Jan and I got up at a nicely civilised hour and made our way down to the bus station. We already had our bus tickets and arrived in plenty of time to catch the bus. The bus, however, had completely different ideas! It arrived just 5 minutes before it was due to leave, and then found that they couldn’t fit all the luggage of the passengers on the bus. We, of course, were the last ones in the line (inexplicably… we were near the front originally) so were kicked off the bus, in spite of having reserved seats! Fortunately we were able to exchange the tickets for a bus that was leaving just half an hour later. It turned out to be a much nicer, quicker bus, so that worked out nicely.
The trip was a long, hot one, but the views were lovely. The bus followed the coast for much of the trip, and the mountains here are pretty specatular. There seems to be little soil on the mountains. They are all slivery-grey stone with green shrubs clinging to the slopes. We stopped at two police checks where the police came on board to check our passports (all without incident) and we arrived in Dubrovnick after 3 pm.
Christian had agreed to meet us and help us to find somewhere to stay, and bless his cotton socks, he came through with the goods! He secured a room with the same people he and the girls were staying with. Unfortunately he didn’t make it clear in his limited Croatian that we needed two beds, so Jan and I had to share the very, very large double bed – all good – we had plenty of room! In addition, the son of our hosts came with his car to pick us up, which saved us a long hot walk up a hill. Our accomodation was about a half hour’s walk from the Old Town, which was a bit of a pity. However it is tricky and expensive to find anything closer, and we could have been alot further away, so we were very pleased with Christian’s efforts.
Christian gave us time to clean up, then we walked with him to spend the evening with him and the girls at the Old Town. Its a lovely town. One can see why Lord Byron called it ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’! Apparently Agatha Christie spent her second honeymoon here, and we drank cocktails at a bar called Hemingway’s bar…
We met the girls at a fountain outside the main gate to the city, then made our way to Hemingways, which became a favourite late-afternoon haunt! After a drink we had dinner at a lovely seafood restaurant (Jan and I had shrimp grilled in garlic, which was lovely) then back to Hemingways for another drink – I can recommend the Strawberry Caipiroska (sp?). We enjoyed wandering the streets, and returned to our rooms at about 10.30 pm.
We decided to get up early the next morning to walk the walls of the Old Town before it got too hot! The walk was well worth it, with lovely views from every corner of the town. The walk took a couple of hours and we were glad we had started so early. After lunch, we spent some time on the internet trying to work out the next leg of the journey, then had a quick tour of the palace. Jan and I finished the afternoon with a refreshing swim in a little rocky cove. I can highly recommend the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic!
I dined on seafood again, this time ‘Fried Little Fish’ which I think were like whitebait. We sat after dinner on a bench overlooking the sea as the sun set, then headed home for an early night.
This morning Jan and I let ourselves sleep in a little, then walked down the hill to the bus station to catch a bus back to Split (which is where I am now, typing this entry!). We are catching the 10.30pm overnight ferry to Ancona, then trains to Bologna, Venice and Vienna, where we will stay overnight. Won’t be able to see anything unfortunately as we need to catch another train to Prague the next morning. We will spend a day and a half in Prague, so that is when you will be most likely to hear from me again!
A thousand apologies for any spelling mistakes etc. Just don’t have time for much proofreading! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!