Plitvice Lakes National Park

(This is the sixth post of our Croatia-Budapest Trip, June-July 2014.)
Saturday, June 21

In the morning we showered en suite in the tiny, but immaculate shower, packed up (easy to do with half my clothes gone) and thought we’d go up the street to get some baked goods at the bakery the landlady mentioned.  And on our way we would take half the luggage.  This prompted an outcry in Croatian from the “mother” to the English-speaking daughter.  We kept saying “one minute. . . one minute” like she could understand our English. Somehow she and I both thought if we spoke more emphatically in our native language that the other one would understand.  This never works, but goes on all the time.

Split Laundry

I stood at the front door, checking out the laundry hanging over our heads until the daughter dressed and peered down from her second floor stair landing, where we explained that we’d be right back in a minute and were just going to get some breakfast up the street and drop our luggage at the car.  “Okay!” she said, then explained this all to her mother, who then made the universal symbol of “carry on,” a hand gesturing towards the front door.  We were free to go.

Bakery Cookie

Luggage stowed, we entered the bakery, the only ones in there, and started looking around.  I immediately bought a bunch of the cookies (above) which tasted like those round nutty cookies at Christmastime, but without the annoying powdered sugar all over them.  We bought some breakfast-looking breads, then Dave, seeing a loaf with a chunk cut out, wanted some bread.  He pointed and asked with his fingers indicating a small bit.  By this time, she was tired of us.  She took a knife and whacked off a piece, rolling her eyes as she held them out and said “This one or this one?”  He chose the small one and we skedaddled.  Split is a working town, with little patience for American tourists, we decided.  We paid our bill, stowed the rest of our luggage and left town, heading for the A1 going north.

Sveti Rock

Heading up the A1, we saw this interesting formation: Sveti Rok.

Sveti Rock up close

As we got closer, it morphed into this.  We continued on, through tunnels and open road until we could stop for gas.

Auto Stop Croatia

These freeways stops (this one at Gornja Ploca) had all sorts of interesting things to snack on:

Grocery Store Spaghetti Candy

Grocery Store KitKat Candy

I bought this one for my granddaughter because her nickname is KeKe (pronounced like this candy).

Grocery Store Chips

Paprika is the national flavor, we decided.  We shared a bag once at some random lunch and it tasted like barbeque-flavored chips.

Grocery Store Tacco Chips

“Taccos.”  I love how we come off as Americans.

Grocery Store Big Pep Chips

I finally did buy this one, as I couldn’t resist the title “Big Pep.”  (I could use some of these every afternoon about 3 p.m.)  After a while, we turned off the A1 onto Highway 52, heading towards the interior, leaving the coast behind.

Big Lake Croatia

The landscape in this area is less Mediteranean, more rolling meadows with rivers and lakes.

Croatia to Plitvice Rt 59 scenery

PansionCafe Croatia

It was lunchtime, so we stopped at the roadside restaurant/hotel.

PansionCafe Croatia_1

Nobody was home, it seemed, but we needed to stretch our legs and after all, all the doors were open.  Eventually we were served and after a few more minutes, they brought us these:

PansionCafe Croatia_sandwiches

We sat outside in the car and enjoyed our lunch (we left the plates there, of course) and then continued on towards Plitvice Lakes National Park.

Plitivice Map from House Tina

We decided to begin at the lower section of the park and walk our way to the upper section, following the well-traveled trail, as shown by the map, above.  The lower box also shows the changes in elevation, but even after driving all morning after a pitiful night’s sleep, we didn’t find the hours we spent in the park to be strenuous.

Plitvice1_first view

We walked in from paying for the tickets (not cheap) and to the overlook, where we saw this sight: Veliki Slap, or Big Waterfall.  It’s the tallest in the park.  See that line of tourists about halfway up on the left side, all lined up to see this?  That’s where we are headed.

Plitvice1_wide view

The descent is via a sloping, switch-backed path, down through the forested slope.

Plitvice1a_tourists on path

We have now joined the line up of tourists as only a few can pass around the corner at a time, but we endure.

