Farewell Croatia

We have been staying in Dubrovnik over the past 4 days and I can’t rave enough about it, so excuse me for this blog post!! The first big surprise was that to reach it we had to leave Croatia and enter the Neum corridor, part of Bosnia. It all went very smoothly, however Al told me afterwards that we weren’t insured for that 10 km stretch! Driving through the centre of Dubrovnik in our 12m long car/caravan combo was also a challenge for me! Lots of lane changing and steep turns.

Then after parking up, settling in and going to sleep, we were rudely awoken by revving engines and horns, as a convoy of 15 Spanish campervans rolled in, in the dark and tried to park all around us! Al had to get up and move the car in the end, to avoid collisions. Then settling back to sleep we were awoken again this time by ‘The Lambada’ being played very loudly, what a cliché!

It was all worth the stresses and strains though. Dubrovnik is stunning!What an incredible city, with such huge walls around it, yet amazing clear blue sea, lush green islands and snow topped mountains, creating a dramatic back drop!

We walked into the old city from our campsite, which in hindsight was probably a bit of extra walking we really didn’t need to do! We reached the old town (Grad) and went for a wander through the tiny, pedestrian streets, already seeing some scenes I recognised from Game of Thrones. After walking around the whole city within the walls, and a quick coffee by the port we got a picnic and paid the money to climb the walls.

It was so worth the £10 each, because the view is spectacular and the walls themselves an incredible feat of human engineering. There are a huge number of steps, both up and down, because Dubrovnik is built in a bowl shaped valley. We realised how steep the climb had been when we saw an old man vomiting at the top of one of the flights! Don’t be put off, we all got round no problem although my pedometer did show we had climbed 80 storeys. On the walk you can also see the effects of the war, which only ended 20 years ago. 95% of the city was bombed and huge parts were destroyed, including monuments, walls and housing.

With our campsite we had use of the local hotel pool, Dot made friends with an Irish girl and her family, they had great fun in the rather chilly water! She also attended the children’s club the next afternoon, as it poured with rain, which gave Al and I a chance to write postcards and recover from a late night the night before. We met another British couple, The Currans, who are travelling from Cambridge to Bangkok (!), in a small, tiger painted, off-road-enabled campervan (www.tiggers-travels.com). They are heading through all the ‘Stans’, Russia and China, requiring a official to accompany them in their van in more than one country, now that really is brave!!

Our last day in Croatia was spent on 3 of the beautiful islands off Dubrovnik; Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud. We almost didn’t make it as the transfer boat didn’t arrive to pick us up, by fluke a salesman for the company turned up, tried to sell Al a ticket, and when he realised the mistake taxied us to the old town. From there we had to run to meet the boat. The crew spoke very little English, told us nothing about the islands, drank the local 40% booze as we sailed, fed the seagulls fish heads from their mouth and generally didn’t seem to realise they were running a tourist day trip! On the plus side Kolocep has a lovely sandy harbour, Sipan has a beautiful harbour and Lopud has a gorgeous sandy beach, our first and last in Croatia, which we beach buggied to and swim at. A lovely day’s visit just not with this company (Regina Maris)!

We then headed back to the campsite car park, where we had left the caravan all packed up and ready for our next adventure……

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