4th of July weekend was almost upon us and I hadn’t yet decided where I was going to go. That’s the beauty of living in Europe. Everything can be planned in a few short hours and there’s planes available all the time to practically anywhere.
The week before the fourth I decided I wanted to see a medieval city, you can’t go wrong with that! Dubrovnik Croatia is pretty close to Naples and therefore became my first choice.
Here were the options. From Naples (on the front side of the boot about halfway up) I could drive to Bari (which is on the other side of the boot directly across from Naples, roughly 2.5 hours) and take a Ferry over to Croatia, or I could fly out of Rome.
Unfortunately there were no direct flights from Naples and all of them were 20+ hours and over $800 (boooooo) so Rome it was. The cheapest ticket was $139.00 round trip, but mine was slightly more expensive because I ended up waiting until just a few days before to book.
I decided against the Ferry because I would have had to leave Sunday around noon to come back to Bari and we got an extra day off at the last minute so it made more sense to fly back later on Monday (More time for exploring!)
Now that we have the schematics out of the way, my friend M and I left early Friday morning for Rome and parked our car up there for 4 euros a night, which was in total 12 euros for 4 days, also not so bad. You can google long term parking for Rome airport for many available parking lots. They provided a shuttle to the airport and within just a few minutes we were through customs and ready for our flight.
One thing you’ll find out about traveling Europe is that NONE of the flights post on time. Its sometimes frustrating but if you are supposed to be boarding in 10 minutes and you still don’t know which gate to go to, don’t worry, it will work itself out, it always does..
Did you know that Dubrovnik Croatia went to war with the Yugoslav People’s Army in 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence? This is a fact I somehow missed when I was growing up and it wasn’t until recently, when I was doing my research to visit Dubrovnik, I even found out about the war.
In October of 1991 Serbians/Montonegrians which made up the Yugoslav people’s army began an attack on the Medieval City of Dubrovnik. The picture below is posted right inside of the city and shows where all of the grenades landed when they were thrown at the city. As you know the Croatians won the battle and still maintain independence. Montenegro also claimed independence in 2006.
After on an hour plane ride we were there and using Air B & B found an awesome place to stay and Sanja our host, even picked us up at the airport to take us to her house. While driving us there she told us her version of the war. She was only 14 years old when it began. Her father sent her out of the city to keep her safe. As we were driving along the road leading toward the Old Town she showed us battered houses that still haven’t been rebuilt since the siege. Plus she said all of the houses there now were not the ones she once knew.
She knows some of the families whom they belong to. Wonder what that would be like? Being forced out of your city as just a young girl and when you return seeing all of the destruction and everything you once knew gone at the hands of your neighboring countries. To this day she still has not visited Serbia or Montenegro and I think holds a small grudge against them for the devastation they caused. Who can blame her?
After throwing our backpacks (and suitcase) in the room and changing quickly, we were walking to the old town (15 minutes away) to enjoy the evening. On most websites everyone commented that the seafood is absolutely amazing and a must try. Our top choice was Wanda #8.
When you reach the old town main entrance you are in what is called Pile Square. To get to Wanda #8 and a slew of other restaurants all within the old town you want to walk inside to the main area. On any small side street make a left, this will bring you to the street where all the restaurants are. Wanda #8 is a little farther down but on a few minute walk.
Unfortunately they were booked for the whole evening so we ended up dining at a place called Moby Dick (owned by the same people as Wanda #8) and we couldn’t complain. It was an extremely delightful evening.
I taught M how to peel prawns, meanwhile a young girl from Norway sitting with her family next to us, blew us both away with her skills. Motivation to ensure my kids become worldly as they are growing up.
You must also try all of the Croatian wines. They are so delicious. We had a bottle of Prosip which is from Dubrovnik. Its expensive, but most things in the Oldtown are, so we had a grand time drinking it.
Afterwards it was time for a show by the Dubrovnik Symphony. They put on free shows on the weekends, as well as play at other events. On the 4th they played inside Old Town at the Cathedral. It was beautiful inside and had great acoustics for the instruments. we arrived early to get decent seats. It filled in fully right before the show so if you plan on going, arrive 1/2 hour prior to the performance, if you want to sit. It doesn’t fit that many people.
Afterwards we walked through some of the shops and bought some art and candied orange peels (SO good, must try!) The scent of the city is lavender and they sell different forms of it in most shops.
We also stopped at a wine bar called Dvino on one of the side streets to the right after you walk into the city. They have quite a variety there and were able to choose good wines for us just based on a couple of questions. Since its down a side alley you can also sit outside on the steps to enjoy your wine should you so choose. (You can also find all of the places listed with a smart phone GPS, we didn’t have much trouble finding out top choices).
There are actually 2 beaches right by her house and a grocery store within 3 minutes walking, and with a bottle of Dubrovnik wine we strolled down to one of the beaches and swigged wine from the bottle while we perched on a small rock face listening to the water lap against the beach.
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.