Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, Croatia is one of the jewels of the Adriatic. It's quaint and charming nature made us always want to visit, so that's just what we did over the holiday.

As my Italian friend Andrea said, he thought of it as 'a daughter of Venice'. That may be true if the canals are replaced with steps, because this is clearly a city of stairways. We kept discussing how difficult it would be to navigate the city with heavy luggage, children, wheelchairs, or injuries.

We rented an apartment through Airbnb, which was really nice. It always makes traveling feel less touristy and they have an extensive list of incredible properties. People can even list their own homes or spare rooms, too. If you'd like a $25 discount towards an Airbnb stay just leave your email in the comments or click the envelope on the right and I will send you one.

The good news is after trekking up and down the stairs all day there was an extra excuse to eat gelato - as if we needed one. We loved the gelato at Poklisar right near the harbor. They had one called Extra Black, which I think Stefan may have eaten every single day.

The old town is very simple to navigate and where we spent most of our time. At the harbor we'd watch the fish in the crystal clear water and fishermen would come in with their catches, occasionally even selling them to people waiting nearby.

Since it was Easter time the markets were bustling and there were Catholic processions through the city. My favorite details were the tiny candles that were lit all around the Old Town and the gorgeously decorated Easter eggs. On our flight over I read they give them their shiny luster with bacon grease.

The biggest tourist site is probably walking to the walls of the Old Town, which was made even more incredible by thick fog that swept through and added a bit of mysteriousness.

From above it's easier to see the marks of damage from both war and the earthquake that ravaged the city. At one of the gates there was even a sign showing where the city had been hit.

There is remaining damage along the Stradun. Pits and pock marks litter the marble ground.

It really made it clear at how Serbo-Montenegrian Army forces were relentless. There is a disheartening first hand account and video of the attacks here.

Many of the bright red terra cotta roof tops are rather new due to the attacks.

Fortunately the city was able to repair itself and rebuild rather quickly. Local lore challenges young men to stand on this owl spout facing the wall on one foot and take off their shirt for luck in love.

The city is romantic enough without the comical challenges. The light shines over the historical streets and Adriatic in such a magical way.

Italian influence can also be seen in the Baroque architecture, such as in the St. Blaise church where Pope John Paul II once celebrated Mass.

Dubrovnik is also a hot spot for cruise ship stop offs, although once the throngs of people leave for the evening it's very mellow and a great time to walk the wall or shop in peace.

This cute little pup had just come in from a day on the boat with his Dad. Another sweet one in town was Uje, a beautiful shop with local products. I especially liked their lemon olive oil in simple olive shaped bottles.

Doviđenja, Dubrovnik - until next time!

2 comments:

Chelsea Art Designs said...

Hi Emily.
,,,your blog is sheer delight, very engaging, informative, the photos are yummy and your writing style is on point. i will pop by again soon. safe travels.

ps..My husband and I are moving to germany in few months with our little girls...wish us luck.
Chelsea
london

chelseaartdesigns.blogspot.com

Emily said...

Thanks, Chelsea!

German cities are quite a bit more quaint than London, but hopefully you won't be disappointed! It's also nice that it's not too far, so you can always get back to visit.

Good Luck! I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences.