The last stop on my adventure. I left home in April beginning in Prague and now it’s the final destination; Dubrovnik. The thing I am most excited about is having the sunshine on my skin and fresh food. Spending three months in the UK with food that is the complete definition of comfort food gets you craving and wishing for fresh produce and a new selection.
When I booked my trip to Dubrovnik before leaving Australia, it was going to be a solo trip. While working at a summer camp for seven weeks I meet the most amazing people, one who wanted to see Croatia. Brittany decided to tag along on my trip, and I’m not mad about it at all. It all fell so well into place and her presence added so much more to my final stop.
I flew out of Manchester and Brittany flew from Heathrow. We both had plans after camp that would take us to different parts of the UK before our departure date. Our plans in getting to Dubrovnik were flawless, it couldn’t have worked out better. Flying with Air France means a compulsory stopover in Paris and that is where would meet up and go together to Dubrovnik.
When we landed and left the plane the heat hit us instantly and we loved it. “summer” in the UK didn’t always feel summer-like. Don’t get me wrong we had some beautiful summer days, but there were some very wintery days between them. Much like it wasn’t even summer. I was missing the heat. Although I did still manage a tan; it was nice to get some extra sun before leaving. There is also the bonus of being able to relax before coming home and recovery for this whirlwind of an adventure.
We got a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Our hotel was the Hotel Adriatic; a beachfront hotel. A little dated, had no elevator, but it was affordable and was a great location. We checked in, did the climb to the top floor where our room was, dropped off our bags and we set out for dinner, then went down by the water for our first night in Dubrovnik and this place was delivering the goods. We got to enjoy the most captivating sunset, with the heat we have both longed for and an incredible first meal in Dubrovnik
The water that surrounded us was so clear you could see the ground below. It reminded me of blue jelly before it sets. After dinner, we decided to see what was around. We walked further up the road like footpath away from the water. We discovered many restaurants, enough to cover us for the duration of our trip. It had plenty of gluten-free options and cuisines to choose from. We walked back to our hotel by the water and wanted to feel of the water. We learnt fast not to walk without shoes on this rocky beach. The rocks were so large that it felt like acupressure on the bottoms of our feet and the water; refreshingly cold.
After finally arriving and seeing a glimpse of what Dubrovnik is, we were beyond excited for the first day.
Day one – We had breakfast at the hotel with an ocean view before catching bus number four into Old Town Dubrovnik. From the minute we left the hotel we could already tell it was going to be a scorcher. We rode the bus for 15 minutes and as we stepped off the bus we were welcomed with a view of both the sea and the city walls.
We spent our day within the walls and walking the walls. As we entered the city there was a large and beautifully detailed “water feature”. It wasn’t a water feature but a place for filling up bottles and having a cool drink. We decided to have a quick drink before walking further in and it was the most incredible water I have had. This water is pure and delicious. Believe it when they say Croatian water in the cleanest in Europe. Anyone who is an avid water drinker knows all water does not taste the same and let me tell you I have never had water so good.
We walked further in, journeying along the clean streets. The floor was like tiles and so well polished you could almost see your reflection. All the buildings around us were so similar and aged. We pasted lots of tiny side streets with small shops tucked within. We pasted monasteries and small museums and by countless tour groups and Game of Throne merchandise stores. This was one thing we were both excited about, apart from being in Dubrovnik; being in the filming location of so many Game of Thrones scenes
Over the three days in Dubrovnik, we did find a few locations. The iconic stairs, Jesuit Staircase, where Cersei did her walk of shame. Also the courtyard in Rectors Palace, where Daenerys asks the King of Qarth for ships to help on her journey across the narrow seas. We also went to the pier where lots of scenes of characters leaving and returning to the red keep were filmed.
If you’re not into Game of Thrones that would have meant nothing to you, so I am sorry to bore you with that. Our trip wasn’t only about Game of Thrones; the highlight of my first day and possibly my time in Dubrovnik was walking on the wall.
The day we did it, day one, was crazy hot but it didn’t dampen our amazing experience. To see such a beautiful city from a top and hundreds of terracotta roofs were before my eyes were breathtaking. Every hour multiple bells rung at different times with a slightly different tune. This signalled a new hour of the day and as the bells would ring a flock of birds would fly to a new roof of the Old Town. As we walked the walls there was a constant sea of roofs that never seemed to change. It always looked the same but beyond roofs and architecture, the view was changing.
It would go from a view of open waters and a view of the Island of Lokrum to a scene of constant movement; boats coming and going. We walked around further and our view would become hills with homes and roads. We walked the massive wall for what felt like hours; going upstairs and then down. Our bodies dripping with sweat creating a shimmer in photos as the sun catches us at certain angles. We walked the entire wall in roughly two hours. The blazing heat of the sun burning our skin and making us overheat. Stopping and starting to take photos and videos at every angle.
In the walls, there was no breeze, only still air. We came off the wall around two and headed toward the exit deciding it was time for food and some of that incredible water again. On our way to the exit, we stumbled across the statue of Marin Drzic. It’s believed that if you rub his body, especially his nose, it will bring you luck and love. Of course, I had to rub his nose, this girl needs love. After giving ourselves an extra chance at finding love, we went to find some food. That’s the next best thing right?
One flavoursome meal later, we headed back to the hotel to get changed and laid by the water. We cooled down in the Adriatic Sea and spent our afternoon working on our tan and continuously frolicking in the water. We would then got changed and headed for another meal that would not disappoint and before we knew it day one was over.
For day two we went back into the walls where we explored more of the streets and shops. We went down tiny little alleyways, some had steep stairs that took us high above sea level and stop at the bottom wall. Other paths and alleys would take us deeper into the centre of the enclosed city. We could only go so far before we would either be met with the bottom of the wall, stairs or a large open space. After walking for hours with no breeze and hot air, it was time for lunch. Going up and down stairs and in and out one of a kind store and many Game of Thrones merchandise stores builds an appetite.
We had lunch outside the walls and had a pleasant view looking at the wall and overlooking the ‘harbour’. There were lots of boats coming and going, taking people on tours and dropping them off at one of the two piers. Not only did we have lots to look at, but we had a wonderful breeze to cool us down.
After lunch, we entered the walls again for some more exploring and then headed back to our hotel for some more rest and relaxation by the beach
Day three and our final day. This was going to be our adventure day. We had booked a kayaking tour around the wall and to the Island of Lokrum that can be seen from the mainland. Nobody lives on this island off Dubrovnik; it is only for adventure-seeking tourists. But unlike our perfectly, hot days before the weather was not so great. Grey skies and rain, but we were still looking forward to it, there wasn’t much rain, a drizzle is all. We had lunch before the tour started and then headed down but because of the weather, our tour was cancelled.
We were gutted; this is one thing we were so excited about this. So we went in the walls for a little bit, drank some of the insanely good water one last time and headed back to our hotel. We went down to the very empty beach where we spent the next hour playing on an inflatable obstacle course. Well, almost an hour. It was exhausting but in that time we did what felt like complete full body work out whilst laughing uncontrollably. Although not the day we had planned, it was the perfect finish to my spectacular holiday.
Dubrovnik was a good to mix of exploring and relaxation. It was what I needed after all these months of travelling. I was feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to go home. I left Dubrovnik on a Wednesday, flew to Zagreb and Doha. I then landed back home, in Australia on Thursday night.
Since being home I have fallen right back into place, almost as if I never left. The most amazing thing; I didn’t suffer any sort of jetlag.