Typical view within Dubrovnik's Old Town walls.
Being no stranger to countries which collectively constitute the Balkan region, a trip to Croatia was as long overdue as just about any destination worth a fair portion of your time, attention and savings, and a flight to the walled city of Dubrovnik
constituted the first leg of this trip. As is customary on my 2-week trips, this was to be a multi-stage trip which took in the sights and sounds of the region, and upon arrival, an instant open-arms style welcome was provided by the friendly guest house owner Milo at the Villa Klaic, which offers great city views, but is most suitable for those willing to go up and down many steps in order to reach the tourist areas, and back. Dubrovnik itself suffered damage on some scale during the conflict of the 1990's, but today looks in fine tourist-magnet shape, and comes at a price tag which may take one or two lesser-informed tourists aback.
On the subject of those 'traces of Venice' I mentioned....
A must-do activity for any visitor to Dubrovnik is the city walls tour which takes a minimum of one hour, and offers great views, both of the wall-enclosed Old Town, and also of the islands and ocean surrounding that urban enclave. The first impression which sprang to mind as I worked my way along those walls, and through the town's back streets, is of a less jumbled and expansive Venice, of sorts, with terracotta roofs being a predominant feature. Dubrovnik is compact enough for a visitor to conduct a flash 1-day tour of, but I was assured that there is far more to the city than meets the eye if you linger for a longer period, and get around the city in finer detail. It is also a perfect base from which to go on a 1-day excursion to the Elafiti islands, which provided an excellent way of seeing the surrounding ocean and islands of Kolocep
, Sipan and Lopud, each of which provided a pleasant experience, and a means of experiencing all the natural and man-made elements that each tiny island had to offer.
Picturesque town of Mostar in Herzegovina and landmark bridge.
Another easily-achievable day trip from Dubrovnik is an excursion to Mostar, the capital of the state of Herzegovina, which has visible traces of a war-torn past, as well as pristine and alluring elements which made for an eye-opening day out in a country relatively unknown to the outside world. Working my way around the museums, structures, shopping and dining areas of the town revealed a pleasant and enduring imagery which has since become etched on my mind, in addition to the more photogenic landmarks of the city which I was all too eagar to photograph. All in all, for the first leg of this tour, it felt like I had become well-established, and was beginning to gain a flavour for the treasures which I was in the process of unearthing along the way, and as I caught a bus bound for Budva in Montenegro the following day, albeit in rainy conditions, memories of Dubrovnik felt like another vital piece of the travel jigsaw had been quite neatly put in place.