FACTOID: Dubrovnik rivaled Venice as the most important maritime and mercantile center of the Adriatic area.
We got up early in the morning and had breakfast at the hotel and checked out. We said goodbye to some bikers who were still there and took an Uber into Dubrovnik to the apartment we would be in for three days. The old city is small and cars are not allowed into most of the center city within the ancient wall. The cab driver dropped us off and we walked into one of the main entrance gates. It was crowded and they had ropes up to keep the entering and leaving people separated.
Just within the wall and entrance gate there was a plaza with a round fountain. This is Onofrio's Fountain. Built in 1438, it was the ending point of the aqueduct system that supplied water to the city. Onofrio della Cava was an architect from Naples.
The Madrid Apartment
It was a little difficult to find the apartment we rented. Right outside the entrance door was a series of restaurants.
This is the entrance to the Madrid. Our room was on the second floor and both windows were ours. We thought it might be noisy at night with all the restaurants but it was fairly quiet.
The apartment had a very nice little kitchen/dining room/living area.
… and a separate bedroom. The bed was very comfortable. The room had a combination to get in and we never saw the owner.
We spent the first day just wandering around. Since we got there early we decided to go up and walk on the wall that circled the old city. Dubrovnik is a major stop for cruise boats and that day there were three boats in (10,000 people). We were told you have to get up on wall before 10 AM when the cruise boats dump their passengers in the city for the day. This is the view from the wall looking at the Stradun or main street of the old city.
The wall is continuous all around the old city. The entire trip around is 1940 meters (1.2 miles). Without crowds it takes about two hours to walk around.
When we started there were just a few people on the wall but as we went around it got very crowded.
The walk was pretty much one way but there are always those folks who decide to walk in the wrong direction.
Through one hole in the wall was a tunnel that led you to a bar perched on the edge of the wall. Close to the sea you can see there are no barricades keeping people from jumping into the sea and they told us some people do.
About half way around the wall you overlooked the sheltered harbor.
This is the harbor where many people were resting after going half way around the wall.
The view of the tops of the roofs of the city.
There are two corner fortresses on the wall walk.
The Synagogue in Dubrovnik is the oldest Sephardic synagogue still in use in the world and the second oldest synagogue in Europe. It is said to have been established in 1352, but gained legal status in the city in 1408. Prior to World War II the Jewish community had about 250 people - after the Holocaust just 100. Most were deported and today there are only about 30 Jews living there. The tour of the synagogue was given by a father and his daughter.
We were at the synagogue just before it was closing so we asked our guide for a restaurant recommendation. She suggested Arka, just off one of the main squares. Although we later learned that the Trip Advisor info was not very favorable including bad service we found the diner very good. Although a little chilly we were able to eat outside.
For dinner we had grilled vegetables, tuna and veggie musaka. For desert we had ice cream with figs and prosecco.
Of course we had some Croatian beer - Karlovacko.
The family refers to me as Captain Cosmo since that is all I drink when we are on Martha's Vineyard. They even got me a shirt that has my name on it. Here I am posing in front of a candy store called Captain Candy. We did stop there every night for some candy snacks.
We started off the day with a pastry breakfast before going to the 14th century Rector Palace.
This was the seat of the government at the height of the Dubrovnik Republic.
In the courtyard is a statue of Miho Pracat, a famous merchant and seafarer.
The steps leading up to the second floor had this neat handrail.
On one of the many plazas was the main Cathedral. This cathedral was built on the ruins of a shrine that was demolished in an earthquake in 1167. Inside it is like an art museum with a painting by Titian.
There were several markets throughout the old city. All the markets had lavender things. Some were food oriented and others were just crafts in a lavender color.
This was a food display at one of the markets.
There was an old pharmacy in town that was left just it was in medieval times. It was founded in 1317 as an in-house pharmacy for Franciscan friars who were later introduced to the public servicing the whole Town's population and even beyond the town's walls.
The pharmacy still sells items that were made for the Franciscans.
There was a small art exhibit in the monastery that was part of the pharmacy. It had to do with St. Anthony, the saint of miracles. Not sure what this miracle was but it appears St. Anthony may be able to do foot replacement. My business partner who is Catholic always used to recite `something's lost and cannot be found - St Anthony please come around'. It always seemed to work and she said St. Anthony was the patron saint of lost things…. I did not realize he was in charge of all miracles.
This is a painting of the walled city of Dubrovnik.
This is the courtyard of the monastery that housed the pharmacy.
There is a cable car that goes from right outside the city wall to the top of the mountain overlooking Dubrovnik. In 1991 during the Serb-Croatia was the cable car was shut down. The car started running again in 2010. The ride up and the views are spectacular.
The island sitting off the old town is Lokrum. We took a ferry there the next day.
