A word about why I travel. Chris and I both love to travel, to see new places, and to learn more about another culture. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it is stressful at times. Yes, I missed my two boys terribly. But Mark Twain is right. Traveling changes your outlook on life. It helps you see the scope of things - the smallness of yourself - the wonders of God's creation. Regardless the sacrifice, I feel travel is always worth it...and I will try to explore whenever possible.
On today, day 10 of our cruise, we woke up a little later than usual because we had a change in departure time for our excursion to Dubrovnik. That was okay with me, because at 4am, I woke to the smell of smoke in our stateroom. I looked out the door and didn't see anything, so I called the front desk, and they said there was an "incident" in someone's stateroom (I imagine a cigarette), and everything was under control. It was hard to get back to sleep after that.
Our tour left at 9:30am, and we drove into the oldest part of Dubrovnik, with ancient walls surrounding it. You can see it in the picture below, on the left hand side with all the red roofs.
We were taken by motor coach to just outside the old city. Old Dubrovnik is a UNESCO world heritage site, and is among the 10 best preserved medieval walled cities, which is amazing after the pounding it took. More on that later.
|The city is protected by a double wall. Here we are crossing the "moat" and entering the inner wall through an old drawbridge.|
|Above the drawbridge is a depiction of St. Blaise, the patron saint and protector of the city.|
|In his left hand, he holds the walled city.|
In 1991, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbs attacked the city. The siege lasted 7 months. Over half of the city's buildings were damaged beyond repair. The city took 650 direct hits by artillery rounds. After the war passed, the city was mostly rebuilt. However, the rebuilding was done in a more simple fashion - the previous buildings were more ornate and decorated.
Here are photos we took of Old Dubrovnik.
|An original building that survived the bombings.|
|Another original building, a small chapel.|
|The "roads" were narrow, filled with stores. People lived above the stores.|
|Our local guide describing life in Dubrovnik.|
|A lovely courtyard inside a monastery.|
|Loved the ceilings.|
|Who took this?? MUST have been me. Good photography! ;)|
|Lovely stained glass in the monastery.|
|Chris standing in the "road". Cafes took up most of the roads for the seating areas.|
|Birds being displayed on the main street.|
|In our free time, we toured the Old Pharmacy, it's the oldest working pharmacy in Europe. It was opened in 1317. You can still walk up and purchase medicine, but it also has a museum with their old equipment.|
Next we traveled out of the city to a private villa. This was another home that was opened up for us, most graciously. They had "sets" displayed, showing how the villa functioned years ago. Here was an olive press and a LOOM! WOOHOO!
We were served grilled chicken, sauteed vegetables, polenta and homemade bread. Local singers entertained us first with local music, and then old American favorites. We drank local wines, a local liquor: carob flavored, and toured the villa. It was a working farm, and I took some pictures of the edibles growing there:
The bus took us next to the shoreside village of Cavtat, where we walked along the water and enjoyed the views.
We returned to the bus and the ship, then ate dinner with a view of the busy Dubrovnik streets out the window. As a bonus, when we returned to our stateroom, we found a bottle of Merlot as an apology for the smoke incident. :)
We watched as we set sail for Kotor, Montenegro.