We rented a car at Split airport and drove south down the crazy beautiful Dalmatian coast. Our first stop was the fort of Klis, a two thousand year old strategic fort that saw lots of action through the centuries. Since the Middle Ages it was captured by the Ottomans, recaptured by the Venetians, captured by Napoleon, and most recently absorbed into the global psyche as a location in Game of Thrones.
We walked around the walls and through the fort, admiring the views of Split down below in the distance and the peaks of the mountains around it, imagining thousands of soldiers battling to death here in the Middle Ages. Then we went to a restaurant famous for its grilled lamb and ate a nice lunch and drove on towards Dubrovnik. The drive was beautiful. A bit further inland we drove past towering peaks shrouded in fog and deep valleys with a few tiny villages. But once we descended from the mountains down to the sea we passed towns and farms. We stopped at a farm stand and bought a 2 kg bag of delicious oranges and some dried figs.
And then for 20 km, we left Croatia and drove through coastal Bosnia-Herzegovina, an otherwise landlocked country. The area around Dubrovnik is cut off from the rest of Croatia and can only be reached by sea or by passing through this section of Bosnia-Herzegovina called Neum. This geographical strangeness can be traced back to a treaty in 1699 when the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor defeated the Ottoman Empire and added most of Central Europe to the Austro-Hungarian empire. Two small buffer zones were created on either side of Dubrovnik to separate them from their rivals, the Venetians. The northern buffer zone is Neum. These territorial boundaries were respected during the formation of modern Yugoslavia after WW-I. Further, when Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina came into existence in the early 1990’s, Neum remained with Bosnia and not Croatia. Amazing what you can google.
Dubrovnik has been called the Pearl of the Adriatic. The old city is still fully enclosed in huge walls. The land rises up steeply from the old city and newer parts of the city cling to the sides of hills. Steps, not streets, lead down to the old city. Here’s the view of the old city from our Airbnb at sunrise.
One morning we climbed up the several flights of steps to the top of the city walls. We did this before the crowds got there. It looked like a storm was brewing but the rain held off.
We admired the red roofed city and the fortifications around the town. And came across a rather peculiar shaped basket ball court. And I got a shot of Evan looking very pouty.
Just as we climbed down from the walls it started raining. We decided to wait it out at a cafe over breakfast. But by the time we finished breakfast every tourist was trying to shelter in cafes and we felt bad hogging a table. So we made a break for it and walked through old city in the pouring rain up to the gates and tried to find an Uber or a cab.
After trying for a few minutes we agreed to tromp through the rain. There was so much rain that even the steep streets were flooded and the stairs that connect one level of the city to another were cascading waterfalls. We splashed our way home and arrived completely soaked!
2 thoughts on “Dubrovnik”
Arun such a wonderful and easy read…. Aaaaahhhh! makes one want to see Split and Dubrovnik! A feel for the dark cloudy weather comes across so beautifully through the pictures!! Seems like it was too early in the morning for Evan … 😂 …Keep writing ….enjoy the continuing World adventure!
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Thanks! Evan does look grumpy, doesn’t he : )