Eating our way through Dubrovnik

Day 3 in Dubrovnik. After the adventures of the day before, this one pales in comparison.  A take it slow kind of day, which mostly revolves around Dubrovnik strolls, history lessons and food indulgences. First things first though – and that first thing is saying hello to this beauty that opens up before us on our pathway from the hotel to the old city. It seems like I will never tire of finding adjectives of to describe this dreamy, fairy-tale like city. No matter how much you gaze it, you cannot get tired of its out-of-this-world beauty. At least I cannot.

Morning view

So here is to another day in the fairy-tale. What’s on the agenda for the day? Food, food, food and once more food! Food in general is quite nice in Dubrovnik, fish is of course the crown jewel of the cuisine. What you need to get used to is the steep prices. This tiny jewel presents a rather tough competition even for Copenhagen and Zürich. Prepare to splurge a bit if you want to indulge on the many delicacies of Dubrovnik’s cuisine.

Onorfijeva fountain - the ultimate meeting spot for travellers and locals alike

Onorfijeva fountain – the ultimate meeting spot for travellers and locals alike

Our lazy day starts right at the foot of the famous Onorfijeva fountain – a beloved meeting spot. Our local guide and foodie Ana from Dubrovnik is waiting for us here to take us on a gastronomic tour in the city.

Strolling in Dubrovnik with our local guide Ana

Strolling in Dubrovnik with our local guide Ana

On the menu for the 3+ hour of food indulgence was a stroll in the city enriched with history lessons and culinary delights. Before reaching the culinary part though Ana told us about the 48 churches/religious sites (!) that are spread around Dubrovnik, the terra cotta roofs of the city, wells that once provided drinking water and now stay hidden under the cream coloured ground slabs, and the sad fate that befell the city back in 1991-1992 when the Serbian forces attacked the city, kept it under siege and destroyed much of it. Even though you don’t see traces of war in the city today, the wounds are still fresh in locals’ hearts…

Talking about the war time, brings an air of sadness on Ana as the memories from her childhood return to her. We stare at pictures of houses from 1992 totally destroyed, we hear stories of lives lost, of refugees being evacuated from the city, of hunger and struggle… why is there all this cruelty in the world?

As we get surrounded by a group of Spanish tourists, we leave the war memories behind for a little while, and Ana hurries us along to show us a special statue. As I look at the cream-coloured statue, my gaze falls to the middle section of it made of copper.

George R.R. Martin must have been heavily inspired by this statue carving in the middle of old town in Dubrovnik when creating Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin must have been heavily inspired by this statue carving in the middle of old town in Dubrovnik when creating Game of Thrones

If you immediately thought of Game of Thrones, you are not alone. I think George R.R. Martin must have been heavily inspired by this statue carving, even though he claims he has never set foot in Dubrovnik. I mean look at this – the mother of dragons, a dragon at her feet, lion could be Lannister, the Iron Throne… And no, the statue was not just put up in 2011 when Game of Thrones aired, nor was Dubrovnik built in 2011 to play the set for Game of Thrones, despite of what some people visiting Dubrovnik believe. The city has been there for quite many centuries, and the statue maybe is not quite that old, but still old.

Our stroll and skipping lunch in anticipation and preparation of food indulgence experience has by now left us totally starving. Luckily food is the next item on the agenda. Ana prepared four stops for us on the menu.

We start easy with a Dalmatian tapas plate at Tavulin restaurant – Dalmatian prosciutto, selection of three cheeses from the island of Pag – young cow cheese, goat & cow cheese matured in olive husk, sheep cheese, black olive tapenade, chickpeas spread (hummus)+ Plavac mali wine (Miljas vineyard) from Pelješac peninsula.

The first stop of our food tour starts at Tavulin restaurant

The first stop of our food tour starts at Tavulin restaurant

The restaurant is just off the main square, it is a bit off the way from the main tourist highway so you need to know where you are going to find it. We absolutely loved our tapas plate and returned the day after for lunch to try more dishes from the menu. Really nice!

KopunStop #2 takes us to the famous stairs of shame – yep Game of Thrones again. On top of the stairs to the left you find Kopun restaurant. Kopun means rooster in Croatian. Here we are treated with a nice plate of kopun rooster paté, shrimp paté with black truffles, smoked deer ham from Slavonia region, kopun salad with bitter orange, tuna tartar with sesame seeds, fried and marinated paprika with carrot dip + red wine Merlot “Negromant”/white wine Malvasija “Tezoro” from Konavle region (Crvik vineyard).

