I wasn't sure I was going to love it, but I was open minded. As the hotel lobby doors slid open, I began walking straight to the back side of the lobby, to where the floor to ceiling windows beckoned me forward. I was halfway there when I realized I hadn't even unloaded my big bag yet, so the view would have to wait just a few more minutes. I decided to quickly check into my room and then go and take the view in afterwards. Fast forward to me running across my room to my balcony, clumsily dropping my bags just past the door when I entered.
From my balcony this was the view to the left of the hotel -->
This was the moment that I realized I had overthought things. I completely overthought the fact of what makes this city wonderful-and I hadn't even been inside the city walls yet! I would look passed the crowds, the tourist shops and appreciate what the city is and how it still stands. It's like when people tell me they didn't enjoy Rome...how can you not appreciate Rome?!
Dubrovnik surprised me. It gave me joy to wander it's streets and it really made me think about the old way of life here. It also made me walk with extreme care- those darn streets are slick, I can't imagine what it's like when it rains there! Something I also underestimated was how big the walls of the town were. I urge you to read up on the history of the walls before heading up to walk the length of them and to circle around the city. They've withstood a great deal and a trip to Dubrovnik requires a walk around on it's walls!
Get yourself to Croatia during the shoulder seasons (April-May and September to November). Timing your travels can save you money and sanity as I tell my clients! My trip was in October and we truly lucked out with the weather, it was phenomenal. I had packed boots, sweaters, tights and even scarves! What I really needed was good shoes, light pants or a dress and just a cardigan. In the evenings it cooled off, but we still sat out in the squares, enjoying taking our time, ordering dessert just because we were on vacation and a bottle of wine, because we had no where to be!
In the evenings it cooled off, but just barely. We took to the stairs which lead us to the next level of the city and walked the alleyway of restaurants that flowed into the walkways. We went from restaurant to restaurant, reading the menus and waiting until we found the one that most appealed to us. We enjoying taking our time, ordering a local bottle of wine, finishing it slowly- after all, we had nowhere to be! Then somehow we always made room for dessert, our excuse for that, was that we were on vacation (calories don't count). Slow travel is the cool, new, hip thing to enjoy, so slip your phone into your purse, sit back in your seat and take in your surroundings.
I do wish I had made some time to kayak around in the area. The water is absolutely gorgeous and each day we saw groups of kayakers out and about in the area.
The photo below was just nearing the end of our time on the walls, which was as the sun was setting, the light was fantastic. We saw the people from the Windstar cruises getting back in line to head back to their boat for the night. Things really quieted down in the evenings. Apart from the guitarists that take their stand outside of the restaurants and sing love songs to the patrons, hoping for a little tip to be thrown in their hat after each song.
I'll end this post with a little game, something that you must find when traveling to Dubrovnik. If you find the strange and oddly placed gargoyle, which is set just a couple of feet off of the ground and on an old wall, here is your challenge:
You must stand on the gargoyle, facing toward he wall, keep your balance! And take your shirt off. Call me crazy, but legend has it that if you can pull this off, luck in love will follow. Though I'd like to mention that I do wonder when the whole "take your shirt off" thing was added into the legend...