Dubrovnik and the long walk

The following day we had plans to see as much of Dubrovnik as possible, so our first port of call was the cable car, it’s located just outside the city walls it costs £9 one way and £15 return, we opted for one way as we fancied hiking back down.  After travelling up and above the old city we had climbed around 412 metres to the top of mount srd and the views were actually incredible, it was a beautiful sunny morning with hazy scenery in the distance. 

We loved it up there and spent a good amount of time looking out over the Adriatic and spotting little islands in the distance. The views behind us over misty mountains was really cool too, showing you the contrasting geography of this part of the world.

There’s a huge cross up there, which you can see from the old town, it was destroyed in the 90s war but has since been rebuilt, it is also home to fort imperijal, built in the 1800s during the Napoleonic wars, it now houses a museum dedicated to the siege of Dubrovnik, a dark part of Croatia’s history during their war of independence when Serbian/Montenegro forces invaded and attempted to annex southern Croatia. It wouldn’t be our last history lesson on the 90s balkan wars. 

We walked around the fort and found the small track leading back down, it’s a nice walk and it was still cool early in the morning rather than blazing sun. With butterflies fluttering around us and a lizard scuttling about it was nature at it’s best. The path zig zags all the way down eventually descending into a wooded area before you emerge on the ourskirts of the old city. On the way down there were 12 plinths mounted at the end of each zig and zag. Though we weren’t sure about their significance other than religious depictions on them. 

Outside of the walls of Dubrovnik was just as quaint as inside with a proper Mediterranean feel to the place. I’ve always wanted to come to Dubrovnik since I was a teenager and it wasn’t letting me down so far! 

We thought as long as we continue downhill we would hit the coast and we were right! We came out into a little cove with a jetty and the clearest water I have ever seen, far cleaner and clearer than SE Asia. It was full of fish too so we sat and dangled our legs over the end of the jetty and watched all the different fish go about their business, even a few crabs were doing a bit of seaweed farming. 

One reason Dubrovnik has gained in popularity is Game of Thrones, the hit Tv show has filmed a lot of scenes here over the years and you can even do a guided tour! As luck would have it we found out that our little cove was one of the places a scene had been shot! 

You could see why, and another filming location was above us Lovrijenac fortress is situated on a rocky outcrop and was used for shots of the red keep. 

We walked up to the keep and paid to go inside, you can get a multi ticket for Dubrovnik walls and the keep for around £17, or if you’re there for longer they do a Dubrovnik tour card. Dubrovnik Card

The keep itself doesn’t have much in it but it’s white walls and little nooks and crannies are great for exploring. We climbed to the top of the fortress for more views of Dubrovnik and it’s walls and out to sea. 

It’s definitely worth the short walk over especially with the bonus of the little cove. We left the keep and retraced our steps this time heading back behind the walls and into the city. Using our ticket we climbed up onto the ramparts and began the full circle of the walls of Dubrovnik. 

We could see back over to the cove and keep and over the whole of the red tiled roofs. 

It’s super pretty and luckily wasn’t too busy, I can imagine the whole place is a nightmare at the height of summer. 

There was some great scenery to look at as we took a leisurely pace around. Stopping for pistachio ice cream and a rest halfway along.  

We were pretty high at times and could see schools of fish glittering in the early afternoon sun. With little fishing boats moored up right beneath the walls. 

You can really see just how clear the water is here. 

We made it all the way round the walls and decided to grab some lunch.  We just got some bread, cheese, and meat with some soft drinks. The cheese was delicious while we planned our next move, we decided to do a boat trip but to save money we jumped on one of the many glass bottom boat trips advertised by the marina. 

We got one and set off leaving the pier behind us the boat followed the walls around, giving us a different perspective of Dubrovnik. 

We then looped round and some how got in a race with another boat towards the big island just off the coast. Lokrum island is a popular day trip and you can take a ferry over from Dubrovnik. 

We could see flashes of marine life as we went in and out of deeper and shallower water. 

The boat then went along the side of Lokrum island, investigating caves and little inlets along the way. Once round the island we went along the coast back towards Dubrovnik, going past more fortifications and some nice looking beaches that we took note of for later. 

The whole trip was around 45 minutes and cost 10Euro. Definitely worth it especially as we were only here for the day.

From the Marina we decided to head to one of the nearby beaches, so exiting the city once again we took a quick 5 minute stroll to the pebbly beach just south of the walls. 

We took a dip in the sea which was still pretty cold but a nice cold refreshment after trekking about for hours.  Then Sarah did some pebble and shell collecting as I lazed and read a book on kindle app. It started to cool down as evening began so we packed up our stuff and went back to the city. It was nice to have another couple of hours on the beach as we would be heading inland to Bosnia the next day. 

We took a long walk round to the hotel passing some random statues and buildings along the way before settling down for half an hour to decide where to eat. I used foursquare and it recommended a place called Barba.

It’s a trendy little place on the east side of the city just up from the main thoroughfare. We ordered an octopus burger and a shrimp salad to share. The salad was good and tasted fresh but the burger was to die for! Really meaty with a slight seaside taste to it, I think we could have both eaten one each. 

