Croatia Part 2 – Dubrovnik

Day 57: May 8, 2018

When I went to bed I turned on the air conditioner and Danny was turning around on the couch from the cold. I threw a blanket over him and went to bed. He slept there all night. I had a very good sleep. Danny woke up with a back ache.

I showed him some stretches for low back pain. I do know a lot. We had eggs and toast with Nutella for breakfast then drove about ten minutes to drop off the rental car. We decided to walk back to our Airbnb which was supposed to take about thirty minutes.

We stopped at the mall on the way back and picked up some groceries we were missing. I purchased another SIM card as well. From there, we went down to the beach which we could see from our place. There were tons of hotels and restaurants around. We walked along a path beside the water. A sales lady told us about renting a jet ski and going to a blue cave which looked pretty cool. We took a brochure and kept walking.

Eventually we decided we should go up so we ascended the stairs to the main road passed our place. We got home and had some salad for lunch. Danny did ten minutes of yoga with me. I did some blogging. Then fixed our Russian visa applications and booked our flights to Cairo and Casablanca in June.

Danny fried pizza for supper. We planned pizza before realizing our place didn’t have an oven. The crust got a little burned and the cheese didn’t really melt, but it wasn’t too bad. We watched some Outlander and went to bed.

Day 58: May 9, 2018

Woke up and Danny made eggs, sausages and zucchini for breakfast. We headed out and caught the number six bus to the Old Town. We found the dock with the ferry to Lokrum island fairly easily, but we were a bit early to buy tickets.

We walked around a bit talking about how we wanted to see all of the Game of Throne sites and oh yeah maybe some of the town’s actual history. We went back to the dock and chatted with a couple from England while we waited. Fifteen minutes before 10:00 am a guy sat at a desk and started selling tickets: $30/person (150 kn/person) return.

Ferry ride to Lokrum

It was a ten minute boat ride to Lokrum. We walked around the island viewing the many peacocks and bunnies.

We stopped in the Benedictine Monastery where there was a Game of Thrones exhibit and a replica of the Iron Throne. We took tons of pictures there.

Iron Throne

We climbed to Fort Royal which was built by Napoleon. On the climb it started pouring rain. We hid under the trees as we walked up. We waited inside the fort until the rain subsided. At a bench, we ate our lunch, but the rain came again so we had to move under some trees.

We looped back to the main part of the island and found the “Dead Sea”. It is a small lake connected to the sea by underground channels. It was sprinkling a bit, but we decided we would still go for a swim. The water was very clear and you could swim out to a little cave. We were the only ones swimming. I was expecting to be able to float really easily because of the name, but it just felt like swimming in the sea.

Swimming in the “Dead Sea” of Lokrum

From there, we walked to the nude beach. It was on rocks and the water was slamming against them so it didn’t look very safe to swim. There was also no one else there. We sat for a bit and decided we would catch the 2:15 pm boat back because it didn’t look like the weather was going to get any better. Of course, once we were on the boat the sun came out.

We caught the bus back to the mall near our Airbnb and found the place our host said we could get visa pictures taken. We also bought some sandwiches for lunch tomorrow and more burek. I have found Danny’s weakness!

Danny was disappointed with our beach day so wanted to walk to the nude beach on Babin Kuk. I wanted to go home, but didn’t want to be a stick in the mud. We walked to the end of a beach then had to climb over rocks. I was getting frustrated. Danny found a spot and we laid down and read our books. The sun went behind the clouds so we weren’t too hot. The water was still crashing on the rocks there a bit so we didn’t end up going in the water.

We climbed back up and found the main road. We walked back and were super sweaty by the end. I made soft tacos for supper and we watched some Outlander before bed.

Day 59: May 10, 2018

We woke up, had breakfast then walked down to the traffic circle to catch the bus. It always seems to be just leaving as we arrive. Luckily, it runs every ten minutes. It was another warm day so we stood in the shade.

I was feeling off which is never a good start to the day. I wanted to look up exactly where we needed to meet for our sea kayaking tour since we would only have fifteen minutes once we got to the old town. I can’t even remember what we fought about, but when we got on the bus we stood at opposite ends.

We arrived at the old town and walked around trying to figure out where we needed to be. We found one company, but it was the wrong one. The next one was also the wrong one, but they told us where to go. We arrived with still a bit of time. We placed our stuff in dry bags and stripped to our bathing suits. We received life jackets, water bottles and paddles.

We boarded the sea kayaks two at a time and paddled out of the little bay to the Adriatic. The water wasn’t too harsh, but there were small waves. The kayaks were very stable.

The tour guide told us how Croatia was founded in the 7th century. The city walls were built in the 13th century. Dubrovnik now has a population of 40,000 people.

We reached the north end of Lokrum and we were given the option of a 1.5 hour kayak or a 30 minute kayak with more beach time. We chose the longer kayak tour as we were both very much enjoying it.

Sea kayaking

We went around Lokrum island and into Pigeon’s Cave. We thought we had seen it the day before while we were on Lokrum, but it turns out we were one cave over. We took some pictures there then continued around past the nude beach. There weren’t many people there again.

Pigeon’s Cave, Lokrum

During the paddling, we discussed the cruise ships with our guide. He mentioned they do limit the number of ships allowed into the bay at once. He said the problem with the cruise ships is that they are all inclusive so people from the ships aren’t spending money on food or hotels within the city. The ships are charged a fee for entering the bay, but the money goes into only certain people’s pockets.

Passing a ship in our kayak

From the east side of Lokrum we cut across to a cave on the mainland where the rest of our group was swimming. We were able to swim and snorkel. Some people were also cliff diving. Danny found a new love in snorkelling. Sadly, I wore my glasses and none of the goggles fit over top. I did have a pleasant swim.

