2nd October to 2nd November
Dubrovnik old town is a mass of red roofs, a medieval film set, as you walk down the main street and admire all the tiny streets to the left with hundreds of steep steps up to the next street of restaurants, and more steep steps, to more restaurants, jewellery shops, Game of throne shops, there are cushions on the sides of these steps for people to sit with a drink, the atmosphere is buzzing, it doesn’t matter if you are there on a cold day or sunny day, in season or out of season Dubrovnik is a buzzing town.
After speaking to the locals, I think in season would be possibly too busy, and although I like busy and buzzy, shuffling along and in huge crowds not being able to stop when you want would be a little claustrophobic, but if that was the only time you got to go, still go…Dubrovnik is CRAZY beautiful.
October the weather has been wet but we have had some amazing sunny days…and awesome storms, we are all huge lovers of thunder and lightning storms, I always say if it’s going to be wet it may as well do it in style :).
I know I say it every time but I fell in love with Dubrovnik big time, the water in the ocean is as crystal clear as it can get, the town is `reeked’ with history, so many restaurants to choose from, I really could live here…every day of our month I was amazed by the view, it’s the view that I really doubt you would ever get bored of.
Everyday we went into town we saw 1 or 2 weddings, what a beautiful setting for wedding photos, the bride’s always got a lot of attention, one best man was getting the bride and groom to jump in with huge tour groups for fun photos….
We had Jake’s 13th Birthday while we were there and we wanted to get him some travel speakers, but couldn’t find anything, so he is going to have to wait for a birthday gift, saying that, he did get a Game of Thrones’ T Shirt, a `Game of Thrones’ keyring from his brother, we had an Indian meal in the old town and got a stunning Birthday cake that consisted of Lime Cheesecake and chocolate chilli cake…from `Sugar and Spice‘ . On the way back from the Indian Restaurant we had another go on the Iron Throne.
He did also get to go to `London Dungeons’ whilst we were in London in August for a very early birthday present so over all he did ok….
13th Birthday in Dubrovnik
We walked the wall twice, and I could have happily walked it everyday that we were there, the views around you, of the red roofs, the ocean, the other towers, of the wall you are on, sighting Game of Thrones filming scenes, like the `house of the undying’…
Our Jacob is a little nervous of heights, so the second time we went up, he took his book `Song of ice and fire’ and we left him in the house of the undying to read whilst we did the wall. He was pretty happy.
Siege of 1991
One element of Dubrovnik would be easily missed and yet is literally very much all around you and literally on the surface. The siege of the city in 91 was of course not so long ago, and so many scars are still on display.
At home a pothole in the footpath would only make you think about road maintenance here they’re most likely from a mortar attack, left, we believe, intentionally as a reminder of the war that for so many locals happened within their lifetimes. On the main street you can still see the faintly stained stones above buildings arches where fires once raged, and chips out of solid stone walls where heavy gunfire shattered masonry and lives alike.
The scars are everywhere, and long may they remain, the city wears them with dignity and honours those lost in it’s defence, they are far more poignant and real than the average memorial and they for a moment transport you back to a frightening time when people couldn’t stroll with ice creams and cameras as they do now.
We didn’t actually realise that the wall ticket gave you entry into the Fort, but the very kind man at the entrance said if we showed him a photo from our camera of us on the wall, we could go in for free…it’s well worth doing both the wall and the fort. If I lived here I think I would have to strike some deal so I could walk them both every day, I would sit somewhere with a book as Jacob did and just read and every now and then look up to admire where I was.
We were later told that while the walls of the fort that face outward, away from the city, are over 10 metres thick and incredibly strong while the main wall that faces the city is only 60cm thick, so should an enemy ever take the fort (or even the commander of the fort rebel) the city cannons would quickly be able to destroy it. You can understand the genius behind this design if you look at the Fort from the City and imagine what it’s guns could do to Dubrovnik if in the hands of an enemy.
