20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog

View from the Belle View Hotel carpark.

Graz

Old Town

Mala Strana in the rain

Mala Strana from above

Side street

Churches

Tunnels

More rain

Harbour

Storm brewing

Outer walls

walls

Terrace on Walls

Monastery

From highest point

overview

Alley

Bell tower

harbour again

Walls at night

Fort

Time to leave!

I told you it was raining


The directions I had from the hostel I booked in Dubrovnik revolved around getting the No 7 bus and ignoring all of the "weirdoes" at the station who will "give you false information and wrong directions". I had to shake off one woman who wouldn't quit trying to sell me her room and wouldn't accept that I'd booked and paid for somewhere already. I got chatting to another guy though and his friend, apparently if England pay Croatia more than Russia do they'll let us qualify for Euro 2008. He too has a hostel "and he's in Lonely Planet", he was waiting for someone off the bus from Sarajevo. There was no sign of the number 7 so when his Canadian turned up he gave me a lift as he said his hostel was in the next street to mine. He showed me around his hostel which was quite nice and then gave me the directions to find the one I'd booked - I wish every city had that kind of weirdo waiting at the bus station.

Dubrovnik, the city once called the Pearl of the Adriatic by George Bernard Shaw, more recently dubbed the Manchester of the Adriatic by Sean Michael Lucas. Nice and sunny when I arrived, I set off to find "Grad" the old town, about 40 minutes walk from my hostel, before the sun set. I think it took Thor about an hour to realise where I'd gone and it rained persistently and heavily from that moment on.

George BS (as his mates knew him) wasn't "BS"ing though, it really is a pearl and the walled old town was everything that I thought Sarajevo was going to be. For reasons known only to the Yugoslav (Serb) army they tried to destroy the old town in'91/2 (my guess is to kill the tourist industry out of spite). I was ultra impressed with what I managed to see before a) it got dark, and b) I got sick of the rain, so returned to base for the evening. When I flicked through the guide that night I realised that I had only just scraped the surface and had much more to see the next day.

I'm not sure about where you are but It's getting dark not long after 4pm here now so I set off early, 1st to the bus station to book a direct bus into Montenegro to avoid the hassle of bus changes at borders, (my old friend from yesterday was there and said hello) then back to the old town. I was really balking at the idea of paying £5 to walk around the city walls, after all that's all it is, no museums or exhibits just a 2.5km walk, but it brightened up for a while so I decided that there might be some good photographs in it and let some moths out of my wallet. Nearly 150 photographs later I guess it was probably money well spent, some of the views were literally breath-taking, especially for someone as good with heights as me. Of course I had to go the opposite way round to the one recommended. I couldn't understand how people who passed me going in the right direction passed me again about a quarter of the way further round until I got back to where I started and found that I'd taken over two hours to walk under 2 miles - got to get my money's worth out of it.

One thing I never mentioned in Split was that my Septic friends that turned up in the hostel said that they were on a ship, the MV Explorer but not the little red MS Explorer that I went to Antarctica on. This ship is a sort of floating US University where they do a term at sea, studying and travelling (I bet it costs mucho bucks) which I hate to say sounds like a really cool idea. Anyway (or as they would say, anyways), they told me that the ship was anchored in Dubrovnik. Of course I forgot all about this until I arrived in Dubrovnik and there it was, a huge blue boat - 800 - EIGHT HUNDRED!!!! - American students in town!!! Or 791 as d left 9 of them in Split.

I'll definitely come back to Dubrovnik, I could easily spend a week or more here, I didn't even start to explore the beaches, but please Thor, bring as much rain as you like but please take the Sherman's somewhere else!

I was woken up at 6am this morning by an almighty thunderstorm, I got up and watched the biblical rain for a while before trying to get some more sleep but eventually gave up as I find a strobe in the eye's and a kettle drum in the ears less than conducive to restful slumber. I waited and waited but it showed no signs of relenting before I had to head for the bus station, so I went to the main part of the hostel to check out and the woman who runs the place insisted that I had a coffee before I left as "the busses are always late when it rains". And then it stopped! I managed to walk all the way to the bus station without troubling my shiny new waterproof pack cover or the supermarket carrier bag I'd rigged up over my day pack. I even got there 20 minutes early. At about the time the bus was due there was an announcement in English as well as Croatian that the bus to Kotor was running 90 minutes late. I got colder and colder as I waited, I lost the feeling in my fingers and thought hypothermia might set in, my old friend popped up again to tell me that the bus to Montenegro was one hour and a half late, thanks. One hour and a half later, still no bus, then a bus did arrive and everyone was telling the three foreigners (I hadn't realised that the other two were) to get on it. It was only going to the border town but no-one was holding much hope for the through bus by now. The information woman agreed that we should get this bus but our tickets weren't valid so she quickly cancelled them and gave one guy a wad of cash back for all 3 of us. We got on and after paying for 3 tickets to the border we all had most of our money back but in a currency that would become useless at the border.



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