Winter is allegedly the season of stark cold savagery in Europe. Two soft poorly prepared Aussies like Pam and myself need to hole up somewhere to avoid the worst of it.
Where better than Dubrovnik Croatia, Pearl of the Adriatic.
Dubrovnik is a beautiful old coastal city in the far south of Croatia.
The Old City is surrounded by high stone fortifications, a broad limestone paved central street runs down the valley contained within these walls. To each side narrow side streets branch off with each branch ending in steep stone stairs that climb the valley slopes.
Our trip from Korcula to Dubrovnik is via a mini bus. Shortly after leaving Korcula town we board a ferry that weaves between small green and stone islands taking us to the mainland then making our way down the winding coastal road towards Dubrovnik.
As the sun sets our driver stops at a restaurant for a couple of cigarettes. My beer laden bladder sings a little song of release.
We drive on in the dark for another hour and a half before we arrive at the Dubrovnik bus terminal. Unfortunately the full bus prevented us from sitting and talking further with our new friend Esprit however we wish her ‘all the best’ for her future as we disembark.
We are told that the Old City is four kilometers from the bus terminal. New cities and darkness combine to override Pam’s love of walking everywhere. We elect to catch a cab which drops us at the main gate to the old city.
Despite modern accoutrements such as Google maps we still manage to find ourselves walking in completely the opposite direction we should be and need to ask a couple of locals for help.
To my relief our apartment lies within the stone walls of the Old City, no walking for kilometers to get to the heart. We cross the wooden bridge that leads through the iron gates of the outer wall, climb down the stone stairs within and enter Dubrovnik Stari Grad’s broad well lit central street.
Christmas is in a few days and Dubrovnik is preparing for the festive season, orange leaf garlands, lights and tinsel, at the far end of the street a stage is being erected for holiday performances.
We pace down with our full backpacks looking for our apartment street. One third of the way down the central street we turn left and shortly after begin climbing, climbing, climbing the steep stone staircase we are soon to become very familiar with.
Close to the top we find our apartment number and are greeted by our landlady from the windows above as we knock on the door.
The wooden door leading to the apartment foyer is so narrow I cannot enter without first taking off my pack. Even then my shoulders barely squeeze through.
Our young landlady laughs at our panting from the climb and tells us ‘we will soon become used to it’ as she ushers us into the apartment. She tells us her mother lives on the floor above us and if we need anything to just ask.
She also says the little bottle of local liqueur on the table is a gift for us. A lovely welcome to a beautiful town.
Our apartment is small however is very clean and has a functional lay out. We are delighted to have a washing machine in the bathroom and a little clothesline outside the bedroom window. The kitchenette has a good array of cooking utensils and enough bench space to prepare meals and clean up effectively. We find a couple of beers and bottles of orange juice in the small fridge.
Looks like a comfy fortnight coming up.
I am keen to get some hard core rest going immediately however Pam is having none of that. We venture out into the cool Dubrovnik night once again in search of dinner which we find at one of the many restaurants still open in the broad central street.
We dine alfresco as the attractive well dressed Dubrovnik locals strut down the Stradun.
Climbing those stairs with a full belly …… slow and steady keeps the dinner down.
Mick and Pam