A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Grandad
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A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Grandad » Mon May 16, 2016 7:58 pm

A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Our first visit to Dubrovnik was in April 2012 staying at the Valamar President Hotel, just a 15 minute local bus ride from the old city gate. We really enjoyed the city, the friendly people, the Mediterranean feel of the area, and not least the very agreeable warm weather.
We went again in May last year staying, on that occasion, at the Hilton Hotel which is a very short walk from the Pile city gate. This year we again stayed at The Valamar President that has been upgraded from four to five stars in the intervening years. Not only was the hotel even more comfortable and first class, the wifi which was free everywhere within the hotel was superfast. I always found the speed to be between 70 and 80 mbps. I have never had that broadband speed anywhere in the past.
Local places of interest include many islands to which day trips are available. There is a cable car to mount Srd with splendid views across the old city and the bay. Shorter boat trips along the coast to villages like Cavtat allow you to stay as long as you like and return on any one of several boats of the same 'line'. Last year we hired a car and driver for a day to go to Mostar. Day trips to other Balkan countries are also available. We have done those things and so this was just a week to relax and not venture away from the old city and the Babin Kuk peninsular, the No 6 bus route. As a result picture opportunities were limited.
I will post some pictures with captions here first and then add some further notes after the pictures. I hope you enjoy looking at some of my holiday snaps......


The hotel reception. Sunset from the dining room terrace. Standard rooms and the beach.
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Pano from the jetty around the beach. The Costa Deliziosa with 2404 passengers leaving for Venice.
Mini jet ski like devices to pull you under water.
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A cove within the hotel area. P & O's Oceania departing with Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory blasting from the Tannoy. Perhaps a Brexit spring cruise. ;) Pano from the beach cafe.
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Pile Gate, one of two entrances through the wall to the old city. Cultural posters, the city has many musical and artistic events. Stradun, the main street.
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There is a network of narrow alleys with cafes and boutique shops. More cultural posters. Nice little alley restaurant.
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Brass band in front of the church. Near the Ploce Gate, the other city entrance. View from our table at a harbour seafood restaurant.
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Muted trumpet. Floodlit church roof. Pano of main square.
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Evening lights in Stradun. Cocktails for two. Another alley restaurant.
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The polished stones of Stradun. Leaving the city. Leaving by Pile Gate.
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On an open bus trip, where the cruise ships berth. Looking down on the iold city. Small boats in Orhan Cove.
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Orhan Cove restaurant. In Orhan Cove, yellow suits this time Jay, black last time, do you remember? ;) . Moules Frites, Croatian style in Orhan Reataurant.
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Orhan Cove is a favourite spot, a bit cooler this day. Day before returning, a bit miserable but somewher out there is the Costa Mediterranea with 2278 passengers leaving for Venice. Pano of the tiny airport departure lounge, but they only have afew flights per day. :lol:
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I booked the hotel about 2 months earlier and got 7 nights half board in a superior sea view room for £590 each, booking through British Airways holidays. Checking back I paid £530 each in 2012 for the same deal with Monarch. The week before we departed this time I did a dummy run with BA for the same room, dates, and flights. The price came up at £990 each, room and breakfast only so I got a really good deal.
For travel to Gatwick and return we use a local airport transfers taxi. I pre booked taxi transfers from Dubrovnik airport to hotel and return. Absolutely no problems with either arrangement, both prompt and good service. On the 30 minute return to Dubrovnik airport I chatted to the driver and touched on the war which is still fresh in peoples minds.
He preferred not to talk about the war from his personal viewpoint but he did explain in great detail much of the recent and historical politics behind the events of The Balkans War. Most was entirely new to me so much so that I intend to find an account of the politics of the region that culminated in the 'ethnic cleansing' and genocide that we were all aware of at the time.
Croatia depends on tourism for much of its economy. The war killed this and the driver told me that it took nearly ten years for tourism to Croatia to recover after substatial rebuilding and restoration. The old city of Dubrovnik and the city of Split, a few hours to the north, are both cruise ship destinations. Each will have up to 4 ships call each day and with a total passenger list of 8 to 10 thousand, you can imagine how these small cities a crowded when the cruise ships call.
Evening time is the best time to go into the city for a meal or a drink and just sit and people watch in the cool of the evening. You may have noticed that in many pictures the pavements look wet. It has not been raining, the stone slabs are so polished that they reflect the lights. There are no vehicles in the city so you can wander along Stradun, the main street, and all the little alleys with their restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops, in complete safety.
Croatia is a recent new member of the EU. They will not join the Euro zone but retain their own currency, the Kuna, which is roughly 10Kn to £1. There are some major infrastructure projects that they now hope will proceed to improve their internal road network. They are well aware of the UK referendum and I think it fair to say that people I spoke to from around Europe were mostly of the opinion that the EU is better WITH the UK and they could not really understand how the UK would be better off OUT of EU.
We have decided that we don't need to go to Dubrovnik again but have enjoyed all three visits to this beautiful part of the Dalmatian coast.


