City of Walls – Dubrovnik, Croatia

Picture a coastline with mountains. That’s the Dalmation Coast and home to our first stop on the cruise – Dubrovnik.

When I toured it back in 1985, it was part of the now-defunct Yugoslavia. I was so taken with the area that I did a large college project on Yugoslavia in my International Business class. However, the Croatian War of Independence began in the early 1990’s and I feared that Dubrovnik as I knew it was gone forever. Nobody expected this UNESCO World Heritage Site to be shelled — but it was.

My husband took a walking tour of the city walls. They are so thick that for 20 Euros, you can walk all the way around the city on top of them. It took him about 90 minutes and he said it was worth every minute of it! Below are pictures he took on top of the city walls.

We booked a private tour and met our guide, Bojhadar at the Pile Gate. Immediately, we transcended to a different era. The pedestrian-only area reminded me of Venice with nooks, crannies and alleyways. The only difference was everything was white – kind of a marble material. The main street is called the Stradun. It is wide from it streets go uphill on both sides. Bo gave us a history of the country started way back to the time of the Ragusas. He walked us past a church where Game of Thrones had been filmed and then to the other side of the Old Town farthest from the Pile Gate at the waterfront. We could see St. John’s Fortress and the marina.

 

Bo mentioned that if you ask where locals eat, the answer is nowhere. There are no locals in Old Town anymore. People who lived here have now rented out the bottom floor for restaurants and the top floors for hotels or b&B’s. Tourism is their major industry. As we walked, I saw people rolling suitcases along the limestone streets. If I thought Venice was hard, this would be super hard to navigate a suitcase!

The other thing was that the streets were slick in places. Bo explained that because so many people walk on the streets every day, they get worn down and slick. Every once in a while, I saw a plaque that showed a picture of what the area looked like when shelled. I had to ask Bo about his story. After the tour concluded, he shared with us what happened to him in 1991.

 

Bo told us he was 10 years old when war broke out. One day, a military aircraft flew overhead. Since they didn’t have any military aircraft, it had to be from the enemy. The next day, school was closed and shortly thereafter the shelling began. They had no power or water. Many would go to the Onofrio fountain to get water. At home, Bo had a 10-month old brother. there were no diapers, no formula. The mom would leave bo at home with the baby brother while she went to get water. Sometimes, the shelling started when she was gone and he was afraid she wouldn’t come home. She did. They finally decided to flee and he said living as a refugee for six months was awful. “I can’t describe it, but it was the worst thing ever.” In fact, things were so bad, they returned to their home in Dubrovnik before the siege was completely over. Everyone from his family was okay, but his grandmother’s house in the country was raided and burned to the ground.

After the tour, we had a quick snack and headed back to our ship.

 

 

 

 


Europe Itinerary – 14 Days and 8 Countries

It was a very ambitious itinerary and I’m happy to say we did it all! The cruise encompassed days 4-11. Detailed posts and pictures soon to follow!

 

14 Days in Europe 

 

Day 1: Arrive in Klagenfurt, Austria

Flight into Venice via Amsterdam, rental car to Klagenfurt, Austria

 

Day 2: Day Trip to Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Poertschach au Worthersee, Austria

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Dinner Klagenfurt

 

Day 3: Drive to Venice

Explore Klagenfurt

Gorizia, Italy

Arrive Venice

Grand Canal Tour

St. Mark’s Square

 

Day 4: Venice and Cruise Embarkation

Frari Church

Embark on Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas

 

Day 5: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Walk the City Walls

Private Tour of Old Town

 

Day 6: Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor

Hike to St. John’s Fortress

Tour of Old Town Kotor

 

Day 7: Day at Sea

Relax!

 

Day 8: Mykonos, Greece

Platis Giolos Beach

Mykonos Town

 

Day 9: Katakolon, Greece

Ancient Olympia

Kremasti Monastery

 

Day 10: Day at Sea

Relax!

 

Day 11: Cruise Debarkation in Venice, Drive to Tuscanny, Cinque-Terre & Genoa

Lucca, Tuscanny, Italy

St. Martin’s Cathedral, Bell Tower and museum

Bike the city walls

Riomaggiore, Cinque-Terre, Italy

Manarola, Cinque-Terre, Italy

Genoa, Italy

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

Day 12: Day Trip to Cinque Terre, Italy

Explore Genoa Old Port area near hotel

Park in Levanto for all-day train pass to Cinque Terre

lunch in Corniglia

Hike to Vernazza from Corniglia

Train ride to Monterrosso al Mer

Dinner in Portofino, Italy

 

Eze, France

Day 13 – Day Trip to French Rivera

Eze, France – Old City, lunch and Exotic Gardens

Drive through Monaco

St. Jean Cap-Ferrat – promenade walk

Nice, France – promenade des Anglais, Old town

Genoa, Italy – late (10 pm) dinner

 

Day 14 – Lake Como, Italy

Verenna, Lake Como, Italy – lunch

Ferry to Belagio, Lake Como, Italy

Mestre (mainland Venice) – dinner and hotel

 

 

Day 15 – Flight Home