Indeed, they are!
But Cruellas favourite dogs might not even come to your mind when you’re spending a long-ish weekend in Dubrovnik, Croatia: The stunning old city on the Dalmatian Coast, delicious ice cream and crystal clear waters might just totally keep your thoughts from wandering further.
But yeah, for some reason, we were wondering. We = my former class- and coffee mate Gloria and I (she’s to blame that this post is written in English, actually). ;-P We’ve decided to visit Dubrovnik rather spontaneously. So we booked quite last minute and knew zero about the city when boarding our plane… But luckily, our local Airbnb host taught us pretty much all we needed to know about Dubrovnik. Armed with a map, we took a billion (rough estimation) stairs from our accommodation down to the main entrance of the old town.
Dubrovnik is your average medieval Mediterranean city: thick walls shielding its centre which is full of tiny alleys, more than half a dozen churches, and a port. You soon get the feeling that Dubronik is a tourist trap – and I guess its appearance in “Game of Thrones” only made that worse. We paid 150 Kuna (about 20 Euro) each for a day pass to some museums and the city walls. The cultural museum we chose to visit was a little… little. But the walls were worth the money. However, it’s certainly not a price I’d expected to pay in an Eastern European country.
The city has its charms, despite the fact that it felt not that “real” anymore: They’ve done too good a job in restoring it. It’s so incredibly clean, almost shiny. And as a visitor, you pay for that, obviously. Nevertheless: Dubrovnik is a beautiful, quite romantic city that will captivate you with its views (even from Basketball courts) and unforgettable sunsets that outperform any filter.
The following day we were booked an all-day boat tour around the Elaphite Islands. There were some issues with the driver who was meant to pick us up in the morning. So instead, the owner of the tour company came and drove us to the port where the boat was already waiting. He wanted to know where we’re from. “Germany”, I said, which led him to tell me – in fluent German – that he’s happy young Germans are beginning to discover Croatia. And true, most people on the boat were either old or Australian – or both.
The boat stopped at three different islands and we went for a swim at the one that claims to be the prettiest of them all; Lopud. And oh, how clear the water is, even near the ports! And it’s of a most awesome shade of turquoise. We ate on the boat after our Lopud stop and cruised on to two more islands, Koločep and Sipan.
When we arrived in Dubrovnik again, we barely had enough time to take a shower. We wanted to be up in the hills behind the city by sunset. And we made it, thanks to the convenient cable car.
Unfortunately, the third day in Dubrovnik was already our last. We made most of it and took a bus tour to Montenegro. Montenegro is the third youngest country in the world; it became independent from Serbia in 2006. By coincidence, we visited Montenegro on its National Holiday (July 13th). Lucky for us though, because we passed the border control in record time, the tour guide told us. I even got a European stamp in my European passport, wuhu!
Did I expect Montenegro to be less touristy than Croatia? Yes, sure. Was it? No. Only think James Bond and “Casino Royale” – even though not a scene of the movie was ever shot in Montenegro. Yet, the nation’s mentioned, and that seems to be enough. Plus, I had forgotten about cruise ships; they proudly deliver tourists anywhere, given that some sea is close.
Well, we did the common attractions: Kotor, an old UNESCO city strikingly similar to Dubrovnik, but with even more spectacular mountains in the back – and on top of these, a “castle in the clouds” (if there ever are clouds). We decided to climb the steep city walls. The temperature had gone up to 40°C and there really was NOT enough time left before our bus was to take off, but anyway! We tried our best. I managed to go half of the way up, which got me a great view and extremely thirsty. Gloria was smarter, stopped earlier – and waited for me in the shadows.
Our next stop was Budva, a city with a beach. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say about it. We spent most of our time in a restaurant, talking and hiding from the heat. Fun fact: The Euro is Montenegro’s official currency, even though the country’s not part of the EU.
When we crossed back into Croatia, the tour guide called us out for being “reckless” and advised us never to go on a border crossing tour again when we’d have a flight to catch on that very day. Gloria and I looked at each another, eyebrows raised: But what else to do, when you have only so few days and so many things that intrigue you?
Plus, not only did we arrive at the airport well in time, we even saved time and money for transportation because the bus dropped us off there before making its way back into the city centre.
Bottom line: Croatia, always, again.