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Croatia- Part 3: Bosnia, Dubrovnik, Cavtat

4.16.2014

Welcome back for Part 3 of our Croatian travelogue!


After we departed Split, we hit the road for the border- the Bosnian border.  Once Brad got wind of this news, his eyes became the size of golf balls.  Ever the worry wort!  Jan informed us that we would only be in Bosnia for 6 miles but I was excited to get yet another stamp in my passport.  Unfortunately that didn't happen but Bosnia was marvelous none the less.

Hello Bosnia!

What a magnificent day!!!!

We made another pit stop once we crossed into Bosnia.  We grabbed some coffee (hot tea for me) & enjoyed the charming vistas. After warming ourselves with hot beverages, we hopped back on the bus & bid farewell to Bosnia.
enjoying an espresso in Bosnia
A few hours later we caught our first glimpse of Dubrovnik.  This port city is one of Croatia's most prominent tourist destinations.  As is true for much of this country, Dubrovnik is rich in history- so much so that in 1979 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  We made it into Dubrovnik just as the sun was beginning to set & checked in to our hotel, Valamar Lacroma
first peek at Dubrovnik


the beautiful suspension bridge over the bay
After a restful night, we awoke the next morning & enjoyed breakfast in the hotel. This breakfast was particularly exciting for me because: 1) the hotel had pancakes & I was so over cured meats & cheeses at this point 2) we saw a team from the Amazing Race!  Now I understand this may come across as a fan girl moment but (despite what my husband says) was completely calm at the time.  Story time!

Brad & I were finishing up breakfast when he made a remark about a couple of backpackers entering the dining room.  I found this odd considering we were in a five star hotel.  I told him there was no way they were authentic backpackers because of this fact.  Then I noticed the couple.  Picture real life Barbie & Ken.  This confirmed my suspicion that they were indeed not true backpackers, as the male half had highlighted, overly gelled hair & the female was sporting beauty pageant hair & makeup.  As Barbie came sachet-ing by, I noticed she was wearing a fanny pack.  Um... no.  But something caught my eye about it & then I realized it had a red & yellow stripe & a team number.  Instantaneously I recognized this as a sign of the Amazing Race candidates.  I told Brad the only backpackers that would be dressed as such & staying in a hotel like ours would be ones that were on national television.  Next thing we knew the camera crew was entering the dining room!  Of course I had to confirm my suspicions & asked Ken & Barbie as we were leaving if they were on The Race.  Twits had some sort of sarcastic remark so needless to say I won't be pulling for them next season...

As Brad made his mortified crawl out of the dining room, I informed him we would be spending the day hunting Phil all over the city.  Clearly he was ecstatic... After breakfast, we hopped aboard the bus & headed to the Old City for another walking tour.  This local guide wasn't as phenomenal as our last but it didn't take away from the majesty of "The Pearl of the Adriatic".
doing as the locals do- sipping from a drinking fountain
countless cafes lined the marble streets
 After we covered the lower streets, our guide took us up to the fortress walls of the Old City.  This made for the most stunning sights of the city.  We climbed to the highest point & wandered the entire length of the walls.  Our local guide informed us that because of the exorbitant rent in the Old City, most of the locals have actually moved outside the Old Town.  Today, residents inside the walls are mainly seasonal transients from other countries.  I found her accent exceptionally hard to decipher & thanks to the poor quality of our whisper ear transmitters, we were unable to hear half of what she said anyway.  She did mention that yet again, HBO hit up Croatia by filming more Game of Thrones scenes in Dubrovnik.  After the tour concluded we had a free afternoon to wander the city.  We ambled through countless alleys, down to the water, & even rode the cable car to the top of the mountain.  Talk about breath taking!



I was so jealous of all the citrus trees covered with fruit throughout the country!

 


Made it to the top of Old Town



At the top of the mountain overlooking Old Town runs a cable car to Napoleon's fortress.  We walked out of the city walls & bought a ticket & made our way to the top.  We had a panoramic view of all of Dubrovnik.
 After we wandered around the city for a bit, we decided to grab some lunch.  Our guide had recommended a restaurant with traditional Bosnian cuisine.  This sounded like an excellent option & we found our way to Taj Mahal.  Now believe me when I say this was by far our best meal throughout the whole trip.  I only wish we could have made a return trip- like everyday...  While absolutely everything on the menu looked delectable, I went with a dish called 'The Cheery Bosnian'.  It consisted of two pieces of veal wrapped around grilled veggies & lots of feta cheese.  It sat atop a bed of corn patty & diced tomatoes.  It also had a small baked potato topped with yoghurt.  My goodness! My mouth is watering just thinking back on the deliciousness!  Brad decided on their version of a gyro that was stuffed with steak, feta, & red onions.  We also chose an order of homemade flat bread.  If this is traditional Bosnian food, then I'll be making my next trip to Bosnia.  The cafe was charming & the staff was super friendly.  They also brought our check in a cute little box.  With heavy hearts & full bellies we departed Taj Mahal & headed back out.  After a bit more wandering, we finally caught a local bus back to the hotel to relax for a bit.
 
The next day the tour group had planned an optional excursion to Montenegro.  Brad & I once again opted out & decided to spend the gloomy day in Cavtat, a small village about thirty minutes down the coast.  We boarded another local bus & made our way west.  The village was really small compared to the 'big towns' we'd grown accustomed to the past few days.  Per usual, most of the shops & restaurants were closed.  We did find another couple of beautiful churches & climbed up the steep hillside to a mausoleum.  After wandering through the few sites in town & having no luck finding sushi at a sushi restaurant, we settled on one of the few open restaurants for lunch.  We decided we had exhausted all options in Cavtat & made our way back to the bus stop.  We rounded the corner just in time to see our bus taking off.  Most days the bus comes every fifteen minutes but as our luck would have it we hit it just in time for the hour and half break.  Luckily we found an open tourist center across from the bus stop & kindly talked the employee into letting us hang out in the lobby, out of the rain.  Thankfully time passed quickly & our bus arrived to carry us back to Dubrovnik.  We had a mellow last evening in Dubrovnik before packing up our bags to head to the capital city, Zagreb!
 
 
 
 



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