So I became immediately slack at blog posts upon my return to real life. I’ve managed to sort through the majority of my thousand photos, do three weeks of washing, say goodbye to Nana and hello to Sophie, wince through English summer, and get a HEAD COLD. gAH. So I’m at home sick today, Sophie is home too – because of teacher’s strikes across the UK, and we’re watching good-bad tv and I have the time to tell you about Hvar and Dubrovnik! And maybe Venice. And hopefully Athens when I find my photos I’ve lost (might be on Nana’s computer) while watching the unfolding Grecian meltdown re austerity measures.
So Hvar was very pretty, very touristy, very hot, and very relaxing. We spent most of our time wandering around, drinking coffee and wine and people-watching. We climbed up to the fort which had a view over the town and all the stone buildings and terracotta roofs. I think Hvar would be great to go to with friends for a week or so, hang out on the beach and explore the tiny island. Two days wasn’t enough to REALLY relax, but it was nice to see the island side of Croatia. We discovered once we got there that you have to organise in advance so that you know when the ferries go to Dubrovnik. Or you’ll discover, like us, that you have to return to Split to get down to the tip of Croatia!
We headed back to Split on the catamaran, jumped on a bus down the Dalmatia coast, and stopped in Bosnia along the way! There wasn’t much to tell the difference except the border crossing and passport check. It was equally beautiful. But as we drove closer to the border the conflict from previous decades was more noticeable. Bombed out and abandoned houses dotted the landscape – or buildings that had been half repaired. The Dalmatia coastline was badly hit in the conflict. Dubrovnik in particular suffered severe damage from a 7 month long siege by Serbian and Macedonian troops.
Dubrovnik was a beautiful little city, with an old town surrounded by city walls on the edge. We spent hours walking around and visiting the millions of churches and art galleries, peering into shops, escaping the hot sun and complaining about the bad service in cafes. I ate hundreds of garlic butter grilled prawns at this little restaurant at the bottom of the path we were staying on, and we discovered Croatian wine is not all good (and some is wine disguised as sherry…) We learnt a little bit about the town’s history (which is plentiful) and a little more about the direct attacks during the war. We discovered a small gallery of photographs in a tucked away cellar which displayed the damage that shelling caused to the city.
We were in Dubrovnik for two lovely days. I think it’d be great to go back and experience the beaches and some of the day trips to the surrounding countryside. Croatia was STUNNING, and I’d love to go back some day.