Last Croatian memories

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The time has come to wave a very fond goodbye to glorious Croatia (for now at least…) so here’s a few last shots of Dubrovnik.

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With its plethora of enchanting buildings, stunning countryside and budget friendly accommodation, Croatia was a revelation.

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Here’s the Stradun and Onofrio’s large fountain again all bathed in lovely lovely Croatian sunshine *wistful sigh*

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Here’s us trying to defeat the mythical gargoyle or Maskeron.

If you enter the Old Town of Dubrovnik by the Pile Gate walk along the Stradun and you’ll see a strange stone head protruding from a stone wall.

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The head stands some half a meter above the ground, sticking out barely fifteen centimeters. Its top surface is polished like marble.
Legend has it that if you manage to hop onto the head, keep your balance, and take off your shirt while still standing facing the wall, luck in love will follow you.

Neil has technique whereas I just repeatedly hurl myself at the wall in hope…

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Then it’s off for a last mooch around the harbour and time to take a bracing dip with the locals! Check out the glorious azure sea water!

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I’m a bit of a water baby and tend to end up in any large bodies of water that I come across. However I am also a huge wuss.

P1030388So I am gradually inching my way into the water, flabby bit by flabby bit . . .

P1030387Ho ho. It’s like watching a beached whale returning to the water.

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Until finally I am submerged and at one with the lapping waves.

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And there I stayed until I was good and wrinkled.

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That’s it for Croatia folks. A hectic week of travelling hundreds of miles, getting hopelessly lost and falling head over heels in love with a breathtaking country.

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Mount Srd cable car

If there’s a cable car in the vicinity then we tend to make an appearance on it sooner or later! Dubrovnik is no exception with Mount Srd boasting the town’s vertigo inducing attraction.
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The original cable car was built in 1969 but was almost completely destroyed during the shelling in the 1990s.

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At 405 metres above sea level, the views from the top are staggering. On a clear day you can see up to 60km.

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Here you can see the old town walls that we’d recently been traipsing along. Also here’s a bird’s eye view of the harbour and St John’s fortress.

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Here the distinctive shape of Dubrovnik old town is now apparent. You can see Minceta tower on the town wall in the foreground and Fort Bokar to the right in the distance.

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Onwards the tiny cable car travels, pausing briefly for us to appreciate the views and to pass another of the little pods. Each one of which holds 30 passengers.

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Of course we’ve shoved our way to the front of the car to ensure the best possible views of the town and mountain side.P1030319

It only takes a few minutes to whisk up the mountain and then you can have a potter around at the top.

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With such a good view of potential invaders it’s unsurprising that there’s a fortress on top of Mount Srd. Fort Imperial was built  in 1806-1816 during the Napoleonic Wars but now houses the Museum of the Homeland War.

There’s also an amphitheater, restaurant and shop.

It’s currently 100 kuna for an adult return ticket. You can book the cable car online and learn more here.

Dubrovnik town

After our jaunt around the walls we had another saunter into the charming old town. (This time it wasn’t pouring with rain!!)

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Heading to the Stradun via Pile Gate

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Lots of pictures of the harbour now . . .

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St Johns fortress again in all its austre glory.

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Finally I get to see the town bathed in sunshine, its gorgeous

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The harbour is a picturesque setting for a very pricey drink and some food, or you can go cheap skatey, get a picnic like us and enjoy the same views

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Makes me want to be back there right down, given the 3 degrees temperature outside and the grey drizzle!

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Cable cars and sea swimming coming up next for your enjoyment!

Walking the walls – part two

Carrying on with our little pictorial wander around the walls of Dubrovnik with action man Neil taking the lead as usual.

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Next up along the walls is a marvellous view over the town’s impressive main street –  Stradun.

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Here you can see some of the main sights including Onofrio’s big domed fountain and the Church of Holy Savior with its distinctive circular window.

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Rambling on you come across views to Fort Bokar. Under Austrian rule in the 19th century, it was used as a prison. It’s one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Europe.

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You can also see across the bay to Fortress Lovrijenac. It’s often called “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar” and is famous for its importance in resisting Venetian  rule

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Walking now above the tiny little back alleys you can peer into people’s back gardens to one side and down the huge drop to the sea on the other.

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The sea is a glorious azure blue and it was super tempting to have a dip (which we did later on!)

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Dubrovnik really is one of the prettiest towns I have visited for a long time and you can spend hours just marveling at it.

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Each vantage point shows another viewpoint. Here you can see the cable car station at the top of Mount Srd. More of that later of course!

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Finally you come to St John’s fort and the harbour where Neil finally gets banged up for a short time.

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Here you can see the local’s favourite swimming spot off the harbour. Later on we joined them for a bracing dip in the sea.

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Old salty relics can be found dotted around the harbour. Plus these giant anchors too!!! Ha ha

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And finally here’s a view looking back towards St John’s fortress to conclude a very enjoyable couple of hours walking the walls. Definitely recommended to get an aerial view of the quaint old town.

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Walking the walls – part one

Dubrovnik old town is encircled by around two kilometres of walls and battlements. It takes around a hour and a half to march along them and they give fantastic views of the town, sea and red roof tiles.

There are three entrances to the city walls: at Pile Gate, Ploce Gate and at Sv Ivan fort. We chose the Ploce Gate entrance as there was not as much of a queue.

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Here’s Revelin Fortress, an austere block of formidable stone.

The initial fort was built in 1463, in the period of threats from the Ottoman empire, who had conquered Constantinople in 1453 and were about to occupy nearby Bosnia (occupied in 1463).

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The first of many terracotta roof tile shots! I love the warm, ripples of the roofing. During the shelling of the city in the early 1990s many of the traditional roofs were damaged and have been repaired in a patchwork of different shades.

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Minceta Tower is another of the imposing fortifications along the town walls. The sunlight really makes the ancient grey stone come to life.

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The views across Dubrovnik old town are just lovely and change as you get further along the walls.

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Here Neil blocks out some of the lovely views . . .

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On average 24 metres high and up to 6 metres thick, the walls date back to the 13th century.

Further reinforcements, including a series of imposing towers intended to protect the city against the Turks, were added in the 15th century.

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It’s not just about endless patchworks of red though, you also get fantastic views out to sea as well.

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Peeping through the thick stone walls gives you a nice shady spot to beat the heat. Just don’t hit your head like I did!

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Beach life and taking a dip

Finally, back in Dubrovnik, we head for the iconic view point that inspired me to head to Croatia in the first place.

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It’s a place called Banje Beach. Part private beach bar and part public sunspot. From high up you can get the fabulous view across the beach to the fortress.

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No apologies for a variety of beach shots now! Just sit back and enjoy them…..

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The sea is that beautiful shade of aquamarine that makes you want to hurtle head first into it.

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However it’s not quite as warm as it appears so we keep our distance and concentrate on viewing all the loveliness from afar.

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I also enjoyed the spectacle of the tourist galleon sailing majestically into the bay.

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Looks like the ship is making a sinister bee line towards my head in this particular shot . . .

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Luckily for me, and all onboard, the ship manages to make it safely to shore!!!

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