The next morning it was raining – heavily. I walked into town again, and got very wet even with an umbrella. There were some impressive mini rivers flowing down the roads. When I actually made it into the old town the limestone on the ground by Pile Gate and Stradun was very slippery due to the rain, and I nearly went flying a couple of times.
I had intended to get the cable cars up to Mount Srd but due to the wet and windy weather they weren’t running. I was told they might start them later, and was advised to keep an eye out for them starting.
So, instead I had another walk around the old town. I headed to the old harbour which was very pretty. I also went to the Dominican Monastery, which was much like the Fransican Monastery – with cloisters, peaceful, nice central garden, and another museum/display area with artwork and a brief history.
After that, I went to the Rectors Palace, which was a government house with offices for the officials. These days it houses a museum about Dubrovnik and a history of the town and some of it’s famous residents.
As I write this over 6 months have passed since this holiday, so some of my memories have faded. And one of them is where exactly I saw an exhibition of photos of life in Dubrovnik during the siege of 1991-1992. However, I think it was here at Rector’s Palace.
Wherever I saw it, I am glad I saw it. Some of the photos are heartbreaking and sobering. To see photos of places I was walking around that day in wartime – debris in the roads, empty of people, burnt out cars and houses – was thought provoking. The people of Dubrovnik have done a great job of rebuilding their town. In other parts of Croatia, later on in the trip we saw buildings that still have bullet holes in the walls.
After that I was finally able to go up the cable cars to Mount Srd. They must have only just opened them, as it was fairly quiet when I arrived – it was definitely busier by the time I left. The view from up there is amazing! You can see the whole of the old city, surrounded by the city walls, and then the ocean beyond. In the opposite direction is the open countryside and more hills.
The cable cars had only fairly recently re-opened as a tourist attraction. During the siege they were hit by shells and closed. My parents lent me guide book which states they are still closed. There was a museum up there about the siege which I would have liked to have seen but I didn’t have time. Instead I had to return to the hotel for the orientation meeting for the trip.
The first person I met was Karen, from Canada, who asked me if I was one of the newbies? I wasnt’t sure how to answer that. Newbie? It turns out my trip was the second half of a much longer trip. Some people were leaving in Dubrovnik, and there were 6 newbies joining the group including myself. I met 3 of them then – Ben also English and also travelling alone, and 2 older Australian ladies whose names I have now forgotten. I also met Louise, the tour leader who went through the paperwork with us.
After that we went out for dinner, to an Italian near the hotel. The food was pretty good, and it was a good opportunity to meet some of the group. It seemed like a good bunch of people. In time I would learn most of them were from either Australia or New Zealand, and mostly older. I wasn’t the youngest – Kayla was the baby at 22, but I was definitely part of the younger crowd. Also, a number of us worked in the medical professions – several nurses, and one doctor. At some point that evening I also met my roommate Kayla. After that it was back to the hotel and to bed for me – we had an early start in the morning.