The Franciscan Monastery of Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a town which rises beyond its reputation. Even when drowning under a sea of summer tourists, as cruise boats arrive by the score and unload their passengers, there is much to do here, and places to escape the sunburnt crowds. Aside from the beauty of the Adriatic lapping at her feet, and the wealth of museums and sights within the town (not to mention her cafés and restaurants), side streets stretch off in all directions, begging to be explored. There are hidden nooks at every turn, lined with ancient houses and walls of crumbling stone.
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The church bells were calling as I sailed into Kotor. I had entered a fairytale. The soft light of dawn danced across the Adriatic. Rugged mountains rose from the water, the stretch of lush land at their feet peppered with quaint villages and the spires of churches. I expected to see a horse and carriage trotting along under the morning light.
The Gulf of Kotor, Montenegro, is a fjord. Limestone cliffs plunge into a water coloured the blue of minerals. No wind ruffled the surface, as if the bay lay magically protected. When a soft rain fell the place became even more beautiful. Continue Reading →
Byron dubbed Dubrovnik the Pearl of the Adriatic, and the town has drowned under superlatives ever since. We sailed in on clear water, the vibrant new town hugging the foreshore. The bus from the port wound along the waterfront before eventually chugging up the hill – and there lay the old town, just as she appears in every photo.
The bus spluttered to a stop in a cobbled square by the city gates. Cafes decked with umbrellas, and stores offering cold water and ice cream, overlooked a crystal sea. Already the heat had settled in for the day, bouncing off the stones and onto anyone standing still. By midday the town would be wall to wall of sunburnt tourists.
For the moment, however, Dubrovnik was (almost) empty. The moat is now filled with orange trees, and their scent hung in the air as we approached the Pile Gate. Large metal balls on a chain acted as a counterbalance to the drawbridge, which was once raised every night. St. Blaine, Dubrovnik’s patron saint, looks down on all visitors from above the portal. (Don’t miss the small medieval door nearby.)
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