It was time to head back so I walked along the main street to the main entrance of the Old Town. I didn’t want to miss the ferry ride back to the island and also had to do some shopping at Port Gruz. I picked up some snacks and supplies, which included wine coolers. There is a good bottle of Peach Schnaps liquor that I’ve been enjoying almost nightly; too bad the bottle’s now sits empty.
Having a couple hours before the ferry arrived I sat at a nearby cafe to enjoy a cola and read a book I brought with me. When the waitress dropped off the small bottle of coke she said, “that’s eight dollars” and then walked away behind the counter. Huh?! I didn’t realize I had “Tourist” written on my forehead. You can be charged anywhere from one to five dollars for a coke depending on the location of the cafe. In the Old City it was five while in some wayward store it could be one. The exchange rate is roughly six Croatian kuna to one Canadian dollar (or American). So to pay forty-eight kuna for a coke is a rip-off. When the waitress came around again I firmly asked her how many kuna was the coke. She stumbled with the answer and eventually said fifteen kuna. Note to self, if prices aren’t listed on the menu then ask first for the price before you ask for the drink.
The ferry arrived and off I went back to Mljet marking the end of a sunrise to sunset trip to Dubrovnik. It was a good day and the hustle and bustle of the city reminded me of Toronto on a much smaller scale.