It's a creekmore world

Croatia Day 9-10 – A completely different Dubrovnik and Lily the animal whisperer

Time to confess a dirty little secret.  I almost never blog the last day of our trips.  The blogs run a day or two behind the actual event so I can write and photo edit and find the wifi to post.

By the time I’m back home there is usually one last day or two I haven’t covered but it’s so hard to do.

Writing and posting every day on travel is hard.  I love it and it’s important to me but it’s hard.  Doing it when I get back to a million to-do items, my job and the distractions of home is nearly impossible.

But I hate it.  I have this fantasty that I’ll go on an extra vacation to somewhere quiet and finish all the ‘missing’ days.  But I know that’s not likely.  I’m trying an alternative – a quick post and a bunch of pictures.  I’ll write what I can and leave the rest to your imagination!

When we wake up it’s like another world.  The sun is pushing through the skylight and warming the room uncomfortably.  We can see only blue sky.  The rain and winds of the last two days took nothing away from what is probably our favorite European city.  But sunshine is glorious.

WIth the Sun and Easter week holidays in various countries come more crowds. Our 8am early start at the cafe we like near St. Blaise Church is great until the stroke of 9 when the tour busses arrive.  They come in, 30 at a time, grouped (presumably) by nationality.  The transformation is startling.  We finish our coffee and eggs and go to the port.

The city port is about the only place we haven’t been yet because the seas have been too rough. Today the Adriatic looks inviting and friendly.  The 10am boat to Lokrum is departing shortly. The line starts forming.  The ferries normally start April 1 but the rain and winds kept them anchored.  This might be the first day they are running this season. I’m not sure.

Lokrum is an island just a couple thousand feet from Dubrovnik.  It’s pretty much a part of the city and was used for farming, getaways and a small handful of buildings: monastery, fort etc…  Ledged goes Richar the Lionheart was shipwrecked there in the 11th century after the Third crusade.

The ferry departs and the short ride gives us pleasant views of Dubrovnik from the sea port side, which isn’t as visually stunning. Lokrum is however.  It’s lush and rocky with turquoise water and green pine trees.  The tourist hut and ‘gift’ shop is a super weird place although maybe they are just opening for the season.

Around 1850 the island was purchased by Maximillian I of Mexico.  Maximilian had a short life and probably barely used the island.  He was Austrian born royalty but invited by the French to be the French Emperor of Mexico which worked great until an annoying little country called the USA finished it’s civil war and supported the Mexican republicans, who beat Maximillian and killed him at age 34.

A practitioner of the opulence of 19 century European royalty, Maximillian had Lokrum populated with Peacocks (and Peahens Amanda tells us) from the Canary islands as well as many tropical plants that make up a botanical garden.

As we begin to walk up the path the peacocks emerge from the garden walls and ‘fly’ if you can call it that, down to the ground.  It’s a bold move and they kind of do it one by one.  We figure out later that they like being fed and are basically coming to eat.  And yeah – check out the phone booth.  That’s soviet era.

Up the path there are more peacocks – clearly they do not have predators here there are dozens.  And we see a cute little girl chasing a bunny rabbit.  It’s adorable.  Lily plays with the bunnies and the peacocks showing the softer side of the kid who is 99% mouth and attitude these days.

The girls are looking at the signpost and laughing.  ‘Charlottes well, the dragon caves, monestary, Fort’ say the signs.  All exciting.  The one at the bottom says ‘Rocks’.   “Let’s go to ‘Rocks” they say, laughing at the idea that ‘rocks’ are exciting.

The rocks turn out to be ocean front boulders and massive stone carvings.  One is particularly beautiful with a light green water inside.  It takes a little while to get to and a little longer till enough people leave us to photograph it without people but it’s really really beautiful.

We visit the Botanical garden which has the largest Agave I’ve ever seen.  I don’t know how old this is but it’s Little-shop-of-horrors large.  This is the hottest we’ve experienced in Croatia. We have to take off all our jackets and tie them or put them in my day-pack.  I carry a 22L day-pack which is much larger than needed but perfect for times like this.

Lily could be seen yesterday running into the pigeons and making them scoot away.  Today she’s the animal whisperer, drawing adorable little bunnies to her outstretched hand.  They are clearly unafraid and eager to eat whatever we are giving them (nothing.) But these bunnies are pretty cute nonetheless.  A peacock waltzes by.  I wonder about the carnage a few good cats would do to this island.

Back in the city, Amanda and I go to the vegan place one more time and the girls get a pizza.  We walk around and get a few souvenirs.

In the late afternoon we ride the cable car to the top of the hill that overlooks Dubrovnik.  The cable car was built on Srd Hill in 1969.  It looks newer than that.  I hope it is.

The evening sun is warm. At the top we go to a Homeland war museum which feels more like a blog someone put together than a museum.  It’s vaguely propagandistic and the photos are the most interesting part.  Dubrovnik was shelled and bombed many times in the 91-92 war.

I doesn’t help that there is water leaking everywhere.  The limestone seems to have absorbed the rain and is releasing the water.  The museum is housed in an old fort built by soldiers of Napoleon in 1808 when his army ended Dubrovniks centuries of (relative) independence.   They promised not to occupy the city if given passage but never left.  Makes on wonder if it was a trick or they just fell in love with it.

The views of Dubrovnik and Lokrum don’t dissapoint.  You can see islands to the north, but it’s all open sea in front of Dubrovnik.  The sun casts the red roofs in orange light and the town just glows.

Amanda had made reservations at a place by the water at night.  It’s chilly but they give us a good table and a heat lamp.  The food is pretty good – better than most and expensive.

Croatia is coming to a close.  At 4am we get up and walk ourselves out the rear gate and wait for a car.  None is there – a quick call to our host doesn’t solve the problem.  The driver overslept and we need to get a cab or uber.  We uber.  It’s fascinating how much easier travel is now.  Even 5 years ago that would have been a bigger headache.  The mobile phone might not have worked, the cabbie would have required cash we didn’t have.

We use our Priority pass card to get into the lounge at Dubrovnik.  It’s nothing special but the girls can curl up anywhere.  12 hours or so later we are walking out of IAD to get our ride back to the house.   This is Emma’s last trip as a minor, and last spring break trip for a long time – maybe forever.

Emma got the honors to choose our summer destination – her last trip before college.  She chose Australia!  Our 6th continent.

Can’t wait.