I typically waste no time in heading out for the summer from Milan and this year was no different.
I planned a trip to Croatia, where I have wanted to go since way back in 2005 when Matt Lauer showed up in the Dubrovnik harbor proclaiming it the new 'Riviera'. I thought it was so spectacular on the small screen and real life was just that much better.
|View from my terrace the first morning in Dubrovnik|
I rented an apartment high above the city walls. It had the most amazing views. There was a cost to get those views, which had nothing to do with money.
Stairs. 356 of them. Or something close.
Climbing all of them makes you relatively delirious.
|View on the way down. This was not even a third of it.|
But, the views. They were SOOOOOOOO worth it.
The people of Dubrovnik, and all of Croatia for that matter, must have the most amazing legs. EVER.
The first full day in Dubrovnik I checked out the city walls (amazing- just go early, before the cruise ships) and shopped around the town. I found a Croatian woman doing some hand needlework and proceeded to drop a pile of cash on her wares. I had a beer overlooking the sea at Buza II. I had a sandwich with the most amazing bread at Skola and some pretty terrific ice cream at Dolce Vita.
|from the highest point of the city walls|
|my sandwich from Skola|
|strawberry and lemon ice cream from Dolce Vita|
I spent the afternoon at the beach. Croatia has the most amazing water. Crystal clear and crisp turquoise, blue and green waters. The beaches are more often pebbly than sandy and the water was still a bit cool, but overall the whole setting was pretty much breathtaking.
|the beach next to the East West Beach Club|
In the evening I ventured into a little vine bar, D'Vino that I had read about. I was interested in trying some Croatian wine and using my favorite wine app!
|I had samples of 3 white and 3 reds, all produced in Croatia.|
The second day I took a kayaking tour with Adriatic Kayak Tours. Now, Becky and Samantha will think this is hysterical because they are well versed in my mad kayak skills. Or my total lack thereof. (Thankfully, I'm still alive to write this post...barely.)
However, the guide, Kruno, was totally patient with me and tried to help me learn to improve my technique so that I would actually move forward. I'm clearly missing the gene that just makes the skill of paddling happen. Everyone else looks like they're just breezing along and I'm working my a*^ off.
We took a ferry to Lopud from Dubrovnik. There we geared up and took off in our kayaks...mind you...took off would clearly indicate I went somewhere rapidly, which is definitely not the case. We headed toward Sipan to a little cove where we could swim into a cave and jump off some cliffs.
|Photo from http://www.find-croatia.com/islands-croatia/elafiti.html|
Do you know my family? These are things we just. don't. do.
So, it was a day of firsts. We had to dive down underwater through the cave entrance because it was high tide. Once through, you were in a totally open cavern with a surprising amount of light. Swimming in was fairly terrifying, but I just did it without thinking because I knew I would talk myself out of it. Swimming out I kicked our guide in the head. He was probably so glad to see me go at the end of the day. : )
After swimming into the cave, Kruno showed us several options for jumping from the cliffs into the sea. I was less afraid of jumping and more afraid of climbing to the point from which to jump. But, I just decided to find my way to the lowest point and jumped from there. (Hey, you gotta start somewhere!) I've got the scratches to prove it from the rock climbing on the way up.
After the caves, we kayaked over to a small village where we could leave our kayaks and be taken to another part of the island for lunch. The appetizer included anchovies that were actually good. Then we dined on local grilled fish and it was really delicious.
|A small harbor on Sipan island|
|Our kayaks- could only get a couple of pics when we had our dry bags out!|
We kayaked back to Lopud, where I've never been happier to return to solid ground.
But, it was truly a great day.
|Lopud, as the sun was starting to descend.|
But, the next time I mention that I want to go kayaking...will someone please STOP me!?!??!?!
And then I climbed 356 stairs back to my apartment.
All of my pictures, as always now, are available on Flickr. I've stopped uploading them to Facebook, so if you want to see them, you'll have to check out the link!
Some travel tips and points for others traveling to Dubrovnik, which I highly recommend. It has been one of my favorite places!
--Great article that helped me organize some of what I did from The Telegraph
--I rented this apartment. The woman who rents it out and manages it was really fabulous. Cheaper to rent off the site I've linked than Airbnb, where it is also listed.
--From the Dubrovnik airport, there is a bus company that runs shuttle service to the Pile Gate. It's only about 5 euro. From there, I took a taxi to the apartment so I wouldn't have to find it in the dark. Much cheaper than a taxi the whole way.
--The embroidery and needlecraft pieces I bought were from this shop.