Perhaps for some having an iphone tethered to them is living the life of dreams…
My phone is off. I went back to the room to collect my fancy digital SLR camera when I discovered the incredible view from the beach level of the hotel. When the hotel elevator has a “beach level” button you know you are not in Kansas.
I am at the Hotel Excelsior in Dubrovnik, Croatia, having eaten a delicious octopus amuse-bûche, waiting for the rest of my seafood, including a Dubrovnik specialty called Buzarañe. Had Dorothy ended up here instead of Oz, no doubt she would be dancing at night in her red shoes after spending the day barefoot on the beach and carefully making sure she didn’t click her heels because this place is so much better than Kansas 🙂
Like many of my travel adventures, my arrival in Dubrovnik was inspired by random chance and I have been dreaming of this city for over a decade.
The walled city is a UNESCO world heritage site and I have known about Dubrovnik for a long time, possibly even before Maria. But it was Maria’s enthusiasm that added it to my travel list.
This was back in 1988. No doubt an ideal time for a visit but I didn’t have vacation time, let alone funds, back then. Maria’s family was from Yugoslavia so she described in rapturous detail this jewel of the Adriatic.
Of course, soon after Dubrovnik became a place associated with land mines rather than tourists. Maria’s
inspiration held though. It made me more aware of the war – and also the post-war renaissance.
Getting to Dubrovnik is not super slick though. It’s not difficult – but not a quick train ride or direct flight from most of Europe. Partly it’s the geography. Mountains, water and forest make for spectacular scenery – but obstacles to transportation routes.
But you should persevere and get to this part of the world. You can take a ship from Italy if you are blessed with free time but if you need to get in faster, you will arrive by air like most of the tourists who make their way to this remote corner of Europe.
There are lots of places to eat – and fresh seafood is plentiful. I think it would be hard to beat Prora though. You should likely bring someone along 🙂
I had fun talking to my server about Croatia (I was writing this at the table so he thought I was a writer…) and drinking in the view. And savouring the delicious seafood. It’s an experience so sublime it speaks to your soul and all your senses are enveloped in the atmosphere of the place because it is so unique.
There is a beach with gently lapping waves, a forest covered island just offshore, an illuminated ancient fortified town, a pirate ship shining on the deep blue water. On top of first class service, memorable food and outstanding local wine.
It was an hour plus of pure magic rivaling the night I had a French chef personally serve me his tasting menu at an over-the-top Shanghai restaurant or the night I dined under the stars in the Serengeti listening to lions roar in the background engaged in one of the most seductive experiences of my life.
And, hey, Croatia is probably closer to you – and you don’t need a visa 😉