I am convinced that Dubrovnik is Croatian for “gouge”. I found and drink roughly twice the prices elsewhere in Croatia. Ditto taxis. And I didn’t feel the Dubrovnik card to be very good value, in hindsight.

Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. Dubrovnik itself is the stunning jewel of a fortified city you’ve probably heard it to be. Massive walls, high turrets, humungous gates. Dubrovnik is, as they used to say, all that. Everyone should visit–once.

Unlike earthy Split, there’s a bit of a Disney vibe to the place. It’s all nearly perfect. It doesn’t feel very lived in (though, in fact, a surprising number of folks live within the fortified city). And the locals, like their Splitani cousins up the coast, are cheerfully capitalistic. But they’re also solidly over the line between attentive and aggressive. Be prepared for touts: have lunch here, have a coffee here, buy this here. Dunno about you, but tout me and you’ll never get my kuna $€£¥. Be ready to answer my questions and you often will.

You’ll notice there’s not a lot of fat locals too. That’s because of the climbing: Dubrovnik is wedged against 1200m steeply graded hills. My guesthouse was 106 steps above the Ploçe Gate. Were I not able to strap my bag to my back for the climb, I’d’ve died dragging a suitecase up, step by step. Anyone with a mobility impairment–or vertigo–would’ve been hooped. Having said that, by the end of day one I was sort of used to them. Sort of.

One of my days I spent on Lokrum island, a 15 minute ferry ride away. You should too: there’s lovely water, a salt lake (no Mormons), lots of chatty peacocks, and some nice footpaths. There’s one tiny sand beach; the rest are actually quasi-flat rocks upon which one can (sort of) stretch out. There’s a reason clever folks bring a beach cushion with them. Like I did.

After checking out of my hotel, I had 7 hours before my flight to Zagreb. So I hit the old town hard and took the funicular up to 1200m above the city–worth the $16 for the views (and much cooler air). It was a nice last tourist thing to do; it ensured the last taste Dubrovnik left in my mouth was a sweet one.

I went back to my hotel, waddled down 103 steps with back loaded up like a Sherpa, took a local bus to the depot (again, like boarding the last helicopter out of Saigon), and got the bus to the airport. As I entered the terminal I heard “wood mester Jun Agun come to counter 5 please?”. Nothing exciting like an upgrade: the had been a equipment change and my seat hcad changed. Rather quickly I was in Zagreb, where it was a brisk 20C when we landed.

About John P Egan

Learning technology professional.
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