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CROATIA | Thursday, 8 December 2011 | Views [886]

Old City, Dubrovnik from the wall

Old City, Dubrovnik from the wall

Dubrovnik is only a few hours from Mostar but in an entirely different world.  The weather gets warmer, orange trees are ripe with fruit and the Adriatic is a lovely shade of blue.  There are no bombed out hulks of buildings, although Dubrovnik had its own bit of war in the turbulent 90s. And a couple of devastating earthquakes. But it is wonderful today.  If Dubrovnik didn't exist someone would have to invent it. 

The first thing you notice about the World Heritage Old City of Dubrovnik, aside from its massive, fully encircling walls, are the church steeples.  Gone are the minarets of Bosnia.  Church bell carillons replace the cry of the muezzin.  Croatia is predominantly Catholic and the Christmas decorations are in full bloom.

This may be the most charming place in Europe; Venice without the canals, Paris sans the attitude.  The Old Town is pedestrian only and we were lucky enough to rent a 3 room flat for 50 euros a night, right in the center.  Best of all we don't have to climb any of the thousands of stairs leading up from the Stradun, "main street."

Obviously swimming is out of the question in December and few boats still run to the outlying islands.  Which means there are few tourists and we pretty much have the place to ourselves.  We can wander the narrow alleys, always confident we will emerge on a recognizable square.  We didn't see another person in the hour it took us to circumnavigate the city walls.  The museums were all but empty and the almost-winter sunlight makes for perfect for photos.  Almost everyone speaks pretty good English.  Seafood restaurants abound but the prices are at the high end of reasonable.  You can't have everything!


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