Plitvice1c_burbling brook

Plitvice Large Falls DAEESEOkay! We made and got our picture besides, thanks to a skilled visiting tourist who knew how to meter a photo for proper exposure.  I hope I did theirs okay, too (a time-honored tradition: trading cameras to take shots of strangers).  We headed back up the boardwalk, following the hordes, but thankfully so far, no tour guides carrying flags leading a pack.

Plitvice2_green lake

The colors are amazing, changing from a jade green to a teal to deep blues.  We are happy to be here on a not-rainy day, as we’ve been following the weather forecasts ardently, moving the trip to Plitvice up a day, just in case.  We had gorgeous weather on this day.


The park is a series of lakes and waterfalls in between each lake, and near each is a sign like this showing where you are (a little arrow on the right, which is hard to see) and the elevation.

Plitvice2b_view up the valley

Looking up the canyon.

Plitvice3_two toned again

Plitvice4_little fallsThis is a still shot of the place where I shot the video (below).

Plitvice4a_burbling waters

Plitvice5_still water

Plitvice5a_cove and boardwalk

The boardwalk crosses over one of the lakes, and there was a pathway to head up to the top of the canyon walls, passing by this cave.  We decided to head on up the lakes (bypassing this gaggle of tourists).  We realize that by arriving at 2 p.m, we were going to hit crowds, but the park is so huge it wasn’t a big problem.  But Dave is a blue-sky kind of guy and will press on ahead just so his view is not the backside of multiple tourists, but a more open landscape.  By bypassing some groups, he was able to see the natural surroundings that were quite frankly, phenomenal.

Plitvice5b_another sign



We stood here and took about five shots each of this, tilting our cameras this way and that for the exposure in order to get the blue below and the jade above.

Plitvice6b_DAE walking past falls

Seeing Dave’s backpack was often my view as he kept pressing on. . . and I kept stopping.  (However, the photographs on this blog were taken by both of us.)  I did catch him once and got him to pause enough for the next two photos.

Plitvice DAE

Plitvice ESE

Plitvice6c_lake view

Plitvice6d_falls view


At one point the trail led up into the forested landscape, where I found some dainty wildflowers.  We were headed to Jezero Kozjak, a big lake central to the park, where we would catch a boat ride to the next part of the trail.

Plitvice7a_boat ride pano

View from the front of the boat, where we sat.

Plitvice7c_boat on lake

Another boat passed us going the other direction.  Our tickets could only be used for one boat ride, otherwise I might have been tempted to get on another going the other way, and then another taking us to where we were now headed: towards those little set of falls, straight ahead of us (below).


Plitvice13c_lakeviewA panoramic photo of the lake. The lake was serene, the day was not hot, but warm, the crowd on the boat was relaxed and soon scattered as we reached the dock.  Most of the time I felt like Dave and I were in our own little world, being English speakers in a foreign country.  We could sit at tables close by our neighbors at dinner but since we couldn’t understand them (and we assumed that they couldn’t understand us), a cushion enveloped us as we traveled where we didn’t speak the language.  And it had the added benefit of creating a deeper bond between Dave and I.


The first few days in Croatia, we would walk side by side and not speak to each other.  It wasn’t because we were angry or anything, it was that we were just out of practice.

Plitvice8a_falls on moss

At home we would spent most of our days in our own “caves:” he doing his work and me doing mine, and then after dinner I’d head up to my study to grade or even get a few minutes of quilting in, and he’d stay downstairs and read, grade or watch TV.  Parallel lives that were now blending into one life: that of a middle-aged couple on the road together, creating memories and sharing experiences.


Plitvice8c_walkway onto partII

The ferry landed on the left side of an inlet, and we stayed on, as it crossed over and dropped us off on what looked to be an island, although we knew it just the other side of the lakes.  As it turned out, we went backwards from everyone else.  Fine by us.