Danny snorkelling

We had about 30 minutes there and jumped into our kayaks to paddle back. We chatted with some women in another kayak: one from South Africa and the other from Calgary. Our travels have given us more to talk about with people from other countries. We were able to talk about our trip to Africa as well as skiing in Canada. We are trying to talk to others as we do need more conversation than just ourselves.

We arrived back and dried off a bit. We walked into the old town and got some ice cream. There is definitely a different mindset here. We were standing in the line for ice cream and were next up. These two women came up and were looking at the flavours. They were just about to butt in front of us to order, but we spoke over them. This has happened a couple of times where people here don’t understand the concept of lines.

I started thinking about the next tour and remembered we needed cash for it, but couldn’t recall how much. We stopped to look it up, but it all fell apart. We ended up fighting and stood there huffing for a bit. We agreed to meet at 4:00 pm for the tour.

This was probably the apex of our fighting. We were both really angry and said things just to hurt the other. The time apart was probably good. I sat on the steps of the cathedral a bit to cool down then walked around a bit.

Dubrovnik Cathedral

Even in a safe town it does feel a bit unnerving walking alone especially down some of the side streets. I bought some postcards and sat at the fountain near the main gate. Danny came along and set next to me, but I was still a bit upset.

We went out to wait for our tour. We found the guide and the tour started. We walked to Lovrijenac Fortress where many of the Red Keep shots from Game of Thrones were filmed. Season 1 of King’s Landing was filmed in Malta, but it was too expensive or Malta kicked them out depending on which story you believe. Seasons 2-6 were filmed in Dubrovnik. They’ve now moved to Spain claiming Dubrovnik was too expensive.

Lovrijenac Fortress on the right

The guide had a book showing shots from the show and where they were filmed. The fortress was easy for the crew to rent out. Scenes on the outside of the fortress meant they had to shut down parts of the city walls as well so that no one could see what was happening. Shots inside the old town were harder because they had to let people passed every so often. They avoided filming on days when cruise ships were present due to the amount of people.

Many people from Dubrovnik were hired as extras. They were paid 30-40 euros/day. Since the show became more popular they are now paid 70 euros/day.

The best view of the old town was from that fortress. We chatted with another couple from Canada. They said they would drive each other nuts if they had to spend a year together like us. We agreed, but after they walked away we hugged and kissed and made up. We do really love each other and the rest doesn’t really matter.

View of Dubrovnik Old Town from Lovrijenac Fortress

We went to “Blackwater Bay” and then into the old town. We saw a couple of shots where Cersei completed her Walk of Shame. Apparently the actress was pregnant a the the time so she had a body double, who was fourteen years younger than her.

Location of Cersei’s Walk of Shame

We saw the door to Little Finger’s brothel.

Door to Little Finger’s Brothel

We chatted with a couple from Australia about our trip and they mentioned that Bali has become too touristy recently. They said Vietnam is amazing and certain areas of Thailand away from the crowds. The other couple on our tour was from India.

We were able to take pictures with replicas of swords from the movies. I really liked Needle. Danny and I showed how we were feeling that day.

One of our many fights

Dubrovnik used to be an independent republic. It had lots of money to pay for protection until Napoleon showed up. We saw the Rector’s Palace where the leader of the republic would stay. There was a new rector every month.

Rector’s Palace on the left

The guide suggested a place for pizza so we walked there after the tour. Trying to be reasonable we ordered a pizza and a salad to share. We ended up ordering a second pizza because it was so good. The walk to the bus ended up with us buying very expensive, average tasting candy. It was so appealing because it was stored in the huge barrels.

Dubrovnik Old Town

We caught the bus home and walked the rest of the way. We went to sleep after a long day.

Day 60: May 11, 2018

We slept in and then had some breakfast. We ate the remaining yogurt and berries with a piece of Nutella toast. We discussed renting a jet ski to go out to the blue cave, but decided after our day yesterday we just needed to rest.

We decided to go to the library to see if we could print our Russian visa applications. We took the bus and then walked a bit. We realized we had no more cash to pay for printing so we walked in the opposite direction to find an ATM. It is a tough balance to have enough spending money, but not have too much leftover.

We went into the library, but it looked more like a book storage. The lady there was kind enough to tell us the location of a copy place. We walked up the road and found the place. The man was very helpful and let us use his computer to get everything printed.

We caught the bus going the wrong way so we had to do some extra loops. We stopped in at the store to look for a cereal box to fit in the envelope we bought to make it more sturdy. There were none large enough, but as we were walking out we found a lid to a box of coffee. Danny asked the clerk if we could take it and she didn’t really care. It was large enough and I was able to cut it down to the right size.

We walked back to our apartment and ate leftovers and broccoli salad for lunch. I found the documents our travel agent had given us listing the documents required for the Russian visas. It was from a different visa company than we had been calling. There were some items that I had forgotten as well. We will have to find another place to print them.

Danny called the Canadian Embassy in Athens and they said they would be unable to send the mail, but could receive it for us. That will still be very helpful because we were worried about having to use an Airbnb host to accept our mail.

Danny went for a run and I did some blogging. Danny made pasta for supper with our remaining food. We watched some Outlander and then went to bed.

Overall I did feel like Croatia was below my expectations. Pictures and Game of Thrones idealized the place in my mind and it turns out to just be a town. One of our tour guides did mention how much tourism has increased especially in the last five years. It is now overrun with hotels and tourists so it doesn’t feel as untouched as it might have years ago.

We do feel we missed out on seeing some of Croatia. My sick days threw our plans off a bit from seeing some nature.

We do think we could have spent more time than we had in Dubrovnik. The old town was more grand than others we had seen. We would have liked to have seen the blue cave and gone jet skiing.  Alas, we only have so much time.