Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dubrovnik, Croatia

"Those who seek paradise on Earth, should come to Dubrovnik" - George Bernard Shaw

Dubrovnik has been on Drew's "I wanna visit" list since we visited Croatia in 2013! It was a better deal to go to Zadar at the time. Since Dubrovnik and Kotor are only a 2 hr drive away from one another we decided to hit up both cities!
After leaving Kotor, we headed back to Croatia, crossing the border again, getting more stamps. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea. Dubrovnik is among the 10 best preserved medieval walled cities in the world. Again, my friend Paige, from Wanderlust and Dogs was kind enough to let me share her pictures (Click Here to see her Amazing gallery). I'm sure you can tell the difference. Haha

Today, Dubrovnik is the brightest feather in Croatia's cap, it is an elite destination and one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean. Dubrovnik is steeped in stunning architecture and sculptural detail, and boasts spectacular churches, monasteries, museums, and fountains.

Dubrovnik used to be an independent republic, surviving mostly on trade. It managed to survive many centuries, with constant threats to its territory, particularly from the mighty Ottoman Empire and Venice. As early as 19th century, it was discovered by celebrities as a place to be seen. Royalty, presidents and diplomats have all favored the city. The late Pope John Paul II was a fan of Dubrovnik and was even made an honorary citizen!

I had high hopes for Dubrovnik, my weather app said that it wasn't supposed to rain until the late afternoon so we had plenty of time to get there and sight see. I found a parking garage near the Old Town, and we headed off the Cable Cart. I read reviews that said this was the best way to see the city. Only thing it didn't mention is that during off-season, it's shut down! We were all pretty bummed that it was closed, but we forged on and headed into the old city. **Just a heads up, there aren't many public restrooms in the area, so if you happen to come across one, make sure everyone has a bathroom break.

Since Drew is a big Game of Thrones fan, he wanted to find the different locations that were filmed there. If you didn't already know, Dubrovnik is the location of King's Landing! First order of business, was to find the famous dock the Sansa stood on. I'm not entirely sure why it's so important, but it was actually pretty cool!

Drew wanted to get some pictures of the waves crashing against the rocks. I think him and Paige had fun running from the the waves. We got some pictures before the wind and crazy waves sent us on our way.

Paige captured this awesome pic of Drew running away from the water!
I got one of Paige & Drew. lol

We decided to go exploring the city, to find an entrance to climb around the city walls. (We did so much walking this weekend!) When we found an entrance, there was no one in the cashier booth, but the gate was open. We assumed it was free to walk, apparently we were wrong. We walked along enjoying the view, until we got to a checkpoint. The ticket person asked for our tickets, we didn't know we needed tickets and he rudely told us to leave. He didn't even say where we could buy tickets! 

Come to find out, the ONLY way to see the forts that surround the city, you have to purchase a ticket to the wall. It's ~$18 USD, they take Croatian money or Cards, No Euro is allowed. So we got down and started walking in the city.
I've read that a great thing to do is to get lost in the city. That's what we ended up doing, even though we didn't mean to. 

Eventually we gave up and decided to check out the fort out side of the city. Fort Lovrijenac, or St. Lawrence Fortress, in my opinion it is the most impressive. 

Only thing was that we couldn't find the entrance! (It was literally next to the city walls) After getting lost, we asked a couple passing by if they knew how to get to the fort. 

They did! But they said that it was going to close in 15 minutes. Drew and Paige decided o make a run for it. Me? I was still sore and tired from the climbing up the St. John's fortress and walking up and down stairs, I hate stairs, I also wanted to enjoy my gelato in peace, so I told them to go on without me. They made it to the top and explored the inside. I eventually made it to the top but, I sat outside waiting for them, enjoying the views. I still got a nice view of the top, but didn't have to rush. (I was the winner in this situation)

After words we were all beat and wanted to head to the apartment. We had great timing because when we left the rain started. Our apartment was located in Cavtat, ~15mins outside of Dubrovnik. During the summer it's the perfect place to do day trip s to the other islands. We had a hiccup finding the apartment. The address led us to the road behind the building, eventually we found it with some help from the owner. It was a cute 1-bedroom apartment with a pull out couch, perfect for a one night stay. He even welcomed us with some chocolates and adult refreshments. haha

The only hiccup about travelling during the off season, everything is closed, at 6pm we went out looking for a place to eat. Only thing was that NOTHING was open. You would think, being that it was valentine's day, and there was lots of restaurants, something would be open. Luckily we found a convenience store that was open, so for our last meal in Croatia, chicken fingers and frozen pizza. LOL.
By that time, we were all starving and didn't care, Looking back Montenegro was better for off season travel. Dubrovnik was okay, I hear that it is packed and unwalkable during the summer season because of all the cruise ship tourists. On the bright side there is more to do in Dubrovnik other then the Old city. 

But for our last trip it was a great trip! If these places are on your bucket list, make sure you go. But probably go in September or early October. Prices will still be cheap but places will still be open!

Check out Paige's Blog post on Dubrovnik. Here