Friday, August 1, 2008
DUBROVNIK - GEM OF THE ADRIATIC
Dubrovnik is at the southernmost tip of Croatia. It has a Mediterranean climate which means that in the summer months it is hot and sunny with only fifteen days of rain over the entire period. We arrived July 23rd to cool and rainy weather. Our last day there was cool and rainy. And in between it was, cool and rainy; except for Saturday when it was "tipical" Dubrovnik weather - hot and sunny - go figure.
The weather, however, did not detract from the beauty of this city. I'm not sure anything can. As you first approach the Old Town, you see the magnificient city walls that are between 500-800 years old. These walls are the best preserved city walls in the world. They stand strong and emulate the resilience of this city and these people. You can climb to the top of the walls and walk around the entire old city. Each view is prettier than the one before.
Old Town sits on a peninsula so you can look to the South, Southeast, and Southwest and see the crystal clear Adriatic Sea. If you look down from the walls, you see Old Town - a labyrinth of alley ways that are lined with restaurants, shops, cafes, and hanging laundry. Many people still live in Old Town so it is not simply a tourist area. All the buildings of Old Town have red tile roofs. In fact, all the buildings in Dubrovnik have red tile roofs. And now that we are on Korcula, all the buildings here have red tile roofs as well. It gives the area a uniformity that is appealing versus monotonous as you might think.
Entering Old Town through the Pile Gate (pronounced pee-lay), you set eyes on the 15th Century Onofrio Fountain given to the people of Dubrovnik in order to "Give to Drink and Decorate the City." You then walk down the Placka or Strandun which is the main street of town. Leaving the main street, you can explore the churches, museums, monasteries and back alleys which is where you'll find the charm.
We ate in several Konobas (casual restaurants) that felt very Old World and had drinks at a cafe that sat on the rocks overlooking the Sea. It doesn't get any better than this.
If I had to say something bad about Dubrovnik it would be the multitude of tourists it gets. In addition to all the "land" tourists, up to five cruise ships dock at their port each day. The crowds swell beyond capacity from 10:00-4:00 and it greatly detracts from the city's beauty. We also haven't found the Croatians to be friendly people. We're wondering if the excessive tourism in the reason why.