Thursday, September 20, 2018

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Eighth Stop Dubrovnik

I wrote in one of the posts on my rail road trip through Portugal that this kind of meandering from stop to stop stretches the travel endlessly. Every single destination feels like an individual little vacation. You have to pack and leave - but a couple of hours later, you arrive at your next destinations which is all new and exciting - hence, your vacation starts all over again.


The iconic view of Dubrovnik - it's all about the roofs.

It worked until now, but it's all over, baby blue: Dubrovnik is my final stop of the bus road trip down the Adriatic coast.

Am I sad? Yes. But I'm also very exhausted since there is a lot to see and a lot of climbing to do and it's hot and there are huge crowds basically everywhere; and I know already now what I'd do differently the next time I'm coming to Croatia: I'd start my trip in Dubrovnik and move then up North to the calmer and emptier places.

No one will dispute that Dubrovnik is gorgeous. And for what reason ever, it is gorgeous everywhere. While cities like Zagreb or Zadar have this beautiful city center and the rest is pretty....unpretty, to say the least, Dubrovnik is pretty and charming everywhere.


View of the port and the historic old town.

To give it a real chance - and because I wanted to get away from the masses of visitors - I just took a random bus and went crosstown without knowing where exactly I was going. This works perfectly in Dubrovnik since most of the bus lines are going in circles, i. e. if you take a bus at a certain stop and you do not get off, after the driver's short cigarette pause at a designated final destination, the driver just hops back on board and takes you back - on a different road since on many roads here there is one way traffic. A perfect and dirt cheap sightseeing tour. Only that there are no sights.


Early morning on Mount Srd. Behind me Locrum island to the left and the historic old town to the right.

I really think that apart from mount Srd and Locrum island, all the attractions are located within the old town; which makes it sort of an outdoor museum rather than a city center.


A lady in traditional attire selling handicraft. 

So I'm glad that at least I'm not staying in the historic old town; which I wouldn't recommend, anyway. Of course, there are zillions of restaurants and bars and pubs, so I assume it will be quite noisy at night.

You sure have to do a lot of climbing.
Then, what makes the old town very picturesque are the stairs - you are constantly climbing. Up and down. I imagine it must be terrible doing so with all your luggage and your phone in hand, looking for the narrow alley's name where your Apartman is located.

Because here, locals are by far not as nice and helpful and caring as anywhere else I've been. So don't count on them to pick you up and take you to your overpriced room.

To be fair, my host Jelka is an extremely nice and caring lady. Although she did not pick me up at the bus terminal - dah...she doesn't even have a car - she's very friendly and warm hearted and calls me moje Renata, which means my Renata and yesterday evening she offered me fish; but I had already eaten, too bad, I bet her fish would have been far better.



So everything is fine, I cannot complain.
I saw a lot of outstanding places and buildings and really made the best of my two days in Dubrovnik.

As I entered the historic center the first evening - totally unprepared - the sight even moved me to tears.


The old town at night - I thought the city that never sleeps was another one!?

But the next day, somehow the light went out, so to speak.







A quick side-trip back in time VII

There came a moment when it was time for me to visit the homeland of road trips, the United States of America. 


I wonder if there are any statistics which region people go to when visiting the US for the first time. I did not go to New York, I did not go to Los Angeles and neither to Miami. I did a tour of the Ol' South. Taking the Greyhound bus. 

This was long before there was Internet access, hence to find reasonably priced accommodations, I combed through a catalog - a book made of paper. 
I wasn't familiar with the US at all. I thought there was public transportation everywhere in the world. And accommodations located in busy, metropolitan areas. Nobody builds a hotel in the middle of nowhere, right? Wrong! 

First destination Charleston, South Carolina. 
Maybe the 'motel' in the name should have given me a hint, but I was such a US novice then. Dude, was I surprised when the cab driver from the airport dropped me off at a small motel next to the freeway - but unfortunately next to nothing else. 
Oh no, that's not true, there was a Wendy's in the middle of a huge parking lot across the motel on the other side of the road. 

The heavy rain in the next morning delivered me from solving the problem how to get to the center of Charleston. All I could do was staying in bed watching TV - now here comes the pleasant bit of the story: I discovered that there is HBO and that Oprah Winfrey is also a very talented actress: The women of Brewster Place was on, a movie that will always be related to my first day on American soil.

After the movie was over, I crossed the freeway to the parking lot and bought a bunch of burgers at Wendy's - also a novelty, I had known only McDonald's and Burger King; I really learned a lot these first hours. 
I ate on my bed while watching anxiously the weather channel - another new trinket to my European wealth of experience - for the rest of the day and cried a little on the prospect of spending four weeks like that. 

Contradicting the weather channel's prognosis, the next day it cleared up so that I was able to leave Norman Bates' motel and go downtown. 
The lady at the motel told me that sometimes she did see a bus passing by, but she had no idea when, how often and where it's going. 

So I did this unbelievably European thing - I walked along the freeway towards Charleston.

Everything went well after I stopped feeling funny because everybody passing by looked at me as if I was somehow funny. 

Everything went perfectly till I came to this stupid bridge crossing a stupid wide river.

This bridge has been constructed exclusively for cars. There was no way crossing it by foot without getting hit by a car or falling over the knee-high railing. 
I had walked for over an hour, the city was right across the bridge, I could almost touch it - but no, no crossing. 
I turned and saw a big fancy hotel. 

Okie doke - I asked at the reception to call me a cab to carry me across the bridge - making the cab driver sort of a ferryman. 
He drove me the couple of hundred meters - and yes, I did feel moronic.

There were more situations where people must have thought I'm just some crazy woman; but the first cut is the deepest.

Sentimental fool: A couple of years later, I bought The Women of Brewster Place on DVD.



I really don't know why I didn't click with this city. Maybe because it's not enough of a living place - whereby people do live in the historic part.

However, everything is totally tourist oriented - and everybody is relatively unfriendly and everything is ridiculously overpriced.
I enjoy places that let me share everyday life. Here I can look and observe, not splurge with all my senses.


Beaury everywhere, people all around - I need a break.

But maybe it's also because I've seen so much over the last three weeks. The glittering waters, the bluff mountain line, the majestic conifers - it's all here...and cannot take me by storm anymore.
I think my eyes are tired and need a rest.

Is it possible to have an overdose of beauty? Maybe it's just time to go home.



Note to the curious reader: Like I did during my former like e. g. Cambodia, while on the road, I'll be posting little stories and reflections. At the end of the entire tour, there will be an extended travel guide with all the relevant information including addresses, links etc. Until then, just share some thoughts and special moments with me. 



Wanna know about the former stops? Here is where I've been: 

Croatia Bus Road Trip. First Stop Poreč

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Second Stop Cres

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Third Stop Rijeka

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Fourth Stop Plitvice Lakes

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Fifth Stop Skradin and Krka National Park

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Sixth Stop Split

Croatia Bus Road Trip. Seventh Stop Vela Luka on Korčula




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1 comment:

  1. Oh, it is the city I wanna go. Have never been there, but somehow, I have a very good image about it. It is eatern Europe, which I love and is very different from germ-free Scandinavia, where I live.

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