I am still alive… no capture by Somali pirates (Captain Phillips is on in the background) or more mundane calamities… just clients wanting me to work – how dare them 😉 But still stories to tell so will try and post them all before I get on another plane…
Port cities tend to be gorgeous. Port cities also tend to be popular. And prone to the lure of the potential dollars cruise ships might offer. It is likely obvious by now I have never been on a cruise ship – and I really doubt I ever will be. But I live in a city where floating hotels sit in the harbour pretty much every day.
But here I am not a tourist… and think the city is big enough to absorb the hordes without every street being filled with fanny packs and iphones. Dubrovnik is not so large… so a little of the magic faded away as I descended on the Old Town post-breakfast just in time to cavort with the cruise ship hordes.
Mostly it was a shock from the explorer splendour of my first post-rain moonlight dappled view.
The advantage of cruise ships is that the passengers only get a few hours off the ship. I was a little obsessed with the idea of going to Montenegro and managed to stumble across a placard organizing tours so signed up immediately.
The agent also provided great advice for navigating the town. Wait until circa 3pm to hit the city walls. The cruise ship passengers will have run back to the ship and you will have the city almost to yourself.
It ended up I was not as alone as I hoped… but I walked some parts of the city walls alone – and mostly it was a tiny handful of fellow travellers. I wandered for so long that apparently I was on my second round before I got kicked off the circuit. The starting point is not very clear… but the route is spectacular.
Castles, city walls, moats, containers for tossing boiling oil on would-be medieval terrorists… you can never be bored by this stuff – but I have seen a lot. So the city walls of Dubrovnik are spectacular! They should definitely be on your list.
I would recommend going super early or late in the afternoon to avoid the cruise ship hordes. While they are in full
descent, hit a museum or a beach. I went to the Museum of Modern Art. The art didn’t really blow me away but the setting was spectacular – and there was some cool sculpture that looked particularly enrapturing in the light.
It was unclear the exact price for that museum but the museum pass advertised seemed like a decent deal so I just went with the flow. If you will be in Dubrovnik for a few days, I think the museum pass is a good deal.
You can also wander the cobblestone streets of the Old Town. When you get off the main drag, there are far less tourists and – in good weather – lots of stalls selling local crafts and foodstuffs. I would especially recommend looking for olive oil. I learned a long time ago to try the local olive oil in southern Europe. It is also about terroir and is as nuanced as a fine Bordeaux.
You should also wander the side alleys. I wasn’t sure if it was safe the first night. I think it probably is. But it is definitely safe – and romantic – to wander in the daylight.
DO NOT be lured into dining by random touts. I was tired and it was OK but every other meal I had in Dubrovnik was so much better I would really recommend a bit of research in advance.
Even when you have to share it with a lot of strangers, Dubrovnik is without doubt a place of fantasy and magic… I’ve just come back from DisneyWorld so I know a thing or two about that kind of stuff…
Hey, I have lived many lives so we will be talking Mickey in the future… and Mickey’s world is pretty spectacular… but very artificial… if you want a real world place that feels like a 15th century Walt was throwing pixie dust around, Dubrovnik will not disappoint 😉