The only agenda for Dubrovnik was to explore old town and walk the city walls. We woke on our first day there, rested from our crazy travel day and hopped the bus from where we were staying in Lapad to old town Dubrovnik. The bus system here is super easy to use and all busses lead to old town.
The first day, we plan to just wander the streets, we are going to leave the walls and museums until the next day. It is less busy than I expect and we wander the streets, excitement blooming every time we stumble on something cool. On the side of the walls, near the sea, someone has converted the arrow slits into safe places the cats can sleep and eat. T is so happy to see this and we are all happy to see that the cats seem to be well taken care of in Croatia. On the backside of the wall we discover a secret beach on the rocks where we have to time our crossing, lest we get soaked by waves. The kids scramble over the rocks and look at the fish while old women sunbathe in their bras behind us. After a couple hours, it starts to get busier, so we head back to Lapad.
There is a beach near our apartment and we walk down a gorgeous promenade to the seawall, where they find a place to swim and I hang out next to people sitting drinking beer and watching the sunset. Kids run wild on the beach and ride bikes and scooters with abandon on the seawall, with no apparent parental oversight. It feels very safe here, civilized and peaceful.
The next day, I purchase the city card for myself which gives access to the walls, free transit and entrance to 6 museums. I go to pick up the card at the Lapad tourist office and the kind woman hands me a 3 day card instead of a 1 day. I’m only here for today, but I appreciate her kindness. The kids seem to be free in the museums, and so I only have to pay for their wall entry. The wall entry cost is pretty steep, but once we get up there I realize how worth it, it is. The views from the wall are stunning and the crowds thin out up here. We enjoying a leisurely 2 hour walk and stop halfway for ice-cream with a view.
After the walls we head to several museums included with my pass. We visit the cultural museum, ethnographic museum, natural history museum and the monastery. The natural history museum was tiny, with most of the displays being of fish on one floor. The cultural and ethnographic museums were both amazing, unfortunately no pictures in the cultural museum, but it had a dungeon we could crawl into that was used in the GoT show. The ethnographic museum was in the old granary and was really well done. As we left the ethnographic museum, the sky unleashed on us and we were quickly soaked. We ducked under an awning of a tour guide shop, and then man opened the door and let us in. We chatted with him about travel for awhile and then tried to make it to the bus. We made it as far as the monastery, where we ducked in and saw a pharmacy that has been in use for hundreds of years and is still open today. Soon the rain abated enough to get to the bus. It was a wonderfully fun day!
The next morning we awake and walk to the bus station, where we are going to catch the bus to Split. I had no idea how winding the road was, and I am not prepared for what is about to occur. Out of nowhere T unleashes torrents of vomit all over me and her and the seats and the floor and both pacsafes (where I will soon have to dig out our passports for a border crossing). The volume of vomit was insane and all I had was a tiny wad of tissue for washrooms lacking toilet paper. I madly try to clean us both up, as she apologizes. The man in front of us offers me one tissue from his pack of tissues, I’m thinking “Thanks bud, but that isn’t going to do it.” I thank him and keep trying. The road is winding so much that I cannot go to the front for help. Everyone else is pretending that they don’t see us. I pull both our coats off and stuff them into our food bag, which takes care of the bigger stuff, but my pants and t-shirt are still covered and I’m trying to get it out of the pacsafe zipper, so that I can hand the border guard our passports. After about 30 mins the road straightens out and I go to the front of the bus and mime barfing and wiping. He finds me a roll of paper towel and a plastic bag. We make it through border control and stop about 30 mins later. I ask if we can get under the bus to change (with lots of miming). They open the undercarriage, motion to shut it when we are done and walk away. T and I strip, on the side of the highway and stuff our soiled clothing on top of the coats. There is no time to make it to the washroom, so even though are clothes are clean our arms and hands smell for the next 3 hours. Later in the trip, a young 20 something guy, full of youthful arrogance strikes up conversation with the man who helped us. I overhear him apologize to the man for having to “experience that” as he glances at me… I shoot him daggers out of my eyes…yes bud, It was super fun for me too, I think. I hope he has tons of kids and they all barf on him. Our apartment doesn’t have a washing machine, so I end up cleaning our clothing in the shower and bidet for hours after I arrive.
Split has a pretty cool old town. We wander it over two days. We visit their ethnographic museum as well, but it isn’t as well done as the Dubrovnik one. We spend some time wandering the basement of the Diocletian’s Palace and it’s pretty spooky down there. Apparently GoT was filmed here as well. The kids loved exploring the subterranean space. We wander past the cathedral and hear beautiful male voices echoing through the square. We duck into an enclosed tower space with the most amazing acoustics and I end up crying at the beauty of the music, much to the kids horror. I end up buying one of their CD’s, so I can cry later, in private.
They have a daily greens market where you can get fresh produce every day. We load up for about $30 Canadian and get nuts, dates, and kg of cherries in that haul! It’s raining today and we are chilling out. The TV has National Geographic channel in English and Im letting the kids binge watch.
We went to the train station to reserve our seats for Saturday’s ride to Zagreb and the ticket agent said it’s been subbed by a bus. I’m hoping she is wrong… we will find out in a couple days! Tomorrow we are taking an hour and a half bus to Krka park, I will be bringing plastic bags and paper towel!