Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Croatia, part 1.

Crossed the umpteenth border, this time into Croatia. The road wound along the side of some absurdly steep coastal mountains before plunging beneath a modern cable-stayed bridge and spitting us out in Dubrovnik.

We negotiated a cheap room for the night, then headed into the city; red tiles beneath shining blue skies.

Once an independent naval city state to rival Venice, and despite bombardment in 1991-2, Dubrovnik is exceptionally well preserved. A number of fountains spurt drinkable water, stone buildings line narrow and often steep stone car-free streets, surrounded by a complete ring of well maintained walls. We visited the history museum in the rector's palace, the ethnographic museum in an old and cavernous granery, and the maritime museum in one of the old forts. Dubrovnik continues today as an active port with associated cargo ships, though the old harbour is now mostly marina.

Not for the first (or last) time, a group of tourists approached me and started speaking in Russian. I haven't shaved in a while, but I also haven't given directions in Russian for ages. Still, the language is related to the Slavic Balkan dialects, and my vocabulary concerning travel is the least incomplete.

After bread and ice cream we visited the beach. Lots of fish, a ruined jetty, a deep sea cave, and a gorgeous girl quotient approaching unity.

Past an active looking church to a restaurant for dinner. Spring rolls for entree, home made gnocchi with smoked salmon sauce for main (J had goat cheese ravioli Victoria (white sauce, truffle oil, shrimp and mushrooms)) and a chocolate soufflé for dessert came in at less than 15 euros, with an incredible sunset over the Adriatic as a bonus side dish.

Next day we climbed the walls which encircle the city for a series of incredible panoramic views, then had lunch at a street cafeteria in the old town; I had fish, J had mussels.

Back to the bus station, chatted with some girls from Germany and a guy from Belgium. We were off, winding on rollercoaster roads towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.

UPDATE: Photos.

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