Tuesday Sept 30, 2014

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nestled between the rocky hills of Croatia and the deep blue of the sea, Dubrovnik is the jewel of the Dalmatian coast. Girded in 9th-century walls that drop sheer to the water’s edge, it’s one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe – and, miraculously, it escaped serious damage in the violent 1991 civil war that clobbered this region (part of what used to be called Yugoslavia).

Known in earlier centuries as Ragusa, Dubrovnik grew through the Middle Ages and beyond to become a thriving city-state with a merchant navy second only to Venice in that region. The old city, laid out within the ancient fortifications, is compact and easily walkable – which is what a lot of our Kiwi mad-midlifers did later today! But, first, we took a coach-ride along edge-of-cliff roads to the picturesque seaside town of Cavtat on the beautiful Riviera, where we wandered along the palm-lined promenade taking far too many photographs. Then, back in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, we enjoyed local refreshments and a cultural performance — including costumes, songs and dances (accompanied on ancient stringed instruments plus a goat-skin bagpipe) from various Croatian provinces.

Finally, starting in the Stradun (the broad limestone main street), we were free to explore the labyrinth of narrow medieval alleyways … tackle a one-and-a-half-hour hike around the six-metre-thick walls … drink in the views of untold orange roofs, the old harbour, and the stunning Adriatic … shop till we dropped … or just sit in a taverna, order more caffe, and watch the world go by.

Another wonderful day? You gotta believe it!

PEOPLE NEWS: Two more Yellow Duckies have quack-quack-quacked their way out into eager, waiting hands:

  • Adrienne A picked up the ‘Technically-Challenged Award’ – for a minor faux-pas on the coach yesterday. Our guide had handed out ‘whisper’ headsets (little radio-gadgets that make it easy for us to hear what the guide is saying) and, holding the tiny headset ‘bud’ in her hand, Adrienne enquired of everyone in general, “Does this go in one ear or two?” (You had to be there …)
  • Glenda scored big with our ‘Selling-Herself-Too-Cheap Award’ – for a revealing moment in Corfu. When paying for a souvenir photo Glenda realised she didn’t have enough change, but the old guy in the photo-booth didn’t mind. He took what change she had and asked for a kiss to cover the shortfall – which Glenda promptly supplied. Her husband was heard to mutter something about wanting a discount …

TOMORROW: Phew! It was just a couple of days ago that we were in Italy. Then Sicily (albeit briefly). Then the Greek Isles (yesterday) and, today, Croatia. And tomorrow? Montenegro! (We’re gonna have to come home for a holiday!)

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your ‘COMMENTS’! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And if you want to receive future blogs hot-off-the-press in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription!