Croatia – The Homeland

1 Sept 2017, 21:42 Croatia Time

We arrived today in Dubrovnich, Croatia around 9:00 a.m. Croatia time.  The city is very beautiful.  A huge expansion bridge, many red tile roofs, and an old part of the city that is entirely enclosed in a huge city wall made of fortified stone.  It was, in a word, amazing.   It is somewhere we definitely want to go back to and spend more time.  

Tips for travelers, if you are in the market to go to Croatia: 

1.  Go early in the morning if you can, and avoid the time when so many cruise ships are in port.  If you can’t go early, go later, when they are all gone.  The crowds are pretty intense, but that’s part of being anywhere popular in Europe anyway.  If you can’t handle crowds, just avoid Europe – it’s crowded but wonderfully amazing.  We love it.

2. Wear good walking sandals or tennis shoes.  The castle / city walls are pretty steep in places.  You want good footings or you will have a tendency to tire easily and perhaps fall.  A good pair of Teva or other such sandals, or a good pair of just about any good tennis shoes will do the trick.

3. The money is the Kuna.  Nearly all the shops take Euros as well.  There are many exchange shops in the old town, and in the newer parts of the city.  The exchange rate is pretty good, and if you get to an exchange shop, you can exchange any currency you have for Kuna – not just euros.  I traded $5 American for about $23 Kuna today.

4. Try the local beer.  Always try the local beer, wherever you go.  It’s like an experience.  It was a good not-too-hoppy ale variety, draft, and it was pretty inexpensive.  Tasty, too.

5.  Find a souvenir at either a handmade shop, or try the farmer’s market, which is in the center of the old town.   They sell a large assortment of lavender products, which I love, as well as hand painted items, maps, etc.  Very cool area.

6.  If you want a sandy beach, go away from the old town.  All the beaches there are rock, but the water is crystal clear and fabulous.  It was cool but not cold, and folks were diving off the old town walls (the lower portions) into the surf.  It looked amazing.

7.  We highly recommend the espresso, as we do in most countries in Europe.  They just know how to make it, and they make it good.

8.  Don’t book a cruise-based excursion.  You can simply take the shuttle bus to Old town, and then catch any number of inexpensive and great tours from there.  Alternatively, you can simply explore the Old Town on your own.  It took us several hours, and it was well worth the walk and the low cost to traverse the city walls.  

9.  Don’t worry about taking water with you if you go on the city walls.  The less baggage, the better.  Some of the passageways are very steep and narrow, with folks going in both directions.  Some only allow one way.  There are 5-6 spots on the wall itself that sell water, ice cream, food, and colas.  Just buy one there.  They all take Euros.

10.  Take. Your. Camera.  OMG – what views you have from the tops of the city walls and from the street view.  It was simply indescribably beautiful.

11.  Go into the numerous churches and see the sights.  Be sure to take off your hats and sunglasses.  Light a candle in honor / memory of someone you love.  Ours today were for Millie and Josephine.  Millie’s father came from this area of the world, and since she was never able to come back herself, we lit a candle today and had some good thoughts for her.

12.  Enjoy it.  Experience it.  Don’t get overwhelmed by it.  There is so much to see just in the old city alone.  Take your time and enjoy the sights.

13.  If you get hot, or thirsty, go to the fountains and get a cool down.  No, don’t jump in.  Just splash some water on your face and refill your bottle.  It was clean clear water and very refreshing for us.

All in all, this was one of our favorite stops on this holiday.   We will be back.

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