By now I am already full, yet Ana has 2 more stops on the menu. Stop #3 takes us to Barba burger/seafood joint. It’s a hole in the wall kind of a place and really charming one. We are served with an octopus burger! Uhmm that was a first for us. Andreas totally ecstatic bites into his lovely black burger. Me – a bit less ecstatic, take a cautious bite. Tastes quite delicious actually. Burger approved, we move on to the last stop of the day.

Decomposed apfelstrudel

Decomposed apfelstrudel

It’s desert time at Lucin Kantun. I opted for the above deliciousness – a decomposed apfelstrudel. Quite a creative take on the traditional recipe. Tasted so good!
Dubrovačka rozata

Dubrovačka rozata

Andreas went with traditional dessert “Dubrovačka rozata” (créme caramel).

Needless to say, dinner was happily skipped after the delicious feast of tapas, burgers and desserts. Dubrovnik you pretty thing, even your cuisine is amazing. We tune out for the day, waiting in anticipation for day 4 that will take us on a full-day Game of Thrones immersion in King’s Landing. Cannot wait!!!

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

Medieval walls, terra cotta roofs, 350 height meters, buggy rides – that’s a day in Dubrovnik!

Dubrovnik in morning glow

Dubrovnik in morning glow – this view greets us every morning on our walk into the city.

Dobro jutro or in more plain tongue – good morning from dreamy Dubrovnik! And what a gorgeous morning it is. Birds are wide awake and chirping their love songs, the rising sun is kissing the red roofs of the city, the scent of mysterious white blooms are filling the air with love, and the turquoise waters of Adriatic are softly swaying in a dance of spring. It is hard not to get poetic in this city, when every step you take feels like walking in a fairy-tale.

In a sea of red roofs

In a sea of red roofs

Today’s mission is to get bird’s eye view over Dubrovnik. One of the best ways to do that is to climb the medieval city walls as early in the day as possible before the crowds start conquering them. Conquering Dubrovnik walls back in the medieval days was not really an option. Today times have changed and you can buy your way through for a small fortune. Setting you back with 200 kuna (HRK), will get you a single admission.

Dubrovnik panorama
One thing you will learn very quickly in Dubrovnik is that the prices for pretty much everything are insane. The price level seems to have a direct correlation with the prettiness of the city. And there was a time when I thought Swiss prices were a shock! Forget Switzerland, Dubrovnik is ready for you.

So onwards and upwards! No time for price shocks. The walls are not going to walk for you.

Fort Lovrijenac famously known as the site of King's Landing

Fort Lovrijenac to some known as King’s Landing

Oh this vista! As you make your ascend onto the narrow steps up the wall, the beautiness barometer hits off the charts. To your right is Fort Lovrijenac, today more commonly known to some as King’s Landing. To your left – a sea of red roofs and creamy houses. Can it get any prettier?

A postcard from Dubrovnik

A postcard from Dubrovnik

House dreams - wouldn't mind this beauty from a living room window

House dreams – wouldn’t mind this beauty from a living room window

Walls

A peek into the narrow alleys and courtyards of locals

A peek into the narrow alleys and courtyards of locals

Mediterranean vibes

Mediterranean vibes

The house in green looks like the ugly duckling in the sea of red roofs. It needed to make a statement obviously.

The house in green looks like the ugly duckling in the sea of red roofs. It needed to make a statement obviously.

If you let your eyes linger on the roofs for a few seconds, you can notice a difference in the shade of terra cotta on the roof tiles. As we learned from a local, back in the day there was a special tile making technique employed by no other than women of Dubrovnik. They were the tile masters of the city. The pale shade of terra cotta are the original tiles. The shade is natural belonging to the clay mixture from the grounds nearby. The shape of the tiles came from women making them on their thighs. Yep, you read it right.

After the war in 1990’s the city was greatly damaged and so was the roofs. During the reconstruction process, new tiles were added which were sourced from Toulouse, France. They couldn’t match the natural pale terra cotta shade 100%, so today the roofs stand as a beautiful mosaic of old and new.

Terra cotta tiles

internal.67800df2d94c65f8e6b9b7dee517125c.DO01012001

Here comes my mysterious white bloom scenting the air

The interplay of nature and architecture

The interplay of nature and architecture

One last look from atop the walls and off we descend only to climb again. No steep prices this time. We ‘decide’ to ditch the cable car in favour of getting some motion and climb a hill of 350 height meters up to the very top of the city. As if we didn’t just get enough from walking 2 hours on the walls. As you can hear the vote was not unanimous – far from it, and along the 1.5 hour of hiking you could hear feeble complaints being aired.

