We are sitting on the Dragon's Tail of Croatia.
25.05.2013 - 25.05.2013 18 °C
Up and off early this morning at 8.30am. For a new hotel, the Hotel Katarina is yet to perfect the operation of the Dining Room. The food last night was average at best, like me cooking on a bad night. This morning was no better. A shame, because it is a lovely hotel.
We drove in a southerly direction - inland rather than on the coast - through beautiful mountain ranges. There is a small pocket of land that is now Bosnia and Herzegovina - about 11 kms in length. It's on the road Split to Dubrovnik, so we had to cross the border to be allowed access in to Bosnia where we had our Technical Break in a little town called Neum. There are a couple of stories about why this little piece of land became Bosnian. One is that when the city of Dubrovnik was badly damaged in an earthquake in 1699, the Ottoman Empire offered to help financially with the reconstruction of the city.But - they wanted a piece of Croatian land in return - so they acquired this little bit.
Back into Croatia and along the beautiful coastline all the way in to Dubrovnik. We stopped right outside one of the gates in to the walled city of Dubronik - where we joined hundreds of tourists. This would be a nightmare in peak Summer season.
We split up inside the walled city and had some free time before we met up for our guided tour. Fabiana, Red and I found a little restaurant and had some pizza. We had to hurry them up in the end (the chef was taking his time). Back to the designated meeting spot, and the English speaking contingent were met by a young lady called Sandra who took us on a walking tour through the Old City. We visited the Franciscan Monastery which is alongside Europe's third oldest pharmacy - and still operating. The Monastery was a medical assistance post during the Serbian - Croatian/Bosnian War and the Red Cross had a red cross displayed on the roof. This unfortunately made them a target, and the building was shelled 56 times. We were also taken through the Rector's Palace and the Cathedral. At the end of the tour we'd had our fill of history and churches - alot of the information was washing over us. We had a final hour here just to have a walk around and a relax. We saw a couple of weddings take place, one looked Croatian, the other one looked English.
I paid a visit to a tiny little jewellery shop and got talking to a really nice guy in the shop whose father-in-law makes the silver jewellery. I bought a silver pendant (without the chain) which has been made in the tradition of Croatian jewellery. They are copied from originals which are displayed in the Monastery and are hundreds of years old - very special.
At this point it was time for our group of 25 to split in to 3 groups - one group going home, one group going to the Balkans and one group (including Red and I) are going in to Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was time once again to say goodbye to our new friends of only a few days. It's interesting how close you can become in a short period of time. It feels like we've known some of these people for a long while. After exchanging some email addresses and having a final photo shoot in front of one of our 3 different hotels we waved goodbye and made our way to our hotel in Dubrovnik.
We asked at the desk about doing a 1 day cruise to 3 islands tomorrow, but when we went to book we were told that the cruise was cancelled due to the weather forecast. Fair enough! So tomorrow - our free day in Dubrovnik will be spent in the town - we'll have a chill-out.
Our balcony looks out over a beautiful little bay - turquoise blue in colour - lovely. We had a really nice dinner here in the dining room, and an early night. We are travel-weary.