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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Photos © Andreas Eriksen & Ani Movsisyan