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.

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.