Plitvice8d_forested path

As we walked along this path, a large group, complete with parents pushing baby strollers, came walking towards us.  One older man detached himself from the group and went ambling off to my right, in between the trees.  Usually good tourists keep to the trail, so I realized he was after something else.  Sure enough, he stopped, looked at his group, unzipped his trousers and took Nature’s call.  Unfortunately, he didn’t look DOWN the trail, so Dave and I caught the full visual image.  We focused our gaze back to the left to see others in the group looking over at him, shaking their heads, smirking.  We were smirking, too.  Some things cross all language barriers.


The group passed us by and the trail changed to boardwalk, as it was headed over marshy land at the edge of the next little series of lakes.  There are twelve in this upper section, but by taking the path we did, we would only see about half of them.

Plitvice9b_DAEs footsteps on path

Plitvice9c_path again

Plitvice10_path and falls

More falls:


Because we live in a dry, quasi-desert country, all this water is amazing.  Gallons and gallons and gallons falling over moss-covered embankments.  We loved the sound and so took more videos here than any other place on our trip.




After a while the water splashing on this rock began to remind me of hail, the fat drops of water scattering and chattering over the surface of the water. I could hardly tear myself away, but we still had much to go and the light was changing, indicating late afternoon sun.

Plitvice10e_blue bug

Dave snapped this blue little insect in mid-flight. Still can’t tell if it is a flying buzzing thing, or a tiny butterfly.  I think the former.


Plitvice11a_wide falls

Plitvice11b_wide falls


Even the lichen on the bark is beautiful here.  We won’t see such things in our neck of the woods.


Plitvice12a_more falls

Plitvice13_path to lake

This path leads back to the boat dock, where we will take a short ferry across and then up to the trams to carry us back to the beginning.

Plitvice13a_rushing watersIt’s hard to leave such a gorgeous place.  I’ve seen pictures of this in winter and the frozen landscape is also beautiful.  (I just wouldn’t want to be here when it rains.)

Plitvice13b_ferry and trail sign

We board the ferry to cross over to the other side of this narrow part of the lake.

Plitvice14_steps up to tram stop

And head up the path to the trams, which we think will carry us back to the beginning.  We start chatting with a couple next to us, waiting on the bench.  They are from Russia and he is a photographer, carrying a tripod and bag of gear.  Their English is pretty good (our Russian is non-existent) and we chat to each other.  Of course, we are dying to get their views on the Russian takeover of Crimea–a real first-hand viewpoint, but I don’t think it’s polite to grill your benchmates on politics, so we talk about places they’ve been, places they liked a lot (many in the US).  The tram comes and they board the first car and we board the second.

Plitvice Looking Up Canyon6

The tram takes us about halfway down the canyon, near the hotels onsite, and drops us off.  We have a bit of a walk, and it’s late afternoon and we’re a bit tired.  So we are passed a lot by faster-moving younger people, but we still manage to stop at most of the viewpoints, to look down on where we’ve been.

Plitvice Looking Up Canyon5

Plitvice Looking Up Canyon4

I wonder if the larger lake at the top of this photo is where the boat crosses.

Plitvice Looking Up Canyon3

The boardwalk that crosses the lower lakes, just above the Big Waterall.  There are steps from this vantage point down to the hidden cave.  No way I’m doing that, and I think Dave feels the same.  We still have to find our hotel, find dinner, and get settled before we can call it a day.Plitvice Looking Up Canyon2

Plitvice Looking Up Canyon1

Our final view of the canyon.  The Russian couple kept our pace, and we saw them again at the big sign at the entrance, where he took our photo (below).

DAE ESE Plitvice Lakes

Next up: House Tina and a real, home-grilled dinner

Split — in Croatia

(This is the fifth post of our Croatia-Budapest Trip, June-July 2014.)
Friday, June 20

Today started out with getting our car rental, finding our way out of town, then “Where’s the map?”
“I don’t have the map.”
“Yes, you do.  It was on your nightstand at home.  You were supposed to bring the Budapest book and the map.”
“Well, I don’t have the map.”
“Then we’ll just have to buy one.”

