Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Wonderful Dubrovnik

Wiley and I took a spur of the moment trip to Dubrovnik last weekend. The weather forecast looked good, so off we went. We got to the bus station at 6:30 (because bus is the usual way to travel here) for a 7:15 departure, and after an hour and 15 minutes of waiting in the freezing-my-toes-off cold, the bus finally arrived. The driver said the battery had died and he’d spent all this time charging it up. After another hour on the bus, I could finally wiggle my toes without pain. We called the Begovic Boarding House where we were staying and told them we’d be late and settled in for the ride. About an hour out of Sarajevo, we turned a corner and all of a sudden, sunlight hit us and stayed with us for the entire ride.

And what a ride it was! The scenery was beautiful. Our Lonely Planet book said the view was nicer from the train and that the bus ride was less than great, but I really enjoyed the scenery. I always wondered why people had lots of clementines whenever we walked around. Then I saw the groves of clementine trees. Thousands of them! And lemon and orange too! Not long after spotting those, we saw the Adriatic. All I can say is wow. What a glorious sight.

We arrived on time in Dubrovnik, and our driver was waiting for us. When we told him where we were from, he said, “Kansas City is where they had that big chemical explosion last year.” It seems KC makes international news at times. We were shown our apartment, which had one bedroom and a twin bed in the kitchen. Unfortunately, there was no ventilation, so we had to heat each room with the single space heater provided us, and the first night, I was mighty cold. But the apartment was very nice and inexpensive to stay. It’s in a little area called Lapad, which is about 2 miles or so from the old part of Dubrovnik. We walked down to the beach, watched the sun set on the Adriatic, and then headed to a place called Atlantic for dinner.

Dubrovnik is a happening place in the summer. Party, party, party, but in the winter, it’s much quieter. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves for about an hour, and then another couple came in and sat in a different part of the restaurant, so then we had half a restaurant to ourselves. They served great Italian. We actually went there for dinner Saturday night as well.

On Saturday, we went to the old part of Dubrovnik and walked around the walled city. There were lots of shops, places to drink coffee, and a lot of washed stone. I don’t know why, but it seems that every place that has stone streets feels a need to wash them. We had coffee and tea and then walked along the top of the city walls. Talk about neat! The entire old city was laid out before us. Afterward, we stopped at a restaurant right next to the harbor and I had some cheese and olive oil with bread while Wiley had all sorts of crustaceans in rice. He said it was delicious, but to me it looked like rice with ketchup and bad-smelling crustaceans. But then again, I don’t like seafood. At night, we returned to take some pictures since the stone walls were outlined like the Plaza for Christmas. The shots didn’t turn out very well, but it was nice to see.

On Sunday, we took a two hour ferry to an island called Mljet (that’s Mil-yet to you, but really there’s no “I” in between the M and the L), where we walked around the national forest and questioned our sanity while listening to absolute silence. There are two lakes in the national park, known as Greater and Lesser Lake (and no, I’m not kidding). In the middle of Greater Lake is an island with a 12th century monastery on it that you can visit. Of course, being “winter”, no one’s there, so we could only gaze at it. We had lunch at a little restaurant where again we were served cheese with olive oil and bread. I didn’t like this cheese as much, but what was fun was the myriad cats running around. I saw one, and then it would run off, and I’d see another, and it would run off. When we were served our food, not less than 6 cats surrounded our table. Two of them were so small – very petite and under 6 pounds, like my little Dixie, but even smaller. And they weren’t kittens. I was tempted to take them back with me, but Mljet is a nice place for them to live. The temperatures are very mild; not like in Sarajevo. When we got back to Dubrovnik, it was dinnertime, so we had dinner inside the city walls at Mea Culpa, the best pizza place in town. It was very good, and our waiter looked like one of Wiley’s friends.

We left Monday morning to come back to Sarajevo, and the city must’ve been sad to see us go because the sun hid behind clouds all day. I know I was incredibly sad to leave, so I’m scheming to get a vacation home along the coast somewhere before prices get even more outrageous. Anyone interested in going in with me?

So that was our trip, and now we’re back, and you can view some of the pictures here. I took over 700. There’s no way I’m uploading all of them!

Sretan (Sray-tahn) Bozic (Bo, like Bo Duke, z as in “pleasure”, and itch), which means Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

wonderful photos. thanx for the vicarious thrills as i shiver with the flu! auntie em

meesha.v said...

nice trip indeed.