A few years ago, in August 2013, I went on a trip to the Balkans, to Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary. I blogged about it on Travelpod, which is another blogging site. Well, Travelpod is about to close down and I’ve transferred that blog to here. It was written daily, although some months after the trip.
The trip started in Dubrovnik, a town I had long wanted to see, so I was slightly excited to finally be there. My grandparents had a few holidays there, in the days before Croatia gained its independence, when it was still part of Yugoslavia, and I had been wanted to go for years. After checking into the somewhat dodgy hotel – organised by the tour company, but at least I’d been warned about this by Tripadvisor, I’d have been disappointed if not, I walked into Dubrovnik, which was a bit of a trek but do-able. At least the view as I got to the coastline was worth the effort.
I entered the old town via Pile Gate, and my first stop was the city walls walk. It was at times quite hard going, mostly because it was so hot and there is little shade up there. The views were impressive though and worth the effort, whether out across the sea and rocks, or across the old town, with its red roof tiles and the views of the sights of the old town such as Stradun, the main street, Onofrio’s large fountain. There were also some nice views of the old harbour from the city walls.
After I came down from the walls, I had a wander around the old city. My first stop was the Fransiscan Monastery, after ice cream by Onofrio’s large fountain. The monastery was lovely, if somewhat small. It was very peaceful in there. The cloisters were lovely, as was the semi-formal garden in the central area. There is also a pharmacy there, which was established in 1317 and still in business. In addition to this, there’s a museum with old manuscripts and items from the apothecary.
After that I headed out to Stradun, which is the main street. It seems to be aimed at tourists – lots of ice cream counters, lots of booths selling pizza slices, and lots of gift shops. There’s lots of small narrow streets leading off Stradun, leading to more small streets and alleyways – all with more restaurants and booths selling food and ice-cream and touristy gifts. I’d be surprised if the locals do much shopping here! I saw more of the sights, such as the Bell Tower, Onofrio’s little fountain, St Blaise’s Church, the cathedral and Sponza Palace. I then had some dinner – a mediocre chicken dish at what I suspect was a tourist restaurant, before heading back to the hotel with a banging headache.