At the next travel stop, we purchased a nice spiral-bound book of Croatia/Slovenia.  Not as cheap as the one off of Amazon purchased before the trip, but that was home on a nightstand in a whole other life.  And here’s where the tourists start to make a shift.  Although certainly still bleary-eyed from the regimen of no sleep (World Cup Soccer issues) the jet-lag is receding and we no longer have the urge to find a place to lie down in the middle of the day.  Good thing, for today we are driving up the Croatian coast to Split.

Tudman Bridge

We pass over the Tudman Bridge on the outskirts of town, and wind our way up to the coastal road.  We go through Border Patrol twice — once for Croatia into Bosnia, and then from Bosnia back into Croatia.  We passed.

Tudman Bridge from the air

Here is a picture of the Tudman Bridge from the air, as we were flying into Dubrovnik a few days ago.  You can see the cruise ship parked there (one of their “parking spots.”) Which reminds me to tell you that one of the best things we had to eat for an airplane snack was on Air Dolomiti, where they served us chocolate pudding that was out of this world.  And gave us cute little aqua spoons, which I lost in Zagreb.  Bummer.

Pudding on Italian Airline


After traveling a few whiles on the coastal road, we said “forget this,” and turned inland to travel on Croatia’s nice new superhighway, complete with tunnels.


And more tunnels.


Last shot of a tunnel, but I like how most all of them have names.

Split_hill land feature

After about three to three-and-one-half hours we got off the expressway, turning eastward, heading toward the coast and to Split, where this interesting landmass caught our eye.  We felt like much of the landscape was very much like home: a Mediterranean mix of hills, rocks, some trees.  I’d printed out directions off of Google Maps at home, and with those and the cool map we’d bought, I managed to get us to the front door of our hotel, but there was no parking.  Did I mention that the driver likes to park only in legitimate parking places (and that we’ve had some discussions in our prior travel about parking preferences)?  I suggested that we double park, briefly, while he went and checked with the hotel where to park, but instead we took an interesting detour up and around in the hills of Split and I swear drove on a one-way street but that could be under some discussion but I digress, until we finally looped our way back around to that same place where the navigator had suggested we double-park and check in with the hotel.  We did just that this time.

I sat in the car, and Dave rang the bell.  Soon he was followed by a woman in harem-style pants, pointing and yelling at her father who had walked quickly up the street to move his car, placed there in reserve for our car.  Just as he was pulling out, another car about eight spots away from our intended parking place started to pull out, and she asked them to hold on while he drove around and got that one (“another guest is coming”) she said.  She then jumped in front of our car, her back to the city wall along the street and motioned us forward, forward, more, forward.  Dave gunned it and we were both thinking that we were going to chop off her legs with the front of the car, but then she suddenly threw up her hands, and Dave slammed on the brakes.  (That’s why he’s the driver–good job, Dave.)  She grabbed my suitcases and strode down to the other parking place, releasing that car to pull out, then standing in the spot (with my suitcases) while her father looped around.  Once this was completed, she smiled and welcomed us to Hotel Vrlic, which of course I can’t pronounce.

Hotel Vrlic Walkway

The gate opened onto this short course of steps.

Hotel Vrlic front door

And we headed toward the front door.  Our room was at the end of a hallway, and she unlocked the glass door.  Inside there was a bathroom on the right, with sink, toilet and shower, and on the left was our bedroom.  We checked in, got the map from her and headed out to see the ancient part of Split.

Split_Golden Gate2

We made a stop first to pick up some supplies at the drugstore, and finally found our way to here: The Golden Gate of Diocletian’s Palace.  Diocletian was a Roman Emporer who decided to retire here at Split at the end of his life.  Not a great guy in terms of humanitarian standards (killing and torturing Christians for a start; read all about it in Wikipedia) he build this jumbo palace right here on the edge of the coast, which over time was taken over and integrated into the city of Split.

Split_Golden Gate

We entered into the palace through this gate and walked through narrow passageways (below) until we arrived at the main square.

