For those of you who have been keeping up, you will recall that on our first day in Venice, Mike named our walking tour, the Death March….today, we had our second, but this one wasn’t my fault, it was all Sam. You may recall that Mike, Yost, Sam and I divided up responsibility for each of our ports. Sam’s was Dubrovnik. Unlike most ports where docking is preferred, here it’s better to anchor and then tender because the tenders (the ship’s lifeboats typically) ferry you directly to the old town gate at the harbor. Unfortunately we docked at the new port which is a ten minute drive from the historic walled town. There were four ways to get to town, walk (not gonna happen), Norwegian’s shuttle bus for $11 per person roundtrip, the public bus for about a buck a person each way or a taxi for 10€. The only issue is that Croatia isn’t part of the euro group so they use the kuna as their currency. We asked and couldnt get a clear answer from NCL if there was an ATM at the port or if the taxis took Euros…we knew the local bus only took kunas. We decided we were going to go with the NCL shuttle but despite what I had been told by the Conceirge, one didn’t buy the shuttle ticket onboard, you used your key card and bought it on the shuttle bus, so we went ashore. Before we had barely left the ship, it was obvious that the taxis took eros and it was a flat rate of 10€ to town…so we saved money by the four of us taking the cab. Our driver spoke great English and told us there was no reason to change money…merchants either took credit cards or would take euros. This turned out to be the case.
He dropped us at the City gate and we decided to walk the City walls before it got any hotter. Since leaving Messina and especially since entering the Adriatic sea, it has been very calm, flat, very flat seas…like a lake in the early morning, and fairly warm compared to what we experienced in Florence and Rome. We bought our entry tickets and started the first of many stair climbs. The view of Dubrovnik’s rooftops and the sea from the walls was beautiful. But it was work. The walk around the walls is more than a mile long and involves lots of steps, stepped ramps, and ramps both up and down. Long before the halfway point I was sweating but it was really interesting to see the construction as well as the vistas. As we approached the 3/4 point of what I started calling the DDM (Debrovnik Death March), Sam said this was the more “castlely” part of the walls…the wall became taller, the stairs steeper, but in return we got better views. Our walk around the walls took an hour and forty five minutes or so but we enjoyed it. After descending, we elected to not walk the main street referred to as the Platka or standun, but instead took the advice of The Dubrovnik Lady, who is a retired ex pat who blogs about her wonderful city, and instead wandered the side streets. We explored a convenience store, an olive oil store where we bought some lemon flavored olive oil, should be great on tomatoes later in the summer, and eventually made our way to the harbor side of town. I was in search of one of the tradition deserts that the Dubrovnik lady told me about, Krempita. One restaurant suggested we try the cafe across the street and so we spent an enjoyable hour or so under their shady awning, cooling off, having a cool beverage,a nd tasting three desserts…the Krempita, basically a Neapolitan without the middle layers of pastry, the local version of creme caramel and “macaroni pie”. It was very strange…chocolate, nut and big elbow maracroni filling in a pie crust!
After our treats, we walked up the Platka, left through the same gate we entered through and caught a taxi back to the ship. I really like Dubrovnik and the people we met were all very friendly, welcoming and helpful. I am sure during the low season it’s a wonderful place…but with two cruise ships in town, a lot of holiday (today is May day) visitors, it was very crowded. Hope to make it back someday and really explore this country.
After a short nap and shower, we met Yost and Sam at the Gold level wine and cheese ( though I had had Hendricks on the rocks) Latitudes party. Daniel and Bruce the guys who did our Messina tour with us joined us so we had a great conversation catching up on what we had all done the last two days. Then Yost, Sam, Mike and I went to LeBistro (Norwegian’s French restaurant) for dinner. We started dinner off with a toast with the delicious Veuve Cliquot champagne that our Chicago friends Tommy and Rich sent to Mike for his birthday. Dinner was good although the sauce on the steaks was a little salty. That seems to be a problem. The other night, we overheard the Food and Beverage manager, Musthafa, telling someone on his phone, that all the sauces in Cagneys were too salty and he had told the staff to remake them. But we of course didn’t let a little salt stops from enjoying our meal.
After dinner, we returned to our room to find our that our entry in the “dine with an officer” raffle had been selected so tomorrow night we will be eating with the head of housekeeping….was sorta hoping for something I enjoy doing….maybe the executive chef or beverage manager, but….maybe I will learn to clean house better???