I’m continuing to blog about past travels because Pete is steadfast in his refusal to travel with a baby. This is my method for dealing with my travel bug.
We went to Croatia on our honeymoon in October of 2010. We chose Croatia because:
a) I wanted to go to Europe
b) we wanted to go somewhere warmish
c) we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been before.
Croatia was an easy decision. I had always wanted to see Dubrovnik, and Pete had been to neighbouring Slovenia and really liked it. We had a winner!
Croatia was an easy decision. Look at the gorgeousness.
We travelled the last week of October because I was teaching college at the time, and that was my Reading Week. We spent a week there, and saw as much of the country as we could in that very short time.
After a three-hour layover in Vienna where we ate some chewy airport strudel and attempted to nap, we landed in Dubrovnik.
Airport strudel is never a good choice
It was an absolutely gorgeous day. We had left snow behind in Canada and arrived to temperatures in the mid-twenties. Just warm enough for short sleeves without being too hot. Heavenly.
T-shirt weather! In late October!
We had made arrangements to stay in private accommodations we found through our Lonely Planet guidebook. Our host, Marija, was warm and friendly, and took us to her home on the side of the hill overlooking the walled city. Her house was similar to a B&B, but we had a separate entrance and we had the use of her gardenside outdoor kitchen. Note to self: our next house must have an outdoor kitchen.
That first day we wandered (in our jet-lagged stupor) around the city and enjoyed some beer on a patio, which was outside Dubrovnik’s city walls, overlooking the Adriatic.
Beer on a patio overlooking the Adriatic
As we soaked up the sun and the view, we saw a cruise ship* begin to pass. We patio-dwellers were snapping photos of it while the cruisers were snapping photos of us.
The Costa Serena sailing toward Italy
The next day, Pete and I woke up to much colder temperatures, cloudy skies, and drizzle. Not a big deal, except that this weather stuck around for the rest of the trip. Bye bye t-shirts! Thanks, sister, for lending me your rain pants!
Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street
Despite the weather, we really enjoyed exploring Dubrovnik. What really struck me about the city is that although it is a picture-perfect walled city, it is a living city. Often, cities this beautiful are full of tourists but few residents, due to the cost of living, or to inconvenience (think Venice). But Dubrovnik is a vibrant place. Walking along the city walls, you can see into apartments and rooftop terraces. There are schools, playgrounds and soccer fields for the children.
Basketball court within Dubrovnik’s city walls
Dubrovnik’s vitality is all the more stunning considering how badly it was shelled during the civil war.
A photo displaying the damage Dubrovnik suffered during the civil war
I won’t linger too long on the topic of the civil war here, because it has been well covered elsewhere, but Pete and I did visit museums detailing the impact of the war. I highly recommend War Photo Limited, a war photography museum in the old city. It is curated by a former photojournalist and it is excellent. It is a difficult museum to visit, but it is moving and will leave you impressed by the strength and resilience of the Croatian people.
View of the harbour from the city walls
After taking in the museums and historical sites, we spent time wandering around the city. Although it was a cool evening, the city is absolutely breathtaking at night. We got lost more than a few times in the labyrinthine alleys of the old town.
Our honeymoon was off to a lovely start.
Happy travels, everyone.
* I later realized that this ship was the Costa Serena, the sister ship of the ill-fated and now infamous Costa Concordia.