The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shattered Expectations in Dubrovnik

Days 228-230, July 13-15, 2011

Ever since The Amazing Race visited Dubrovnik, Croatia in one of its more recent seasons, I’ve been wanting to visit there. The images of this beautiful walled city struck me as magical. I am not ashamed to say that this was my main reason for coming to Croatia in the first place. Split and Šibenik really showed me a beautiful side of Croatia that made me think that Dubrovnik was going to be absolutely spectacular.

Sometimes we build things up a bit too much in our heads.

IMG_9991From Šibenik, I grabbed a bus all the way down to Dubrovnik. As there are no rail lines south of Split it just made sense to go the entire way by bus and not have to worry about changing transport in Split. As it were, I had to change buses in Split anyways. I was personally ok with that as the bus from Split to Dubrovnik was much nicer and less crowded than the one from Šibenik.

The drive down the coast to Dubrovnik was nothing short of amazing. A little gut-wrenching at times as the bus zipped around sharp corners, bordered only by a short railing that would do little to stop us from tumbling down the cliff in to the waters below. I kept thinking, though, as we drove through these little seaside towns, of how much I wished I had my own vehicle to explore this area. So many of these little towns had such amazing blue water.

I found the hostel without much trouble and was lucky that I arrived as late in the day as I did. Most of the “dorm” is a dance studio with mattresses on the floor. As all but the double mattresses were taken, I was put into a different room with actual beds. Thank goodness for that.

IMG_0007I visited the Stari Grad, or Old Town, the next day. I don’t know if it’s because I was feeling a bit tired or what, but I was very underwhelmed. It’s a beautiful old town, don’t get me wrong. But there really wasn’t anything that made it stand out from Split or Šibenik's old towns. Other than an overabundance of Cruisers and tourist shops. I ended up spending three hours walking around before I felt like I was done. That was a big let-down for me. I had built this city up so much in my head that when I finally saw it in person, I was disappointed.

Though, I admit, the biggest thing that Dubrovnik has over Split and Šibenik is the ability to walk the perimeter of the Stari Grad on top of the walls. I had known this coming to the city, but was a bit taken aback by the price: 70 Kuna or just under C$13. Yes, I’m cheap. Get over it. I still forked over the money. I mean, when else am I going to get the opportunity to do this.

IMG_0046IMG_0070   The walk around the city gave some amazing views, both of the old town and of the waters and cliffs along the coast. It’s a long walk to do the enter perimeter; just over 2.5 kilometers. And on that journey, one bathroom – at the halfway point of the walk. Teaches me for chugging that much water right before.

All told, I only ended up spending about four and a half hours in the old town of Dubrovnik. It was all I really needed. The next day I spent mainly just wandering around the neighbourhood that my hostel was located in. I checked out the public beach and swam for a bit but for the most part I hung out at the hostel pool and read a book until the sun went down completely.

IMG_0107I’m still glad I came to Dubrovnik and I’m thankful that it’s the reason it brought me to Croatia in the first place, but I learned a good lesson about hyping things up before you see it. It’s much better to go to a place without high expectations. You’re more likely to be blown away then.

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