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

Dubrovnik Slows Our Pace

(This is the third post of our Croatia-Budapest Trip, June-July 2014.)
Wednesday, June 18

Dubrovnik_Gundelic Square from our window

This is the view from our third-story window, towards the left, overlooking Gundelic Square.

Dubrovnik_view center from our hotel

This is looking straight ahead (taken on the first night we arrived).

Dubrovnik_Looking right from our window

And this is looking right, towards the steps heading up towards The Church of St. Ignatius.

Dubrovnik_Stairs to St. Ignatius

Usually when heading out of our sobe, we turn to the left toward the main street, the Placa area, but this late afternoon we turned right and headed up the steps on the other side of the slanting bowl that is Dubrovnik.  I notice the men in their Croatian T-shirts: spirits are high here tonight for the Croatia vs. Cameroon game at midnight.

ESe with Croatian Fans

Dubrovnik_Big Game Souvenirs

Most all the souvenir shops carry some form of the checkered shirt (one of my souvenirs from Croatia, purchased later on that night), and many of the waiters are wearing them.  One young man told us that the owner of the place brought them to work to get the waitstaff to put them on.

Dubrovnik_Big Game1

Notice the big screen TV.  They were everywhere.

Dubrovnik_Big Game2

Usually outside of each restaurant there is the person who talks to the tourists, chatting up the menu and getting them to sit down at a table.  We saw this man every day because their place was just outside our sobe, but tonight he has other things on his mind, especially when I asked him who was going to win tonight. “We are!” he said, arms out wide.

Dubrovnik_Building near St. Ig

Dubrovnik_St. Ignatius Church

St. Ignatius is at the top of the steps on a small plaza, church at one end and three restaurants at the other, bordered by those steps and another old building (shown above-above), which I found out later was the Jesuit college, where, according to Frommer’s “1658 Jesuit College (Collegium Ragusinum), the school where many of Ragusa’s greatest scholars were educated.” Ah, got it.  And apparently those steps we walked up were supposed to mimic Rome’s Spanish Steps, but that was lost on me, as the scale is so dramatically different.  But in hindsight, I suppose they do resemble Rome’s staircase.

Dubrovnik_Grotto St. Ignatius

Just inside the door, on the right, is the grotto dedicated to miracles and Mary.  It was not the last time we would see a grotto in a church, as they appear to be a popular motif.

Dubrovnik_Grotto3  St. Ignatius

Lots of crutches (some vintage) were lined up, as well as with other mementos of miraculous intervention by the Virgin.

Dubrovnik_Candles St. Ignatius

And beside her, as long as you donate some kuna you can light a candle for your prayers and hopes.  I could think of a few to add.  St. Ignatius is like so many churches we saw in our travels.  Without light (either artificial or natural) the paintings around the church appear slightly gloomy, certainly well-done but by a lesser artist than the Big Ones, the decorative gilt rather muddy in the dim light, in short, another dark Italianate church with pictures of ascension, deliverance, and redemption that we couldn’t quite engage with.  On the web I’ve seen photos of this church lit up at night and it presents a much different feeling, like the next night when saw main Dubrovnik cathedral all lit up, the brilliants lights calling our eyes to the decorative surfaces which now, in this church, were obscure.

Dubrovnik_ St. Ignatius wall

I caught only this grisaille rendition of a gathering of saints, outlined in a blue and white garland, near where the door opened.

Dubrovnik_by old wall ESE

We walked alongside the old wall bordering the sea, looking for that famous Hole in the Wall Bar that had a terrace that opened out onto sea views.  We found it, but kept going.  (It was pretty packed but we weren’t yet ready to sit.)

Dubrovnik_walk along inner walls1

Looking from the sea side of Dubrovnik, down and across and up to the mountain side.  The twin-steepled church there in the middle is the Serbian Church.

Dubrovnik Doors4

Dubrovnik Doors3

Sights along the walk.

Dubrovnik Doors

Newer electrical wires snake along the outside of old stone houses by the hundreds of miles of cable, it seems like.

Dubrovnik_Sobe Signs

Dubrovnik Detail SErbian Church

This is a detail from the Serbian church, as we walked down from the wall back towards the Placa (main street) in the center of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik Fountain2

Dubrovnik Fountain1

Details from St. Onofrio’s large fountain near the Pile Gate.

Dubrovnik_bubble man

Bubble maker in front of the fountain.  His was an unusual way to make money.  We saw many singers strumming guitars with their tip jar just in front of them, or young men and women (why are they always young?) accosting tourists as they passed by, drumming up business for an island cruise, to enter a restaurant, or to purchase bus tickets for a trip to somewhere.

Dubrovnik Small Wall Altar

A small altar high on the wall just inside the Pile Gate.  Icon for icon, I still think the altars on the Italian island of Burano are the best.  Out the gate we wandered, looking for a place to have dinner.


We stopped to look at the restaurant on the right, Dubravka.  It’s the best candidate of the evening.

Dubravka Meal 1

We shared the grilled vegetables, and Dave had the mushroom pasta with ham and I the shrimp risotto.  Of course we both shared the chocolate cake.  The view was wonderful and we enjoyed our meal as we watched the colors shift during the setting sun.

Dubrovnik_City Walls

Dubrovnik_Tourist pirate ship

Dubrovnik View from Dubravka Restaurant

Dubrovnik_Placa Day 2

We walked back through the Pile Gate, noticing the night sky once again, as well as a teenager talking on the phone in her window high above the Placa and the futbol game enthusiasts, trying to broadcast Croatia’s checkerboard on walls or floors.

Dubrovnik_Placa Teenager

Dubrovnik_Big Game3

Dubrovnik_Big Game4

Dubrovnik_Big Game5

Pizza Sign for Game

Sign at the pizza place just below our sobe.  Since his place was right next door, he stored his chair cushions, the sign and the plasma TV in our lower downstairs hallway.

Dubrovnik_Big Game Pizza Night

After getting ready for bed (still jet-lagged tourists, here) we could hear lots of noise from the square.  I looked out, but the umbrellas obscured the tables with people staring straight ahead at the plasma TV set up for the game.  About 11 p.m. the sound was switched over to the loudspeakers all around the square, and whenever a favorite song would come on, it seemed the volume would go higher, never returning to the original setting.  The sound was funneled up to our windows, echoing and reverberating against the buildings all around us.  By midnight, when the game began, we put in our earplugs, closed the shutters, the windows and turned on the A/C.  I finally drifted off to sleep only to be awakened by a booming clap of thunder sometime in the night.  I groggily opened my eyes to see Dave standing by the open window.  And then I didn’t hear anything else, and we didn’t wake up until 9 a.m. the next morning.  He told me he couldn’t believe how raucous it was down in the square, but at 2:30 a.m. just as he opened the window to see what was going on, a torrent of rain and thunder arrived, clearing out the square.

Croatia beat Cameroon, 4-0.

Next up: Dubrovnik, heading out