Monday in rainy Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Travel Blog

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sunrise

Sunrise over the Adriatic Sea is spectacular and proves to be the best weather of the day.  By the time we’ve had breakfast, its raining and it continues to rain for the rest of the day.  All that lovely creamy marble in Dubrovnik proves to be very slippery when wet.  I’ve worn rubber soled shoes and I’m still sliding around on the steps in town.  No more cute sandals, I’m going to be wearing the Green Monsters, my shoes with the best traction.

 

We have a morning tour through the city given by Lukka, a local guide.  Dino, our program manager, is from Dubrovnik too so we get a double look at city history.  This includes a brief description of the War of 1991.   (In Zagreb, the guide called it the Patriotic War.)  When Croatia separated/succeeded from Yugoslavia, the State Army, which was mostly Serbian, shelled the town of Dubrovnik and occupied the outskirts.  Montenegro invaded from the south, mostly as a looting mob.

flamingos shopping in Dubrovnik
  The town of Dubrovnik itself was kept in Croatian hands.  If you are interested in the war, there are three museums in town devoted to photographs of the war.

 

Dubrovnik has been through war many times in its history.  That’s why it has such a strong system of city walls and the drawbridges are still in place.  By the Pile Gate you can see the weights hanging by the gate: I’m guessing it’s still functional just in case it’s needed again.


The main street is level but the side streets are more stairs than streets.  The tour group skids and slides along behind the guides and thankfully, nobody falls.  And even in the rain, laundry is hanging out to dry.  There don’t seem to be clothes dryers in Poland, Slovakia or Croatia.  I’m not sure about Hungary since all we saw was Budapest and they weren’t drying laundry outdoors there anywhere I could see. (Our apartment in Budapest had a washer and no dryer but that may not have been typical.) However in Croatia, drying laundry festoons every balcony.

laundry is always dried outdoors
 


After the tour, we’re on our own and it’s much too wet to walk the city walls.  Since it’s Monday most of the museums are closed.  We settle on the Aquarium, which is near the main harbor, and strangely enough is the driest thing we can visit.  We wander around looking at the various types of local grouper and bream, all of whom seem fascinated by us and stare back.


Tonight we have one of the highlights of the trip, the home-hosted dinner.  (The tour group is broken up into sub groups of eight or ten and each subgroup has dinner in the home of a local family.)  The families live in a small village north of Dubrovnik, it may have been Ljubac, and produce most of their own food. 


Our host is Nicol, and his daughter, Nicolina, speaks English and translates so her parents and the tour group can communicate.   We see where they are making wine from their own grapes, curing hams from their own piglet, and we even get to meet Stella the cow who is the source for much of the cheese made by the family.  Dinner begins with the obligatory shot of moonshine/grappa that seems to appear with disturbing regularity before any meal but breakfast.  It is made by everybody (even a priest we met later had a still near his house) and must be flammable, it’s so strong.  Some grappa is flavored with walnuts, spices or lemon, but my taste buds close down after the first sip.

Dubrovnik aquarium
  By the way, drinking the first shot seems to be mandatory to avoid offending your hosts.   The second shot almost as much so.


Between the grappa, the homemade wine, the good food, and our hosts hospitality, the language barriers are overcome.  We all have a very good time before we get back on the bus to go back to the Excelsior Hotel.

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sunrise
sunrise
flamingos shopping in Dubrovnik
flamingos shopping in Dubrovnik
laundry is always dried outdoors
laundry is always dried outdoors
Dubrovnik aquarium
Dubrovnik aquarium
our Dubrovnik guide Lukka
our Dubrovnik guide Lukka
Dubrovnik
photo by: benwielenga