Down from the entrance to the cable car was a very nice - but rocky - beach. We did not have our bathing suits so we just went to the beach and sat for awhile. We met two of the bikers there who were also still in Dubrovnik.
The sign at the entrance to the beach had the usual list of things you cannot do - like have dogs on beach and swim in certain areas. The last prohibition on the sign was `It is prohibited sex on the beach'.
At a sidewalk shop selling odd things there was this statue of a little man holding his `something'.
We had planned to go to a restaurant (Moskar) that one of the bikers said they had eaten at the day before on a food tour. We went by but it seemed a little too fancy and pricy for us. We went back to the room to change and get ready to find another place when the Queen started to complain about some bad `floaters' in her eye. She had first seen them on the last day of biking but they seemed to be getting worse. We called her ophthalmologist friend in the US and he said it could be a detached retina and she should go to a hospital…. It could be serious.
We found out where the hospital was and walked out of the old city and got in a cab. The driver could speak English and we told what the problem was and he said his cousin was the best eye surgeon in Croatia and she should not have anything done here but go to Zagreb where he was.
He dropped us off at the emergency room and we traded phone numbers. In the emergency room no one could really speak English and there was really no one there except one person at the admitting desk. It was already after 8 PM and the ophthalmologist had already gone home. She was going to come back for us but we had to wait about 2 hours.
When she came in she took us through many dark hallways until we arrived at her office. The Queen and she went in the back and I waited. Fortunately, we learned it was not a torn retina which is what we feared but a torn vitreous - much less serious. The Queen did not need anything done but would have to be careful until we got back to Rome or the US. The Queen said the exam was awful as she stuck things in her eye to do a sonogram of the eye.
After a quick breakfast of pastry we headed to the fort at the main entrance to the city. This is a view of the castle from the city walls.
In front of the fort was a small bay and people were renting kayaks. This photo is looking from the fort to the walls of the old city.
The water got a little rougher as you got out and it was fun watching the kayaks with some people who obviously had not done this before.
The two people kayaks had a large barrel between the two people. We had no idea what this was for.
You had to cross this narrow walkway to get to the part where you climb up to the fort.
This is a view of the fort from the bottom.
This is the main plaza of the fort. The stage was being set up for some type of affair. For the last 60 years there are world renowned productions of Hanlet performed in the fort.
This is the view from the top of the fort to the old city of Dubrovnik.
When we were leaving the fort we ran into a number of the bikers. This group was from western Canada.
Lokrum is a small heavily forested island about a ten minute ferry from the harbor at Dubrovnik. We decided to spend the afternoon there. The sign on the boat warns you that you cannot stay on the island overnight and you need to know when the last ferry leaves.
The island is rocky so the beaches are rocks.
We sat on a bench overlooking part of the beach but we were made to leave since these benches were rented by the hour. There were rabbits and peacocks all over the island.
There were lots of people swimming there.
They had some showers for bathers to wash off after coming out of the water.
…. And some interesting changing stations.
In the center of the island is the Dead Sea - a very deep salt water lake. Lots of people were swimming in the small lake.
...and from the other side.
Game of Thrones was filmed in part on this island. They had a replica of the iron throne.
This is a view of the walled city of Dubrovnik from the ferry headed back at the end of the day.
Food for the Day
On our way to the ferry to Lokram we ate lunch at Spaghtteria Toni. It was located on one of the side streets off the Stradun and was close to our apartment. There is seating outside with a relatively small inside. The food was quite good. We had a nice platter of grilled vegetables and excellent 5 cheese lasagna. They have Croatian olive oil at the table and we had a lot of it.
Nishta is a small vegan restaurant on a block parallel to the Stradun that is filled with restaurants. We went by on our first when we were looking for restaurants that looked appealing. We liked the menu and decided to come back. This was our last night for dinner and we discovered that the menu changes every night so we had completely different choices. We had gazpacho, the salad bar, zucchini lasagna and portabella mushrooms. There are just a couple of tables inside and very few outside. We decided to eat outside. While we were eating a cat pooped in the middle of the street which was a pedestrian walkway. Realizing that someone might step in it I took my napkin and cleaned it up. The waitress saw me do this and gave us a free grappa and a cherry brandy.
Since we did not have a flight until 6 PM our last almost full day in Dubrovnik started with check out and finding a place to leave our luggage since we did not have a flight until 6 PM. We found a place that was around the corner from our apartment but no one seemed to be there. Since it was unlocked we walked in and there were lots of pieces of luggage randomly scattered around the floor. Someone came in after a few minutes and told us that they were not tagged, she remembered all the luggage and who went with what piece and she would be there all the time. We took out all the valuables and left the luggage.
We wandered around the old town until lunch and then went to Moskar. This was located just down the street from where we ate the night before at Nishta. We had a great salad and the sea bass. For desert we had semifredo.
The bathroom at Moskar was pretty cool.