:gg:

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Tue May 17, 2016 2:26 am

Very interesting and lovely photos. You're really tempting me to go there! ;) :)

I'm glad you said the stones are polished as I thought they were wet! The sunset is a phenomenal capture, the beach looked lovely, I agree those Sea Zoom things pull you UNDER ;) and the capture of the church was super too. Those little streets definitely look inviting and would be totally perfect for people watching. Liked the photo of all the boats on the dock.

How is the hassle or is there any?

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Grandad » Tue May 17, 2016 9:40 am

Thanks for your comments LLL :up I did wonder if anyone is still looking in. :lol:

There is some slight hassle but not as we know it. At the bus terminal near Pile Gate you may be invited to join a walking tour of the city or trips further afield. At the harbour at the far end of Stradun there are several desks selling trips to islands or just a nearby coastal village.

As almost every alleyway has a restaurant there is some touting for trade but none of it is offensive or 'in your face'. All very friendly. :lol:
:gg:

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Jayway » Tue May 17, 2016 11:23 am

I would really like to visit there, I wondered about the shiny streets too ! The hotel, did you go on the beach ? Which hotel of the three did you prefer ? Was if far from the old town and how did you get there? It looks very steep hills ? Which I do NOT like, Kelebek Hotel in Goreme, I only walked up to once and I really ran out of breath. You did get a good price, for me it would be an expensive trip to a hotel as singles are overcharged, usually I rent apartments. Funny looking bread . . wheres the butter? How much was that dish of prawns ? I take it the mussels are underneath? Was english spoken in many places, like shops ?

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Grandad » Tue May 17, 2016 4:52 pm

Wow, lots of questions Jay ;)
I don't think you read my notes, some questions were answered there. :o
The beach was pebble but they have changed it to shingle but still unconfortable to walk on. You need sandals or flip flops.
On the first and third visit we stayed at the Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel. It was 4 star but has now been upgraded to 5star. We actually thought the dinner menu was better first time we went. Still very good but better chefs previously. Breakfast menu excellent.
Our hotel was in Babin Kuk, a peninsular to the north of the old town. Bus stop right outside hotel entrance and in 15 minutes you are at the Pile Gate into the old town. Bus tickets about £1.20 for one stop or the whole journey, even routes out of town.
That coastline is hilly so towns and villages tend to go up away from the sea. I have great difficulty walking now so I stick to the level or take a taxi to higher places like the cable car station.
I quite like their different breads. Nothing culinary about me so don't ask the differences :lol: Butter in hotel but not in restaurants generally. There is olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table so do as the Italians do and use them with your bread.
The lunch with the prawns and mussels was about £32 for the two of us. That included soft drinks (we are not big alcohol drinkers) and a cover charge that included the bread and a plate of tasty appraisers. We did find that generally they overcook mussels which was a disappointment.
English is learnt at school by most children so it is widely spoken to a good standard almost everywhere we went.
I hope that answers your questions Jay ;)
:gg:

