Monday 21st May 2018
It’s boiling hot today at Camping Kate in Mlini, Dubrovnik, the BBC weather says is 28° but it feels likes 31° , it’s humid and there is not much breeze, we’re keen to go into Dubrovnik but we decide to sit on camp in the shade and go in to the city this evening, we’ll need to go more than once so this will give us a chance to work out what we want to see, we blogged and researched for a couple of hours, I did a bit of clothes washing in the sinks at the shower block and we had a lunch of fruit, pears, oranges, apples and bananas, we’re really enjoying the oranges especially! So sweet.
Once it had cooled down we caught the No.10 bus at 5 pm into Dubrovnik old town, the bus stopped 100 metres from camp £2 each way per person and they run every 30 mins or so, the drive was fast and around the mountain edge with a couple of hairpin bends thrown in, not that the driver noticed these, we don’t think he changed gear, my knuckles were a bit white! And they’ve only just turned brown.
Once we were off the bus we went down a little staircase and asked for directions at a little tour operator kiosk as it wasn’t immediately obvious which way to go, they spoke excellent English and told us to walk downhill and we would soon see sets of steps and to take any set downhill, all stairs lead to the old city! We counted 370 on the way down, glad we waited until it was cool, going down is fine it’s coming back after drinks that might do me in!
Dave agreed it was a good decision to come in the evening and explore whilst it’s cool, we walked through the Pile Gate, the arch way into the old city and directly into Stradun, this large rectangular space surrounded by wells, churches, convents, museums, shops, restaurants was the scene in 1991 on 6th December of the worst day of the Homeland War for the city of Dubrovnik, the Serbs decided that the Croatians would capitulate if their UNESCO city was battered , it was basically a bribe, give in or we will destroy your heritage, well 2,000 shells rained down that day destroying a lot of the old city buildings and walkways, 824 buildings were damaged or hit. Walking around you would never know the destruction that had gone before.
The city is amazing, the marble/stone pavements are so clean considering the many visitors, it’s quite busy this evening, maybe everybody has the same idea as us as the bus was pretty packed? we walked to the harbourside noting the cruise liners anchored out in the bay with little boats bringing back their inhabitants into the city. From the centre Stradun on each side every few metres there would be an entrance to a narrow street creeping forever upwards, lined every ascending inch with a bar or restaurant, up one of these streets we climbed onto 1, 2 and 3 terraces and each one of the layers was also packed with restaurants.
I overheard a guide telling her group that the city relies almost 100% on tourism, the war knocked out the industry and most people have two jobs in summer to save for the quieter months, many renting out their own homes to tourists and living with family so that they can maximise their income, the average salary being €800 per month, the people working in the best hotels earning more from rich guests who hopefully leave good tips. Wandering up and down through and around for a couple of hours and stopping for a drink, we haven’t been out into the late evening for the last 8 weeks and it’s nice to find a bar with good music in English and nice and loud just how Dave likes it!
This bar has a Gin menu and proper big Gin glasses, mmmmm not had one of those since UK soil, I chose Gordons (cheaper) pink pepper corns, pink grapefruit, basil and I forgot to add fruit, it was full of ice and I loved it! Drinking it slowly as it was expensive! 84kn (€11, £9.95) blimey it is Dubrovnik I suppose, I’ll only be having one, afterwards we walk a little more and decide to find a snack bar, no chance of eating in the restaurants, don’t want to even look at the prices, we see a takeaway sandwich, kebab, pizza place, we share a chicken kebab with feta and salad which came in a tortilla and a box of fries, it was delicious and we managed to get a little table inside, 1 of 2 and surprisingly no one was sat at them, the shop was pretty busy too!
We decide we have seen enough for tonight and don’t want to spend any more money, so we set off for the bus and those 370 steps back up to it, that should get rid of a few kebab calories!
We sat on the steps of the “onion well” near a church hoping to hear a classical concert that was about to start, we waited for it commence and then the doors were closed and we couldn’t hear a thing! Never mind.
The onion well has been the source of drinking water for centuries and the locals used it once again during the siege of 1991.
At the bus stop we meet a young couple from Stafford who were asking if we know which bus was back to Mlini, yes we do!, they are staying nearby to our campsite, the young girl is checking via GPS whilst we were on the bus to know when to get off, we’re glad she spoke to us as its pitch black on this mountainside road and we cant see where our stop is, luckily we’re all getting off at the same place, so we helped each other out in the end. Tomorrow we’ll explore further.
Cathy x x