BootsnAll Travel Network

Dubrovnik: Themepark

15th of September, and we’d had our fill of doing bugger all in Korcula. Three hours down the coast lay the city of Dubrovnik, often talked up as one of the most beautiful coastal towns in the world, and it was calling our name.

After taking our last two trips on the ferry, we decided to get a bus down south, but 10 minutes after leaving town, found ourselves sitting in a bus, on a ferry, crossing the Adriatic Sea to get to the mainland. Once we made it across, the views from the bus were amazing. Once again, mountains and cliffs came silently screaming out of the gentle blue water, the bus clinging onto them as it followed the curling road. It was the sort of road you might see in a James Bond film, the narrow two lanes hugging cliffs above the ocean, Bond racing side by side with a blonde in a ferrari, before a bus comes slowly round the bend to split them up. Yes, we were the bus, but thankfully 007 was nowhere to be seen.

I had seen pictures of Dubrovnik – pictures showing a beautiful old town of red roofs right on the water front. As we got closer to arriving, I was expecting to round a bend and set eyes on this beautiful town. Instead, the bus passed massive new coastal homes under construction, and we gradually made our way into more ugly, developed areas, before suddenly pulling into the bus station.

Well, I guess this is it. Underwhelming would be a bit of an understatement.

Once again, as we got off the bus, we were set upon by little old women advertising rooms. The oldest, littlest of the lot put out her elbows, edged her way through the crowd, and grabbed my arm. Any attempts by others to ask if I needed a room were dismissed with a wave of the arm and a shove out of the way. We’d found our accommodation.

A short taxi ride later, and we dropped our bags in a room that belonged in your Grandma’s house, a dodgy looking old double bed filled most of it, and small paintings of kids hung on the wall – those ones from the 50’s or 60’s, where the kids have really massive eyes. Our little old lady spoke very basic English, but she was full of energy and excitement. The top of her head reached just past my belly button, and when she found out we were Australian, she threw her arms in the air like she’d just won a marathon, “Australia. Wonderful.” she exclaimed, and kissed Bec on the arm. I’m sure she would’ve kissed her on the cheek, had she been tall enough.She left the room, still celebrating with her arms in the air, and proclaiming “I like these ones.” Not a bad welcome then.

Next day, we walked the 15 minutes down to old town. After spending time in Hvar and Korcula, both of which have lovely little old towns of their own, with narrow alcoves and alleyways weaving around people’s homes, Dubrovnik was, again, underwhelming. The city seemed like any normal city, but with a themepark in the middle that the tourists went to see. It was like walking into Disneyland. There was no personality, no spirit, no texture to the old town, just shitloads of tourists. For lunch we took a seat near the harbour, and watched as boat after boat of tourists came in. They were crammed in like cattle in a truck, and would file out like sheep, blindly following the person in front, and then finding the tour guide holding up their number, so they could be led around the city like dogs on a leash. I know for some people this is the best way for them to travel and see other places, but it’s a fairly depressing thing to watch.

The old town is surrounded by huge walls, 6 feet thick and maybe 30 feet high, and things improved when we walked around the top of this 2.5km barricade. The views both down onto the town, and out over the Adriatic Sea were exquisite. And, strangely, it provided a bit of an escape from the masses.

One full day there was plenty, and our next destination would be an welcome contrast, the sort of place that sucks you in with its beauty, its charm, and its amazing story. We were headed to Sarajevo, Bosnia.

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One Response to “Dubrovnik: Themepark”

  1. Spamouflage Says:

    Funny, Dubrovnik was the highpoint of our trip to Croatia. Getting up early before the tourists arrive, enjoying the view from the fortification, catching a free concert in the Cathedral or leaving on a boat for a daytrip to prestine Lokrum island with its empty beaches (rocks) and botanical gardens. I would highly recommend Dubrovnik. And yes, it’s wall-to-wall (walled city, ha!) tourists but you can plan around that by getting up early or sightseeing in the evening when the cruise ships have left for their next destination.

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