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Ruby Slippers » Tue May 17, 2016 5:12 pm

Great account and photos, Grandad! Thanks for taking the time to post them all. :up Sorry not to be more prompt in answering but I'm suffering with a wrist complaint at the moment but hopefully a visit to the GP tomorrow will improve the situation. :(

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Tue May 17, 2016 6:43 pm

I definitely like how many of todays resorts are designed. Seems now everybody gets a view yet some privacy from the room next door and they really capitalize on beach views and vistas etc.

You're really tempting me to go to Dubrovnik too! If I was closer I'd go in a heartbeat as it looks absolutely lovely however to cross an entire continent and then the entire Atlantic and Europe really adds up the hours. This means that after almost a full day of travel to get to a destination it takes me 1 or 2 days just to recover from the trip. Means I almost have to book for 2 weeks so that I can get 10 days holiday in between. That much travel for a week or 10 days just isn't enough for me to rest and relax.

The photo with the cruise ship definitely look idyllic. I wonder how long the ship actually stops in port?

Good to know the hassle isn't too bad either. I think you always get some hassle in almost any tourist destination (except here as I think most locals tend to avoid tourists ;) and we don't tout any restaurants or businesses at all) but some places are definitely over the top (i.e. Luxor). In a way I don't mind some touting particularly if what is being offered isn't really advertised and I'd otherwise never know about it. I only object when it becomes really in your face and you can't get rid of them.

I get the sense you and Mrs Grandad like seafood anyway - but was seafood kinda featured in Dubrovnik?

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Grandad » Tue May 17, 2016 8:55 pm

@LLL HaHaHa! Yes we do like seafood and in fact our son and Dil are taking us to lunch tomorrow to Chapmans, our fav local seafood restaurant. :lol: :lol:

LLL, you asked "The photo with the cruise ship definitely look idyllic. I wonder how long the ship actually stops in port?"
I actually downloaded the arrivals and deparrtures schedule for Dubrovnik so that I could identify the cruise ship comings and goings. Some arrive early morning and depart next morning giving their passengers plenty of time to see and explore the old city by day and night. Another with 2,500 passengers arrived 8am and departed 13.00. Hardly long enough to go ashore for a coffee. :(
:gg:

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Wed May 18, 2016 12:05 am

I've cruised some and have never figured out why some stops are all day and others mere hours. It invariably seems the most interesting places I'd like to really stop at are only hours whilst stopping in some really very mundane spots gets you an all day pass.

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Kiya » Wed May 18, 2016 1:32 pm

Grandad .....lots & lots of super photos Thank you for uploading/sharing them.

I almost felt being there with you both.

Super sunset/sunrise...............I also know there is super sunrises there, I remember my daughter showing when they were to Croatia on honeymoon.

Although the slabs are polished would that be slippery on wet days ?

Your hotel looks lovely & I do like the old church & the old city wall.

Super ! super ! :a41:

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Wed May 18, 2016 4:16 pm

@Grandad - did you happen to notice if the stained glass window in the church was actually a picture? OR was it abstract? And lastly - do you know if it was original to the building? (I understand these are pretty specific question re: church - I'm just fascinated with old buildings and can ever pass a stained glass window! ;) )

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Re: A return visit to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Post by Grandad » Thu May 19, 2016 7:17 pm

LLL, I can't answer your question I'm afraid. We have been into that church, St Blaises Church, but I don't have any info on the window. Although the buildings in the city look relatively new, most were restored and rebuilt after the great earthquake of 1667 when the city was flattened and 5000 died. You may like to look through the pictures on this link that will show you many exteriors and interiors of buildings in this lovely old city, most of which we have visited.

http://www.dickschmitt.com/travels/Croa ... /churches/
:gg:

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