Archives for the month of: August, 2011

After stumbling upon this place many years back through some random pictures from a sailor (altogether another story) and hearing some glowing reviews, it became necessary to make it to the Croatian “Dalmatian” Coastline and spend time in it’s most famous city of Dubrovnik.

To follow suit with almost every other coastal town in the cradle of civilization, Dubrovnik was built as a fortress to ward off pirates. The walls are immense and form canon filled cliffs that line the entire city. We’ve never seen anything like it and apparently it worked. They even dug a 7 kilometer underground piping system from a nearby mountain that pumps water into the city making it virtually siege proof. Take that pirates! Now for the good stuff.

This is one beautiful city surrounded by crystal clear blue water. It’s funny though that no one ever mentions the stairs. We found Dubrovnik to be one giant labyrinth of stone stair cases. The city expanded over the years straight up the adjoining mountain, which led to even more stairs to get home. Our host, Mario, even told me that it is a waste to buy a beer in the old town, for once you reach your home you are completely sober! Mario and his family were unbelievably gracious and prepared dinner and even breakfast for us. The Dubrovnik breakfast of champions, as it were, consists of dark chocolate, Turkish coffee, and one tall shot of the good ol local moonshine. “One is good, two…ehh..maybe not.”(Mario) He spent his young adult life hiding from Serbian snipers on the hillside when Croatia declared it’s independence from Yugoslavia. He even shamefully admits that the old town saved the city, for the rest of the world couldn’t care less until the Serbians began bombing it directly. The world then intervened to save such a beautiful piece of history. Remarkable story, though a little bitter for the people it seems.

We had a very interesting moment when we saw the list for the summer festival and the top performance was the “2 Cellos” we had seen on tv in Rovinj a few days prior. They were playing the 2 nights we spent in Dubrovnik! After waiting in line for standing room only seats, we were rewarded with the best classical performance we’ve ever seen. The venue was in the Dubrovnik open air Palace and it was led by two young cellists playing their classical favorites and culminating with cover songs from Nirvana, Michael Jackson and U2. (youtube made them famous, check them out! )The crowd went wild, which made it even better because I don’t believe you’re supposed to have that much fun at a classical performance, especially in the City Palace. Its kinda like holding a laugh in at church. There’s nothing quite like seeing a crowd full of peacock dresses and penguin suits doing the hibiddy-dibbidy croatian style. Just sayin. Great evening.

Without a doubt, should you ever want to visit the crown jewel of the dalmatian coastline we highly recommend it. However, be sure to visit in the shoulder seasons (as we’ve learned many times this trip), for the crowds will be menacing and the costs are double in the high season. Even so Dubrovnik, we love thee.

Photographs
1. From Mario’s balcony. The hike was well worth it!
2. Inside the Palace. (no cameras allowed) *Abby Freeman Lesslie, photographer.
3. On the city walls.

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We decided to head down the Dalmatian coastline on an 11 hour overnight bus ride from Rovinj to Split before jumping directly on a 5 hour ferry to an island off the coast. Now I don’t know about you, but for us that’s one long travel day. Then came hour number 16.5 and there we were…

“KOR-choo-laaaa”. I mean come on people, it doesn’t get any better than this! Even in my sleepless, sunburned state of mind I can appreciate this. We’re now completely off the tourist route and stumble upon a medieval fortress in the midst of electric blue water.

After sailing around the Old Town, we departed the boat and were met by our host. It was a Croatian family who had a room on the third floor of their old home, 30 feet from the water overlooking the Old Town. We met the son’s mother and father (who later kept leaving these delicious baked pastries in our room) and walked into our humble accommodation for the week. One private room with double bed, bathroom, dining table and one unforgettable view.

We spent a large part of our time watching the yachts pull into the dock and settle in for the night wondering who in the world has that much money. They say Bill Gates even hangs out here. There was always a new group of them every evening. We also purchased some snorkeling gear, a raft and some rope which led to the discovery of a new favorite way to spend the day; I snorkel in search of treasure with a rope tied around my waist while Abby has the other end tied around her wrist, laying out on the raft enjoying the view. This way, we can float and swim up and down the coastline! Endless entertainment. All we need is the ocean from here on out.

To further explore the island, about midweek we rented a scooter and proceeded to have the best day of the trip so far. We took off from Korcula along the coast finding secluded beaches and then having lunch in a tiny coastal town. From there, we decided to take a detour which led us straight up a mountain overlooking all of the surrounding islands. The view was incredible! We’ve got some video just to remember how ridiculous this afternoon was.

Also of note; we were there during the Croatian Independence Day and had front row seats to the locals celebrating and singing songs well into the night.

We spent 7 nights here in Korcula and were definitely sad when we had to leave. We both agree that this may be the best place we’ve been to and we will most certainly be back.

However, it’s hard to sit still when so much is right around the corner!

Much love to you all,

Robbie & Abby

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After having a decent break from rainy days in Ljubljana, we kept moving towards the coast and found the “Venice of Croatia”, Rovinj. Now it feels as though we’re where we should be! This medieval city on the Adriatic reminds us both of Charleston in many ways. We spent 4 days wandering the city with most of our time on the beaches (rocks, we should say).

Here’s the ticket for travelers, at least as we’ve found it; search for a town’s information site and look for accommodations. So many locals who may not be as tech savvy list their apartments for rent here only. Kinda like Craigslist. We found a perfect little apartment and were graciously given the use of 2 bikes, which we made great use of traveling the bike paths directly on the coast! Another tip; stay away from beaches listed as FKK; think North Myrtle Beach sans clothes. Or rather, a cute older couple walking hand in hand butt naked. After a while you get kinda numb to it, but we didn’t stay long enough to find out what that feels like.

Nonetheless, so much fun. We also sat down to dinner one night with a decanter of the house Prosecco, mixed salads, mussels and a 4 cheese pizza unlike anything back home. Best dining experience of the trip so far! Probably didn’t hurt that we had this view to cap it all off. In fact, it was so good we went back on our last night and had the same experience all over again.

The Lord has blessed us and keeps it coming. We’re just trying to take it all in right now and keep somewhat of a perspective on our little gypsy caravan dream world. We are quite content in Croatia and highly recommend anyone with any notion of visiting to do so, quickly! Annnd how…

Robbie & Abby

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