The cool thing about the place is the pens with which you can design a wooden fork to go on the wall there. This was my Wales/home town inspired masterpiece. 

While we were messing about with these the waitress brought us over a complementary oyster each! I think it was the nicest oyster I’ve had, though I still think they just taste of the sea. 

We had a couple more beers in a nearby irish pub that seemed to be the only place really open, but they were pretty pricey. After that we found a little place doing crepes! So we got dessert and demolished them before we got to the hotel. Once tucked up in bed we made our plans for the next day….our only obligation was a bus at 4pm for Mostar in Bosnia. 

Hurrying through Herceg Novi

We got the same taxi driver in the morning to the airport only this time it was her husband, he offered us all sweets and gave me a packet of pretzel sticks.

He dropped us off and the others went in to departures, I hung about for Sarah to arrive and our taxi driver was there waiting for the horde of Brits to arrive and require taxis. After a weird conversation with him and then his wife on the phone, we managed to understand each other enough to organise a taxi to Herceg Novi for around 40E. As there were no buses for ages this seemed like the best bet. 

I met Sarah off the flight, relieved that she had finally made it and we waited for Nickola to get the car, we caught up on the way, enjoying the scenery and the ferry. Arriving at Herceg Novi we bade farewell to our driver. He had been so nice to us and even with limited communication had really tried and succeeded in being helpful. Something we noticed all people from the Balkans would be like. 

Herceg Novi is another coastal town in Montenegro with fortified walls surrounding the town.  It was a bit of a rush visit as we were continuing on to Dubrovnik from here but we had a few hours to sight-see. 

We had a wander round the town, aiming to head towards the coast and find somewhere to eat. We walked through the old gate and down some steps and came upon the main part of the fortifications. 

We walked past an impressive looking church and down to the sea, here there were lots of people wandering up and down a promenade with lots of restaurants lining it. We stopped off at a pizza place and had super cheap pizza in a place called popeye’s. 

After our food we wandered up the promenade past beaches and big concrete expanses which I’m not quite sure what purpose they had. After walking for a while we decided to stop and sit on some rocks looking out over the gorgeous scenery and look for fish, crabs etc 

After sunning ourselves for a bit we wandered for a bit longer but it began to turn into resort type hotels so we turned back, grabbed some ice cream and sat on the beach enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. Since we had walked one direction already we decided to head off into the opposite direction. Here we discovered loads of old ruins and parts of the walls that had slipped into the sea. 

It was really cool and we loved exploring the old ruins, the rest of the promenade looked uninteresting in that direction so we wandered back up the steps….after lugging our backpacks in the hot sun we needed a drink so we stopped at a little place on the way back up to the main road and got a beer and some water. 

Timing was perfect so we relaxed for an hour then finished the journey back to the main rd, bought our bus tickets and then stood anxiously waiting for the bus. I had a feeling it would be late but it was always in the back of our mind that it was one of the many buses that had sped past or wasn’t going to turn up. 40 minutes later it turned up and we had a nice journey, saying goodbye to Montenegro, a gorgeous country with dramatic vistas that i would definitely go back too. 

Border control took a while, and it was weird to see how they treated the Albanian and Turkish guys on the bus. After a bit of a nap we emerged from the mountains with the coast in front of us and Dubrovnik was round the corner. It had taken us around 2/3 hours on the bus and we were finally there! 

Unfortunately the bus sped past the old town and another 5-10 minutes later we were at the bus station. Luckily it was easy to grab a taxi for 10E. Dubrovnik is such an incredibly beautiful place, lots of pristine white walls and passages, the floor stones shine from the use they’ve had. 

Our accommodation was based right at the top of the walled town, easy to find as we just headed up the steps, downside was having to go up and down those steps everytime. Though it was good for our calorie count! Our lovely little Croatian host at Kazerma hotel showed us to the room, which was basic but clean and the shower was great. It was also very cheap…and lucky for us it was also right by Buza bar…a well rated place to watch the sunset from. 

We managed to bag ourselves a seat looking right over the coast, ordered a couple of beers and sat watching swallows dip and glide around us. It’s amazing to sit there and watch the horizon change colours and see boats trundle past. 

Once the sun had gone down it was getting cold so we nipped back to the room to grab some warmer clothes and descended into the city. There are a few nice looking churches dotted around the place but I think that the whole of it is really pretty, we were on the lookout for food and discovered that by going out of the walls and onto the marina, we saved a tonne. 

We stopped off at this little place that did a fish platter and grabbed a couple of beers while we waited. 

It was a lovely setting and the food was ace, huge prawns, swordfish, mackerel, squid and mussels. It all tasted delicious although the whole baby squids were a little difficult to navigate without just throwing the whole thing down your neck (which is what you’re probably meant to do). 

Once we had finished every last bit off we walked around the marina which was nice and we continued to wander round the city, going back through one of the gates. 

We were knackered from the busy day and decided to go back to the hotel ready to see as much of Dubrovnik as possible the next day.