Split walkway

Split_Wedding Peristyle

We’d arrived at this main square, called the Peristyle, just at the time that a bridal couple were greeting their guests, who were serenading the couple with a lovely, throaty version of “You are the Best Couple Ever in Croatia and Thank You for Not Scheduling Your Wedding During One of Croatia’s World Cup Soccer Matches,” or something like that.  I love the dude dressed up as a Roman Soldier, over on the left.  For a few kuna, you, too, can pose with him.


A little flag waving made it all seem much more spirited.  This is the “centerpiece of Diocletian’s Palace,” says my guidebook.  The Entry Vestibule is just behind the bridal couple, and to the left of this photo is the Cathedral.  Underneath the balcony are some stairs down to the cellars, which is where we started our walking tour.


First though, some more shots of the wedding.  She was lovely and the Peristyle was rocking with good times.  They left and the crowd emptied out so the serious tourist business could proceed apace.


Sweet little building on the Peristyle.


The cellars (or the Podromi) were built to level out the palace floors above, and originally were filled with water to supply to palace’s needs.  In medieval times, the residents cut holes in their floors (the ceilings of the cellar) and used the area as a refuse dump.  Since the last century, they’ve been cleaned out and now for a small medium fee, you can come in to see them.





Some parts of the cellar (the daylight to the right, in the above photo) were open to the walkways above, and several Walking Tours of Split brought their people to this spot to talk about the overpriced basements cellars to discuss the history of Split.  Finishing with the cellars, we walked back up the stairs, passing the myriads of souvenir stands.  We climbed the few steps back up to the balcony where the bridal couple had stood, and then walked into the Entry Vestibule, where supposedly Diocletian received his visitors.

Entry Vestibule3

Apparently it used to have a dome (which collapsed) but now makes this a very cool place with a sort of oculus, and a phenomenal place in which to stand and sing your klapa music for Japanese tourists:

Entry Vestibule1_placa singers

Entry Vestibule1_tourists

Entry Vestibule2

The Entry Vestibule also has four large niches where once stood statues of the “four tetrarchs who ruled the unwieldy empire after Diocletian retired” (Rick Steves Guidebook).


Back out to the Peristyle.  The stone steps flanked by Lions, with Santa Claus (!) at their base, is where you normally could enter the chapel, but during high season they route you around to the right so you can stand there and choose from five different options, with five different payments of what you want to see. We chose one and climbed the steps up to the Cathedral, which is tiny tiny and ornately decorated.  It once was Diocletian’s mausoleum, but it became a cathedral in the 7th century, which is when they started decorating it.  According to Rick Steves, “When Diocletian died, there were riots of happiness” among the Christians.  We concentrated on what was here during the Roman times.

Split_Cathedral Ceiling

The surviving pieces from that time are the granite columns and the relief circling the base of the dome.  The red marble pillars you see were scavenged from Diocletian’s sarcophagus.

Split_Cathedral Ceiling2

The dome has half-moon etchings layered one upon the other.  Dave excels at getting these symmetrical ceiling shots.  We left the cathedral, passed by Santa Claus and headed directly across the palace to the Baptistry.


Ivan Mestrovic’s magnificent statue of St. John stands there in the baptistry, which in Diocletian’s time was once a Temple to Jupiter.


On the front of the deep 12th-century font is a carving of a bishop (left), the king on his throne (right) with the submissive commoner at their feet. This Baptistry isn’t huge at all, maybe as big as my living room at home.  I was surprised by its small size to hold all this.  That explains why the statue feels kind of wedged in here, but don’t worry, St. John holds his own.

Baptisty Ceiling

This vaulted half-barrel ceiling is “considered the best-preserved” of its type anywhere.  Each little face and box are different.


We walk around the ancient place a little more, the limestone pavers polished to a shine over the centuries.

Split mosaics in sidewalk

In some places we can see the mosaics from ancient times; this is roped off so people don’t walk on it.

Split House with Bouginvillia

The bougainvillia was beautiful on this residence.  I’d like to have dinner up on their terrace on top of the house.

Split Window toward Sea

A view to The Riva, the town’s pedestrian promenade, from the “rooms” above the cellar.  After leaving Dubrovnik, with all the driving and walking, we decide we need a break and head to the Riva to watch people and the boats.

