Arriving in Croatia from Italy, was like leaving Delhi for the Himalayas.
Even the ferry was organised and calm; as we arrived in Dubrovnik everyone waited patiently in line and a staff member directed us out. As opposed to arriving in Italy with no staff so everyone honked and used aggression to overtake people.
We went through the passport control where a young cop asked where we were going. A standard question at the borders and I’ve learnt not to state the obvious, like ‘Croatia!’ or ‘Dubrovnik!’ So I said we were driving north through Croatia, ready to delve into more detail, but the guy looked up from my passport and said ‘Noooo waaay!’ Then he winked and waved us through.
We headed to Dubrovnik’s old town which is said to be the top tourist attraction of Croatia. It has a perfectly preserved wall, built between the 13th and 16th century that surrounds the whole town and protected a civilised and sophisticated republic for five centuries.
As we entered through an archway we stood on the Stradun which is the main street through the old town. The floor was made of shiny stones and the baroque buildings all matched one another with cream bricks and shuttered windows. Like most of Croatian buildings, they were all topped with terracotta tiled roofs.
There were cafés, restaurants and gelato shops everywhere; within a few minutes of arriving we had a creamy gelato each, and for half the price of Italy’s. The city was heaving with tourists, it’s probably the busiest place we’ve been since meeting Santa in Finland. There were loads of Brit’s who’d arrived on a large cruise ship, it was rather nice hearing them talk.
The main highlight of the town is walking along the ancient walls. Everyone says if you haven’t walked the walls then you haven’t seen Dubrovnik…we didn’t walk them, but we still saw Dubrovnik in my opinion. It costs about €13 to walk the 1940m continuous wall. Sure, it sounded nice on a sunny day with the blue Adriatic gently slapping against the walls and views of endless tiled orange roofs. But a) that’s too expensive and b) it was blowing a gale, raining on and off and bloody cold at about 15 degrees, half what it was in Italy! There’s no point doing something purely because it’s ‘just what you do in Dubrovnik’ regardless of weather etc.
We still had a lovely stroll around, visited lots of churches and wondered up and down narrow stairways for views of the roof tops. One area led out to a small harbour and we followed a path around to a jetty leading into the sea. It was unbelievably rough, huge waves were smashing against the wall and spilling over the footpath. Craig loves waves ‘no waves the same’ as he says, so he stood precariously close to the edge getting sprayed by the waves while I hid in a corner.
After Dubrovnik we headed north along the coastline and were amazed at how beautiful everywhere was, even in poor weather. There were forested islands, hidden coves and steep mountains. Best of all Croatia is sparkly clean with hardly a speck of rubbish along the roads. I’m looking forward to some good weather for even better views.