Dubrovnik: Pearl Of The Adriatic

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Dubrovnik has become a major cruise ship stop for Adriatic cruises and is a wonderful place to get a feel for the far-reaching arm of the Roman and Venetian Empires. Dubrovnik is not lacking in tours or things to do. In fact, cruisers will have difficulty fitting everything into a few hours.

Because we spent several days in Dubrovnik, we purchased a Dubrovnik card. You can purchase the card online or on site. To decide what is best for you, just add up the costs for what you plan to do and compare them to the cost of the card. The card allows admission to the walls, the nearby Fort, many museums, and unlimited usage of the bus system which is very easy to use.

In the Old Town, our first stop is always the fountain to fill our water bottles with cold water, especially necessary when walking the walls. The wall walk gives a beautiful view of the city, the Adriatic Sea, the nearby fort, and the mountains. Supposedly you can walk the walls in less than one hour, but it’s hard to pass up the many photo ops along the way. Wear good shoes, take water, and don’t forget your camera!

We also hiked to the top of Fort Lovrijenac which gave more beautiful views, something that Dubrovnik, and Croatia in general, is not lacking! We also took a tour of the Old Town. The streets are crowded when large cruise ships are in port, so bring your patience. The main street becomes wall-to-wall tourists at mid-day. Our tour included a stop at the Old Pharmacy, one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe. The building itself is interesting since it was founded in 1317 as part of a Franciscan monastery.

This trip we saw where once an orphanage with a revolving window had once stood. Unwed women would leave their babies in the window and turn it so no one would see their faces and so implicate the father, often their aristocratic employer.

Underneath the beauty there are still many reminders of war, destruction, and death. In October 1991, the former Yugoslav (Serbia) army put Dubrovnik under siege after Croatia proclaimed its independence. The siege lasted until May 1992. Thankfully, the majority of the Old Town Buildings remain, although the pockmarks are reminders of their past.

Game of Throne memorabilia was everywhere. Guides held pictures of the show against the landscape, every souvenir imaginable was available, and stores featured GoT experiences where visitors could dress up and get their pictures taken.

After dinner, we wandered through the streets to find the “must see” bar in Dubrovnik. To reach the bar, you go through some less traveled streets before finding a small opening in the wall that leads down steps to a bar on the walls with a magnificent view of the water and the divers. Although the cliffs aren’t as high as those in Acapulco, we weren’t tempted to join the divers.

And as nighttime settles and cruise ships depart, Dubrovnik once more becomes “the Pearl of the Adriatic.” Even though this was our second visit, we would definitely return to see more of the Roman and Venetian history and the beautiful views.

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