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Friday, May 31, 2013

Travel - May 25 – Saturday – Dubrovnik, Croatia 

The evening before we arrived in Dubrovnik we were treated to two interesting views from our stateroom veranda.  Just before going to bed we saw a beautiful full moon arise over the Croatian coast line.  We later had a terrible thunder storm during the night.  Early the next morning we look out to see a fellow cruise liner pacing us with all of its lights on.  It was quite a site in a pre-dawn sky.  I was lucky enough to get a picture of both the moon and the ship.  I thought I’d share both with you.  

Dubrovnik is a UNESCO site and you can tell it the minute you get off the bus.  Yes, it looks almost like I remembered it, but with a lot more people.  The ship docked between the cruise ship port and the industrial part of the city.  The old fort city is about three to four miles around the sea shore from the port.  We again took a shuttle bus to the old town.   It is a beautiful, old, well-kept town of history.

Dubrovnik (pronounced [dǔbroːʋnik]ItalianRagusaGreekΡαγκούσαRagoùsa) is a city on the Adriatic Sea coast of Croatia, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport  the center of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641 (census 2011). In 1979, the city of Dubrovnik joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

The prosperity of the city of Dubrovnik has long been based on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages, as the Republic of Ragusa, also known as a Maritime Republic (together with AmalfiPisaGenoaVenice and other Italian cities), it became the only eastern Adriatic city-state to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a high level of development, particularly during the 15th and 16th centuries.

The beginning of tourism in Dubrovnik is often associated with the construction of the late 19th-century luxury hotels in Croatia, such as Grand Hotel (1890) in Opatija and the Hotel Imperial (1897) in Dubrovnik According to CNNGo, Dubrovnik is among the 10 best medieval walled cities in the world.  

Although Dubrovnik was demilitarized in the 1970s to protect it from war, in 1991, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was besieged by Serb-Montenegrin forces for seven months and received significant shelling damage.  When you look at the walls of the fort you can tell where the damage occurred.  Not from the holes in the wall, but in the areas that have been newly repaired.

There were tourists from everywhere.  If you turned in a circle you could hear at least eight languages being spoken.  There were many Croatian bands and folk singers both inside and outside of the fort walls.  You could tell that they were very proud of their country and history.   There was a singing group willing to pose for as many tourists that could crowd in during a five minute period.  They could have stood there all day and the cameras would have continued to click.

The walls of the fort in some place were so thick that people lived, or they had shops in the base of the walls.  The center of the city area was flat, but many of the side streets had stairs going almost strait up, at least it looked that way.  We never quite made it all the way to the top of the fort wall, but I did see out a small door on the side and the view was breath taking.  It was like being at the top of at least a ten story building that dropped perilously to the sea.  The sea was so clear you could see every rock.

Just like all little towns, residents of this beautiful place have a small market in their plaza areas.  Dubrovnik’s market had lavender sachet, dried fruit, olive oil and other wonderful items from their local region.  Oh…if only there was not a fifty pound weight limit on the airline luggage requirement.  I was already at the limit when I left.  VERY SAD!!! 


Well, it’s time to say farewell to Dubrovnik and go on to our final cruise port, Venice.  It is hard to believe that the cruise is almost over.  The time has gone by so quickly.  We do have one night on the boat in Venice so we can slowly break into the idea of being without our ship. 

 Next report will probably be from our hotel in Venice, or from Zurich.  Hang on, we are not finished yet!!  (However, the towel animals are almost at an end.)   

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