Monday, November 13, 2017
Day 24, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Today is a port that both Val and I have really been looking forward to. We are visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia and will be exploring on our own. The big attraction is the historic walled old city area.
When I got up this morning I was a very happy person as I had slept all night with no bouts of coughing. We got up around 8:00 and when we looked outside it was very dark and overcast, but not raining. The shuttles were waiting as we walked off the ship and after a short wait, we were on our way to the Walled City of Dubrovnik.
As we drove through the city we could see what looked like a huge castle ahead of us, but as we passed by we could see it was the outer wall of the Old City. It was much larger than I expected and very impressive. The shuttle dropped us off outside the wall and we made our way to the main gate called the Pile Gate, which is one of several gates to the city. After walking through the gate, you enter into a plaza with a wide walkway called Stradun (Placa Street) leading across the city. There are also many streets and narrow alleys that wind their way through the city. The streets leading off to the left of Stradun are uphill and require climbing many steps.
|From the outside, it looks like a castle, but those are the city walls.|
|Pile, the main gate into the walled city.|
|Stradun (Placa Street)|
|Narrow streets and alleys led off the Placa Street.|
|We were surprised to see Christmas decorations.|
Val had read about a type of jewelry called konavle buttons that are unique to Croatia so her first goal was to visit shops that sold that type of jewelry. The street she was looking for was called Od Puca, which she had found in her research to be the best place to find the jewelry she was looking for. We found the street and started looking at the various shops. She found something she really liked in the first one, but wanted to see what else was available so we walked on down the street checking out other shops before returning to the first one to make her purchases. The Old City is not very big inside the wall so it was only about a half mile walk from one end to the other.
While Val was picking out what she wanted I wandered around a bit and then it started to rain. We were prepared and I already had my rain jacket on, but I decided to wait in the store as it started to come down pretty hard. Val had picked the perfect time to make her purchases because by the time she found what she wanted and also found some Christmas gifts for others, the rain had let up.
|After the deluge.|
Shopping done, our next order of business was to go up on the wall and walk around the perimeter of the city. One bad thing about the rain was that it had left the streets very wet and slippery as the cobblestones and pavers were very smooth. We had a travel book by Rick Stevens who is a well known travel expert and he had recommended entering the wall at the Ploce Gate, not the main gate. Try as we might we could not find the access point. There is a charge to walk on the wall so access is controlled and you have to buy tickets before you can go up. We climbed many flights of stairs and walked around outside the wall, but could not find the entrance.
|In our search for Ploce Gate access point we went up a lot of stairs ...|
|and back down again.|
|We did find the Ploce Gate, which led out to the harbor, but no access point to the wall.|
Finally, Val said I could go on my own as she was not walking up and down more slippery streets or stairways. I reluctantly agreed and we decided to meet at the main gate in two hours. After continuing my futile search for the ticket office I finally gave up and headed for the main gate where I knew there was a ticket office.
I found the ticket office, bought my ticket and after a climb up a long flight of stairs, I was on the wall. As I walked along the wall the views of the Old City, the town and the harbor where amazing. It was well worth the effort and even though the elevation changed quite a bit and there were numerous flights of stairs to go up and down it was not too strenuous. I took numerous pictures some of which you can see below.
|I gave up my search for the Ploce access and returned to the main gate where I climbed the stairs to the wall.|
While I was walking the wall, Val was exploring and taking photos of the city on her own.
I finished the walk back where I started and made my way back down to the main gate where I was to meet Val. I was a half hour early, but Val was already there and while I was on the wall, she had been exploring and doing a bit more shopping. She had bought a ring that had to be resized so our first order of business was to pick that up. We were both hungry so we looked for a café to have some lunch.
We found a little café on one of the small side streets and decided to eat there. We both had a pasta dish and they were both very good; Val particularly liked hers. We noticed on this cruise that the big meal of the day in Europe is often eaten at what we call lunch and today was like that so we probably won’t be hungry for dinner tonight. After lunch we started back towards the main square, but made a stop for some ice cream for desert.
After finishing the ice cream, we wandered back to the main gate and started back towards the spot where the shuttle would pick us up. We did a little more exploring and picture taking, but we finally were on the shuttle and on our way back to the ship. Despite the early rain, the weather had turned out to be pretty nice. It wasn’t cold and while the sun didn’t shine, we could see spots of blue sky. This was a wonderful day and I think we both could spend a lot more time in Dubrovnik.
After getting back on the ship and relaxing a bit, I decided to get right to the blog so I didn’t forget anything today. We sailed away at 5:00 and unfortunately it was already dark. Val and I went up on the Lido Deck thinking that maybe we would see the Old City Wall, but we were too far away and there wasn’t enough light; I would love to do a sail away when it was still light.
Val and I weren’t very hungry tonight since we had eaten a large meal for lunch so we had a snack in the Neptune Lounge before finishing our night in the casino. After the casino we returned to our room and were shocked to find that we were losing another hour of sleep tonight. We didn’t expect that and we are now ten hours ahead of California.
Tomorrow is our first port in Greece and we have a tour scheduled for first thing in the morning so that means we will be getting up quite early, especially when you consider the clocks being set ahead an hour. The weather forecast is once again for rain, but we are hoping that it turns out as well as today did