Split Cruise Ship

Or should I say, mammouth gargantuan cruise ships being ushered out to the Adriatic by tugs.  Because of the rain, we had cooler weather initially, but today is a bit hotter, and we keep moving from bench to bench, trying to find some shade.  We watch this tug-ship entertainment for a while, then decide we ought to start on the March to Find Dinner, so we head back into the Palace area.

Split_Square at Sundown

The sun is beginning to set, casting a golden glow on the different towers.

Split_Sundown Clock Tower


Bistro Appetit_Split Water Bottle Wisdom

And it’s always the last place you look where you’ll have dinner.  We ended up at Bistro Appetit, and yes, the World Cup Games were on their flat screen.

Bistro Appetit_Split_Salad

Salad first.

Bistro Appetit_Split Pasta with Truffles

Dave had pasta.  I can’t remember everything that was in it, but I do remember that it was flavored with truffles, a rather strong taste.  He liked it.

Bistro Appetit_Split Chicken

I had vegetables and a flattened, grilled chicken breast dredged in sesame seeds.

Rubbing Bishop's Toe

My friend Judy had traveled here last year and I so wanted to see this sculpture, right outside the Golden Gate of the palace,  Alas, it was under renovation, but I laughed when I saw that they’d left the toe exposed so people could rub it for good luck.  On my wrist you see my Croatia Solidarity Bracelet, which I wore until Croatia was eliminated from the World Cup a few days later.  We brought one home for the granddaughters, which are all probably lost and gone now, as souvenirs are.

We stopped at a market and bought some peach juice for breakfast, as the owner told us that there was a bakery up the street where we could buy some baked goods in the morning.  Then home to our little home-away-from home.

Hotel Vrlic Bedroom

I mean little, literally.  The bed was about a foot shorter than Dave.  Couple that with the sudden and awful realization that I’d left half of my clothes in the little closet in Dubrovnik, made for an interesting evening.  Dave wrote to the sobe in Dubrovnik, asking if they could sent the clothes on to Zagreb to our hotel.  No answer.  By the end of the night, I’d pretty well resigned myself to the loss of the clothes.  I still had enough to get me through the trip (with a laundry stop somewhere), and realized by the silence that shipping some dumb tourist’s clothes to a far away city was not what a sobe owner wanted to do.  Dave wrote him back suggesting that he instead donate the clothes to someone who needed them, and we went to bed.  A response came in to the second email, that yes, he would do that (completely ignoring the first email).  I figured his mother-in-law to be the likely recipient.  I also learned that even if you think you are paring down your wardrobe to nothing, it can be pared down even further.

Next up: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Dubrovnik, then heading out

(This is the fourth post of our Croatia-Budapest Trip, June-July 2014.)
Thursday, June 19

Dubrovnik_Gundalic Square Last Time

Gundelic Square the morning after the Big Game.  We head to the Konsum store and buy breakfast, as well as some hairspray and a chocolate bar.  Just the necessities.Dubrovnik_Gundelic Square Statue

We venture out on the square to spot this Mr. Gundelic, atop his pedestal, in the middle of the morning market where vendors are selling tchotchkes and other knickknacks.

Dubrovnik_Gundelic Square State detail2

Dubrovnik can be considered a two-day town: do the wall, have dinner, buy some souvenirs, head out.  We’re on Day Two-and-a-Half and decide to walk on the other side of this bowl-shaped town, and try for a few of the places mentioned in our guidebook.

Dubrovnik_St. Blaise

First stop is The Church of St. Blaise, the man who saved the town by revealing an imminent attack, even though he’d been dead for  years (some say he was an apparition who warned the town fathers).  He’s everywhere.  The noon mass was about to start, so we were quickly in and out.

Dubrovnik_St. Blaise detail2

Detail, St. Blaise’s Church (above and below)

Dubrovnik_St. Blaise detail1

Dubrovnik_Soccer Kids

We were told by one shopkeeper yesterday that there were no cruise ships scheduled to be in town today (and so she was opening later).  But there seemed to be a lot of local kids–maybe their parents let them out when the tourists aren’t invading.  And soccer — I mean, futbol —  is on everyone’s mind.