Hiking trails - up or down? Take your pick

Hiking trails – up or down? Take your pick

Andreas obviously enjoying the hike

Andreas obviously enjoying the hike

Andreas is obviously enjoying the hike. My sense of contempt settles in as soon as we reach enough height meters to get eyes on the target.

Fort Lovrijenac looks as majestic from above as from the ground

Fort Lovrijenac looks as majestic from above as from the ground

Dubrovnik and its surrounding islands

Dubrovnik and its surrounding islands

The target being this beauty! The right bank of Dubrovnik and its surrounding islands. All the way up to the top you are are rewarded with this views. Complaints are silenced by nature. My hiking pace on the other hand often halts to that of a turtle, with no offence intended whatsoever. Camera demands some action and often stops me for taking pictures. I have to obey its wishes.

Yellow flower we met also in Scotland

Yellow flower we also met in Scotland. Maybe not exactly the same, but it sure looks quite similar.

Mission accomplished. We have conquered the hill of 350 height meters and reached Fort Imperial! Just time enough for a quick bite before heading off to the next adventure of the day. A buggy ride in the wilderness. You can clearly sense who is in charge of planning the second part of the day. I am thrilled by the prospect of wearing this funny costume of pinkish red raincoat, blue hairnet under a grey helmet. That’s to protect you from the mud on the roads. Oh well… Off we go into the wild nature.

Our buggy ride

Our buggy ride

Despite initial fashion distaste towards the outfits we were ushered in, the ride was quite exhilarating. Mud was largely absent, yet adrenalin was there plenty of. So was beautiful views over Dubrovnik yet again.

Hike down was turned into a cable car ride down. But before that one last look at this dreamy view please!

This view againIt’s a wrap for a beautiful day 2 in Dubrovnik. The little gem of Adriatic holds so much more in store than meets the eye.

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan

The city of red roofs, white blooms and Game of Thrones

It was the lingering scent of ‘orange blossoms’ that brought me back…

The flower of Dubrovnik

The flower of Dubrovnik

Back to pretty Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic Sea. Three years ago was my first encounter with this beauty. It was a love at first sight. Ever since then the city of red roofs and orange blossoms has held a special place in my heart. And the scent of tiny white flowers blooming in April all around the city lingered in my memories.

The girl and the flowerIt is the month of April three years later and here I am back in Dubrovnik, where the red roofs are still glowing in the sun, medieval walls are as intact and the Adriatic as azure. And most importantly the sweet scent of white blooms is lingering all over the city. I am yet to find out the name of the bush. The fact that it is so terribly enchanting and beautiful in its modest appearance only gets enhanced by its anonymity. I will just call it orange blossoms until then. The name sounds so pretty and they grow right next to orange trees, so why not.

Oranges

Welcome to Dubrovnik! The city of red roofs, medieval walls, azure waters and in recent years home to King’s Landing of Game of Thrones.
Dubrovnik

The city is out of this world beautiful, really! It is one of a kind. To appreciate Dubrovnik in all its beauty you should take it in from a hill above the city or from the city walls. For now though we will stay grounded and walk the streets of Dubrovnik to take in the scent of white blooms and retrace the steps down the memory lane.

Pile Gate welcomes you to Dubrovnik

Pile Gate welcomes you to Dubrovnik

Before reaching the gate though, there is a need for a proper welcome to Dubrovnik.

But first a proper welcome :)

Sipping wine in the afternoon sun with a gorgeous view of the medieval city in the horizon

It feels just as enchanting to be walking in the latte coloured streets of Dubrovnik, taking in the sweet scent of white blooms and pretty scenes. First day was all about walking from one end of the city to the other, soaking in the Adriatic sun and indulging on some delicious seafood. The city is quite tiny in terms of physical meter sense but quite long in terms of its beauty. So that small late afternoonish stroll form one gate to another was a pretty sweet welcome to the gem of Croatia. Stay tuned for more adventures from the city of Game of Thrones!

internal.11929b3657192ea3c364a4f97ad31936.DO01011787

Rocky shores of Adriatic

Rocky shores of Adriatic

IMG_2103

What a magical welcome!

internal.26b6494eff0ee6e270da0f7225b31d08.DO01011839

Hibernating before the summer season kicks off

Sunset view

Dubrovnik harbour looking all dreamy in the sunset sky <3

Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan