Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mediterranean Vacation { Dubrovnik, Croatia }

Today we near the end of the cruise - our last port of call was Dubrovnik, Croatia.  This ended up being one of our favorites - I mentioned before that we booked this particular route because it took us to a couple locations in Turkey, the Croatia stop was like a bonus.  We'd done some research on Dubrovnik (mostly because it was where some of Game of Thrones was filmed - yes, super-geeks!) and hoped it would live up to our expectations.
The day was clear and cool - we really lucked out with weather on the cruise.  Ours was one of the last tender boats to dock, so we didn't have time to do the city walls tour, and maybe that was for the best, because we were free to wander the alleyways and make our day what we wanted it to be.  The main street in Dubrovnik we found a little tourist-trap-y, but the whole place was so wonderfully maintained one really didn't mind.

Croatia really felt like something out of a fairytale.  The sparkling blue skies, cool green islands, charming modern bridge...and it was our crew's last port before they ended their 6-month tour.  Six long months of straight 12 hour days, doing the exact same itinerary.  Everybody - I mean EVERYBODY was in a fantastic mood.  

We started by walking through all the tourist-y parts (I made mental notes of all the shops I wanted to hit up on the way back) and ended up outside the walls near the working harbor.  I'm not sure why I am standing like I'm ready to do jumping jacks...maybe I wanted to be sure I didn't fall in.  Which, let's be honest, is something I would totally do.

We walked up a long set of stairs near the cathedral and at the top found a lovely man selling embroidered lavender sachets (I bought one, of course) and a mysterious sign: "Cold drinks with the most amazing view".  Always a little skeptical of establishments that so blatantly advertise their wares, we figured we needed to check it out.  I mean, really, the whole place was amazing, how good could this place be? 

Yeah.  Okay.  It's a win for the little yellow sign.  Settled in a white wicker chair at a little cliff-side bar, we ordered ourselves a couple bottles of the best-selling beer in Croatia (it was okay) and relaxed.

It was one of those times in life where you are completely aware that you made the Right Choice.  We watched the sunset, had a lovely conversation with an English couple at the table next to us, drank more beer, watched more sunset, took goofy pictures of each other, and then - I shit you not - a pod of dolphins jumped out of the water and swam right under our noses. 

After that, we figured the rest of our day would be anti-climactic.  I mean...dolphins?!  You have got to be kidding me.  

But Dubrovnik by night was just as enchanting.  We shopped our way back (well, I did - Michael stood by the door and kept me on doesn't want to be late for the ship). We took the long way around and poked through the side streets.  We heard loud bangs and singing and came upon a wedding at the cathedral. (I think Americans are missing the boat on the smoke-bomb/rowdy singing/champagne-spraying church exits.  Rice?  Birdseed?  Eco-fetti?  LAME.)

This shop - Aqua - was my favorite - such Cute things!   I would have bought out the whole store if Michael hadn't dragged me away. 

 And we made it back to the ship with minutes to spare. Goodnight, Dubrovnik! You made it to our Go Back For Sure list!

all photos, mine

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