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Dubrovnik from the walls

Today was Dubrovnik, a place we’ve never been to either on a cruise or otherwise. I’d done my usual research and decided that we would get into the old town as early as possible and walk the walls. I’d even got some croatian currency from Marks & Spencers! – 500 Croatian Kuna, which cost about £63 or so.

We sailed in between 7:30 and 8 o’clock and docked in the port a few miles away from the old town. It was sunny and promised to be warm during the day. There was a shuttle bus (free) between the dock and the old town, and we were on one of the first to run. The drop-off point in the city was by the Pile gate, and after a few minutes to orient ourselves we entered the old town and found the ticket office. Tickets cost 70 Kuna each, a little more that I’d read. Also, the ticket office was only accepting payment in Kuna, or by credit/debit card – they were specifically not taking Euros. (This didn’t surprise me much – in Istanbul we’d found that ‘official’ sites e.g. Topkapi palace, required local currency, and I’d been half-expecting something similar here.) After a slight confusion looking for the entrance to the walls (which is on the other side of Pile Gate from the ticket office) we climbed the steps and arrived at the top at about 09:10.

Dubrovnik - the walls and the town

So then we just walked, loving every minute of it. I know millions of people have already said it, but this is a truly spectacular place. Because we were early there weren’t many people up there so we were able to walk quite slowly and take our time. This was just as well because even that early it was getting warm.

We detoured into the Maritime museum for 45 minutes when we reached the harbour (that cost 40 Kuna each), and in addition to being interesting (I had never really heard of the Republic of Ragusa until today) it was also shaded and cool. Then we went back out onto the walls which were now more crowded and hotter and we completed the circuit, including the ascent to the Minceta fort. All in all it was a fantastic experience that we really enjoyed. We came down at about 11:40 or so, so it took us about two and a half hours, including the visit to the Maritime museum. By the time we returned to the Pile gate it was definitely getting crowded, and there was quite a crush at that point: it seems that in part at least the ascent and descent is via the same staircase. One other thing – there is a one-way system round the walls in a counter-clockwise direction. I mention this because my guide book (“DK Top 10 Dubrovnik & Dalmatian Coast”) describes the circuit in the opposite direction, so I wonder if they reverse it occasionally.

Part of Dubrovnik harbour

After completing the circuit we walked along the main street, Stradun, down the harbour – we found this walk quite hot and unpleasant. But it was cool round the harbour, we found some ice-cream, and enjoyed the view of several ships, including a Costa ship, just off the harbour. Then we walked back into the old town but this time used the side streets. I’d have liked to have explored places like the Rector’s Palace but we were hungry and thirsty, so we found a small restaurant in a side street and had lunch. The bill for this was 209 Kuna, but the restaurant was happy to take €30. After that we decided that we were too tired to really enjoy anything else so we went looking for the shuttle bus, and after a slightly stressful time queuing – there was also a big MSC ship in port that had docked during the morning – we got back to Ventura just after 2 o’clock. Copious cups of tea followed!

The Great British Sailaway took place at about 4:30 or so, but we were back at the Terrace Bar enjoying a glass each of white wine. Looking out over the stern just reinforced the point that the Dalmation coast is really beautiful.

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