Dubrovnik, Croatia

Breathtaking Scenery

We decided to take a Mediterranean cruise because we were in Europe already and we might never get the chance to go again. Plus, my husband wanted to show me where the Air Force stationed him in Turkey when he was in the military.  The three places on the seven-day cruise would be Croatia (Yugoslavia when I traveled to Italy as a girl), Greece, and Turkey.  I was excited to go to Turkey and Greece but Croatia?  Who goes to Croatia?  But it was on the itinerary so what do I know?

We flew to Venice and boarded the ship ready to start the cruise.  My husband had never been on a big cruise ship and neither had I. Can I tell you we loved the cruise?  My daughter worked for Norwegian Cruise Line at the time and got us a great deal on a balcony room.  The cabin was spacious…for a cruise accommodation, that is.  Even if the bathroom was not.

I didn’t realize it but Dubrovnik was not a deep-water port so the captain docked the ship a ways away from the port but we could see the port and marina from the ship’s deck.  I thought we’d just sail right up to the port and disembark as we did when we got on in Venice.  Not so. We’d have to take little boats called “tenders” to the port.  I also didn’t realize these boats doubled as lifeboats.  The tenders are enclosed and get quite hot for the short trip to shore. I can’t imagine being on that tender that held 150 people if something happened to the ship. Since we had other shore excursions planned, and I wasn’t keen about going to Croatia in the first place, we opted to just hang out in the old city and find things to do until we got back on the ship.

We didn’t have much time to explore because the ship’s personnel told us many times if we missed the last tender, we were on our own to get to the next port.  Well, that would not happen given we almost missed the ship when we boarded in Venice.

We tooled around the old town walking through the vast array of alleyways between buildings that led to quaint restaurants with outdoor seating.  We looked at the architecture of the square’s many buildings and the churches.

We bought an ice cream cone because the heat of the day was getting to us.  Thankfully, the shop person spoke English and we could buy our cones with the euros we brought with us.

The city was lovelier than I expected and reminded me of my beloved Italy.  They simply spoke a different language.  Today I recommend visiting Croatia because it’s beautiful and the people are very kind and accommodating.

At one point, a bird dropped its load on my arm and thoroughly disgusted me but I had tissues to wipe it off but the tee-shirt was toast for the rest of the trip.

We still had time to kill, so we took a ride on another type of ship ride around the bay.  An 18th-century fishing ship!  Getting on and off that ship was harrowing not anything like the big cruise ship but then why would it be?

There weren’t many of us on the ship, maybe a dozen or so passengers who were brave enough to board the decrepit-looking ship. The only seats were rough-hewn free-standing benches next to the low walls of the ship.

Once out of the marina the ship sailed around the bay with the masts flapping in the summer wind.  When the boat turned it leaned into the water.  The edge of the boat was mere inches from taking on water.  And while the ride was pleasant, it was also nerve-wracking.

From the sailboat, we could see the summer sun-worshippers didn’t have much sand, but they made the most of what they had. There was one sandy beach, but it was in a cove and it appeared the only way to get to it was by boat.  The old city’s massive fortress walls were awe-inspiring.  Makes you want to study the history of the city.

I’m glad we went on that sailboat, but I’d more appreciate a new boat next time.

The adventure of the day over, we hopped a tender and returned to the ship.

Another adventure next week.

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