Dubrovnik_St. Blaise Kids Soccer1

Dubrovnik_soccer kicker

Dubrovnik_shop window open

Still the red-checked shirts are everywhere, for Croatia advances to the next round with their win last night.  This is the typical shop with everything open.

Dubrovnik_shop window closed

And this is the shop front, closed.  In the early days, the door would be a half-door, closed, and the shop keeper would bring you what you needed through the open window and the open half-door.

Dubrovnik_climbing tree

From the Placa, or Stradum, we walked up to the mountain-side of town, where the streets are so narrow that this tree had to work to get to the sunlight.  Everything is folded up this morning after last night’s thunderstorm.

Dubrovnik_climbing tree2

Dubrovnik_folded umbrella

And folded up, this umbrella looks positively feminine.

Dubrovnik_Dead End BBQ

Dead end with an outdoor oven.  I’d like one of these at my house.


I spot some laundry high up on a line: a red-checkered shirt.  We stopped and talked to one young man (in front of a restaurant) who didn’t get home until 8:30 this morning.  Even though he started the conversation trying to get us to sit down and have lunch, I thought, well, while you’re yakking up the tourists, I can talk to you too.  I mentioned Croatia’s decisive 4-0 win last night, and he said “No, no.  3-0.  One didn’t count.”

Dubrovnik_Meaculpa Pizza

We walk a little further and another young man tells us he got in just before the big thunderstorm, “by two minutes at most.”  He told us about a thunderstorm that winter that hit the church tower and knocked out “all the charge machines in the restaurants and all the music and the speakers, too,” two components of tourist life here.  Dave and I decide that there are many very tired young men in Dubrovnik this morning.  (And old American tourist couples, too.)  This was confirmed later on when we decided to eat pizza at our pizza place (not shown above, but isn’t that a great name for a pizza joint?).  The young man serving us, who had been there the night before, brought us new rolled-up utensils at the end of the meal.  “Oh, whoops!” he said, then exchanged them for what we wanted: the check.

Dubrovnik Franciscan Church

First stop after walking was the Franciscan Church, where I snapped this perfectly lit window.


Next was the Franciscan Monastery and Pharmacy, just beside the church.


It’s only five bucks to get in, and good thing, as there’s not much to see.  So we take our time with the cloisters.


The capitals of each column are different.





This sign says “Europe never sleeps when World Cup is being played.”

Dubrovnik_Franciscan Hallway

No pictures in the pharmacy, so we head out, catching a perfect light on the stone.

DAE on redchecked floor

I really have to make a red-and-white quilt, I think.

Dubrovnik_Pizzeria Four Seasons Salad

We had another salad at the pizza place by our sobe: Pizzeria Castro.  I can recommend it heartily.  We had originally thought to eat at a “typical” Dubrovkan place, but when we walked over there, having had a late breakfast of chocolate croissants, peach juice, and fruit, we were really too full to hunker down over a plate of grilled meats, although it got great reviews.  After our salads, we were still ready to walk, but fat, heavy drips of rain began falling, so we climbed back up the three flights of stairs to our room, and took a break.  It’s rained nearly every day here, but we’ve been able to dodge it with judicious timing.

Dubrovnik_Harbor views4

After the rain, we decide to walk around the thick walls that border the harbor, just to see what’s on the other side.

Dubrovnik_Harbor views1

A goofy water vehicle to show you the sights, which we both thought reminded us of Disneyland.

Dubrovnik_Harbor views3

On the backside, you can see the little island off the Dubrovnik coast, and just miles and miles of the Adriatic Sea, teenagers smoking, old men swimming, and tourists, like us.

Dubrovnik_Harbor views

Dubrovnik_Harbor views2

Dubrovnik_Harbor views6

Dubrovnik_Harbor views5

Oh, and St. Blaise, high up on a city wall.