A trip on this cable car is a must, unless you are feeling very fit and decide to walk up to the top, quite a few people get the cable car up and walk back down, but we spoke to a couple who walked down in the dark and they said it was a bit tricky..
The view from the top once again is incredible, we were lucky enough to be there when there was an amazing sunset, the views of the islands were quite breath taking.
There was a restaurant up the top `Restaurant Panorama‘ the food looked divine but we already had plans to cook that night, so stayed and admired the views, took a few hundred photos and then took our cable car ride back down. Check out the restaurant link you can use your mouse to pan around and look at the beautiful view.
Game of Thrones
We decided whilst we were in Omis that we would watch `The Game of Thrones’, to get prepared for our time in Dubrovnik. I wasn’t convinced that I would like it, and we were unsure whether to allow the boys to watch it as we had heard how racey it is, but after a lot of shall we sharnt we’s, we decided as long as they were watching with us we would give it a go ..Lucas finds the dragons, the sword fighting and war scenes really good but not so into the the rest..So it’s probably more of a miss than a hit with him..
Grant, Jacob and myself are totally hooked, we watched all seasons in 1 month, now Jacob is reading the first book, which I think I might have to read after him..
So we were watching the show and living in Dubrovnik, it felt like we were living, eating, sleeping `The Game of Thrones’… Can you have too much? Nope – Now we are desperate for season 6.
We were even there for 1 day of filming on the 8/10/2015 but didn’t actually realise until we read about it a day later..Jacob was hoping to grab a part as an extra..think we might need to head to Spain now for that to happen as that is where the filming has been moved to.
Taxi Boat to Cavtat
One day we took the taxi boat to Cavtat, the boat trip took 45 mins, the first thing we did was find a swimming spot for Grant and Lucas, Lucas had been desperate for a swim, we hadn’t swum in Dubrovnik but really should have as we’d had plenty of warm days and the sea was a comfortable 21 degrees throughout.
The snorkelling was very good, water visibility was amazing and the boys felt like they were flying especially as there was a dead tree in the depths off shore (an underwater camera is on our list for Santa!)
After the boys had finsihed their swim we climbed up to the mausoleum, always love to find the great views and this one didn’t disappoint, on the way up Lucas and I watched two squirrels fighting or playing, they were running up and down the trees, jumping from tree to tree, I was happily filming away thinking I would show Grant and Jake when we caught up with them but I had not been filming at all, very annoying.
Outside the mausoleum was a grave yard, it was probably one of the most well kept I have seen, the views were amazing. We went inside the mausoleum and the echo was incredible, every time we spoke we could barely understand each other…would have been a great place for a pan pipe player, would sound really eery.
The mausoleum holds the tombs of a family who died of Spanish Influenza a sad reminder of the world wide pandemic, and an elaborate tomb for a family of four, it could easily have been a memorial for hundreds or thousands.
The water was so clear in Cavtat (and most of Croatia in our experience) standing on the edge of the quay was vertigo inducing, the bottom was a long way down and your brain struggles to realise there’s water between you and it, the hundreds of fish do help though!
1/2 Day Private Boat Tour
We decided to treat ourselves to a half day speed boat tour, we all loved the idea of being on a speed boat. This trip was definitely the highlight of our stay in Dubrovnik and although it was expensive it was well worth it.
Our driver was Maro, he was a very relaxed and sweet guy, he took us to a few Game of Thrones sites after having a chat with Grant, we loved how fast the boat went, Jake and I sat at the front letting the wind blow our hair, and our bodies be thrown around when the boat jumped, it was exhilarating and lots of fun.
We did lots of stops at swimming spots, again the water was amazingly clear. We also stopped at Lupud to have lunch.
Wonderful day would definitely recommend this trip.
Cost 180 pounds
Restaurant & Bars
Our favourite place to sit and have a drink and a treat was the `Gradska Kavana Arsenal‘ this restaurant was gorgeous, it went from the main street through into the inside of the restaurant and out the other side to the port, so you could have beautiful views of whichever suited you that day. It was lovely sitting here and getting the last of the sun…
`The Cele‘ Cafe and bar has a perfect spot to sit and people watch and the food wasn’t bad either.