Dubravka_Reserve Sign

We walked over to Dubravka, where we’d made dinner reservations, and they again put us at a table on the patio, overlooking the sea.  Returning visitors can use the 10% off coupon that they included with the meal last night, which makes particular tourists very happy.

Dubravka_Water Bottle Wisdom

Many quotes on the Jana water bottles are from Paul Coehlo’s book The Alchemist, although this one may be from somewhere else.  One of the better blurbs, I think.

Dubravka_American chicken

I had Dave’s pasta with mushrooms and ham from last night, but he had “American Chicken.”  I’ll bet you didn’t know we adorned our chicken breasts with bacon, did you?

Dubravka_Orange Cake1

We ended our lovely meal with Orange Cake, which was like last night’s cake of layered chocolate, cream and nuts, but orange in all the right places, recommended by our waiter (“It’s my favorite cake”).  During dinner it began to rain, but Dave was able to scoot his chair in under the edge of the umbrella; the rain chased off the chain smokers behind us, as they had no umbrella (they were just having a drink–no dinner–and really, they had finished).


Dave’s panoramic shot from the table.  We learned how to use that feature of our iPhones while we were in Croatia and had a great time taking a variety of pano-shots.  We head back into town, and we stop at a shop to buy the city’s souvenir: a silver “button,” made of scrolled filigree silver wire.  The man explained that they began as buttons on soldiers’ uniforms, but have now become  known as the traditional souvenir.  His father made them all, he said, and unlike the tablecloth sellers, I was inclined to believe him.

Dubrovnik Silver Button

We chose the butoni we wanted, then he weighed it and sold it to us by weight.  No credit cards, he said, so we paid cash.  Mine was about the size of a silver charm on a charm bracelet, but there were many others, from tinier to much larger.  Of course, now I wish I’d purchased another for a necklace, but that’s tourist hindsight talking.  (The earrings above are an illustration from the web.)  Often we are told they don’t accept credit cards, and often, like now, we don’t receive a recipt.

Dubrovnik_Corpus Christi Candles

A very light rain is falling, and I notice the votive candles on the ledge.  We wonder if it’s because we are now across from the Serbian church.  But no, they are everywhere.

Corpus Christi Celebration

We walk down towards our square, and see a procession, led by children of the church dressed in white, followed by priests carrying a canopy, shielding people as they walk.  Behind them are church-goers, and as they walk, they are singing.  I can’t seem to get the video to embed, so click *here* to hear their haunting singing.

Dubrovnik_Corpus Christi Church

The singing continued inside the church, and I usually never do this, but I was so caught up by the music I took a quick, hopefully discreet, video.  Click *here* to watch and listen.  Now you can see the Titian-attributed painting at the front of the church all lit up, the church resplendent with harmonies and light, changed from the darkened cavern of the day before.  A magical moment in Croatia, as the locals celebrated the Corpus Christi holiday.

We make our way back to our sobe, through squares filled with World Cup fans watching large plasma TVs in restaurants and bars.  We again shut the windows and turn on the air conditioning, hoping for sleep.

Dubrovnik_Jana WAter Bottles

In the morning, we hit the Konsum grocery store not only for our breakfast, but also for things for a little picnic along the road to Split, our next destination.

Leaving Dubrovnik_DAE

We pack up and leave, but I can’t quit feeling like we’ve left something.  We go over the room again, looking everywhere, but don’t see anything, so head down.

Dubrovnik_Keyhole City Wall

Dubrovnik_Steps to Church

We pass the keyhole in the wall (usually covered up by the textiles seller) and our favorite half-circle steps.

Rental Car Map

As it our habit as tourists in a foreign land without 4G wifi, we took a snapshot of a map and kept it on our phone, making our way to the Hertz rental car company, just outside the main city.

Dubrovnik_Ploct Gate2

Through the first Ploce Gate. . .

Dubrovnik_Ploce gate

. . . and the archway where — who else? — St. Blaise guards the entrance and exit.  It’s a busy street.  We get our car, and are off up the coast, to Split.

Next up: Split is Splitsville