`Poklisar’ Restaurant in the old port, we had dinner there one night and the food was divine, they also bought out little pate’s and bread to have whilst waiting for our main dishes which is always nice if you are a little hungry.
`Incredible India’ the best Indian food we have had in a long time, the total bill was pretty expensive but we went on Jacob’s 13th Birthday so it was a nice treat.
`Azur’ Restaurant is Asian fusion, I found this place online and was pretty keen on trying something a bit different, we were very happy we found this place, the food was so nice. We ordered a prawn and cashew nut dish that was so divine that Grant wanted to order a second one, for mains we shared two dishes..Crispy skinned Salmon cooked to perfection and Sword Fish on a spicy black sauce, both these dishes were amazing…if we come back to Dubrovnik we will so be finding this Restaurant again, the price was really reasonable for what what we had.
We spent a fair bit of time in the Irish Bar `The Gaffe‘ watching the Rugby World cup..
One day we were sat there waiting for our lunch when a couple walked in, Grant couldn’t take his eyes off this man and after a while said I really think that is Graham Henry, he sat there for a bit longer still looking, eventually I said why not go over there `thinking it’s not going to be him..but it was…what are the chances…he and his wife were writing postcards to their grand children..I took a photo of him with Grant and the boys, it was pretty much the high-light of Grant’s day.
The atmosphere was great but then I guess it was the Rugby world cup and the food was good pub food.
Read grants story on the >ALL BLACKS WIN WORLD CUP<
Location and View
The thing I loved most were the views from the two common balconies just up from where we were staying, you could sit there all day, everything was surreal, it was eerily quite almost all the time, at night whilst watching the sun setting you could just hear the bats clicking past you, the sun shimmering on the ocean, but yet you could see the whole red roofed town `knowing it was busy and bustling down there, it made it feel like you were in a dream, because where you are sat is as peaceful as it gets…
We went inside one quite day, we had admired this building many times during our stay, we knew that one of the scenes from `Game of Thrones’ with Daenerys and the Spice Trader, the Palace being the trader’s home and he comes down the courtyard staircase.
So when we went past and it was really quite we decided lets go investigate, the inside courtyard was even more beautiful than the outside.
There was lots to see including these amazing treasure boxes with fascinating locking systems, there were all sorts of art, a photo gallery of photos taken during the 1991 siege, a little prison and the most amazing state rooms.
Overall I would say visiting Rectors Palace is a must do.
It cost 10 pounds each for Grant and I and the boys were free.
This museum next to Dubrovnik’s Pile Gate has a Titian and thousand year old manuscripts. Stroll around and view the rich collection of jewellery, relics and paintings which are in the Renaissance style.
Walk on crypts, view the arm bones of saints and view some wonderfully illuminated books.
The courtyard is very peaceful and a wonderful change from the busy main street.
When we first arrived on a Friday afternoon there was a mix up with our accommodation and we ended up in a bedsit/studio apartment that was only really big enough for two, we were told that they would sort us out with another apartment but we had to stay in this one until monday, the location was great, just down a few steps and we were right in town, but by sunday we had had enough in this small apartment, we couldn’t open our bags, our dirty washing was pilling up and there wasn’t room to do anything, so we were very happy when we were finally moved, we had to go up further, which meant more steps, but the apartment had two bedrooms, living room, large balcony with sea view and a washing machine.
This was not the original apartment that we had booked, but we were happy here, even though there were lots of steps, it was good exercise for our legs. The apartment was large, had everything we needed, the internet was a bit gittery at times but we got through. The views from the balcony were great, there were two common balcony’s a few doors up from the apartment that had seats etc to admire the views from, they were probably our favourite, every day when we went into town and came home we would stop and take a look.
Cost – $1185 NZD per month (around 518.00 pounds)
View from our living room window