There is a lot happening around Dubrovnik, so 3 days were just about enough for a leisurely time there for us. On our first day, we had to head to the Lapad area to drop off the rental car, so we just walked about the fancier, more new-age, up-market part of Dubrovnik.
This satellite town of Dubrovnik, just half an hour away from the old town, is perfectly situated in the Adriatic sea. The sea is not too rough and all along the bay is a corniche like walking path with lots of steps down to the water. You can climb down the ladders or rocks to enter the crystal clear water or jump off the edge if that’s your thing.
This evening was a cold, windy, cloudy day. The sound of waves crashing on the rocks and the clear blue sea as far as the eye could see were as soothing as soothing could be.
I actually found the photo-op I had been hunting for on the entire coastal drive, the pier sticking out into the sea. I had seen plenty of them as we set off from Split, but the hubby hadn’t stop the flying car for the pic. Here, there was no car and so I dashed down to the pier and made the kid click before this moment was lost too!
The cool breeze blowing in from the sea and the light drizzle as we walked along, just added to the ambience. We actually climbed down some rocks and happily sat at the edge of the water. The hubby and kid, being far more “goat-footed” than me, happily clambered over some rocks and sat almost at the water’s edge. One fight between the 2 and both would be in the water.
Naturally, I didn’t head down there. We continued walking around, admiring the hotels with the better half continually ruing the fact that we didn’t stay here. I was very happy though, for even though Lapad bay was great and would have been the ultimate chill destination, its distance from old town and huge cost of transport to-and-fro would have meant that we’d never have enjoyed Dubrovnik the way we did. But I had to agree with him on one thing, these hotels were truly amazing. Perched high up on the hill-side or right at the water’s edge, with balconies looking onto the sea and infinity pools that made you feel like part of the Adriatic, these places spelled classic luxury with location. The ultimate do-nothing-but-bathe-in-the-pool or read-a-book-by-the-water’s edge type holiday. Had I spent 10 days in Dubrovnik, I certainly would have spent 3 nights here.
Our plan for the evening was to walk along the entire waterfront of Lapad bay and then catch a bus back to old town. By now, kiddo was tired and hungry so we cut our Lapad hotel tour by half and tried getting out. This turned out to be no mean feat. While we were blundering about, we suddenly came upon The Bridge, the one that the hubby hadn’t stopped for on the drive to Dubrovnik and had a panoramic view of the suspension bridge and the harbor. While not as great as snapping it up close, this sort-of made up for the great disappointment.
After being thoroughly lost, frozen solid, and troubled by an exhausted and hungry kid, we (read me) managed to locate a garden that was a shortcut to the bus stop. Fortunately, the kid got distracted by the pretty trees and flowers, for a short while, till we could find a café and food for madame.
Warmed up by food, we shopped happily for souvenirs to carry back home. Lapad is famous for its hotels and beaches and waterfront cafes, but it was too cold while we were there to even think of putting a toe in the water. One more agenda for Dubrovnik in the future. We stood at the bus stop, with the chilled winds blowing past, and got into the first bus that came our way. A curvy, rash bus drive took us back to old town, but to the gate at the other end of our hotel. We only took this bus because we’d been freezing , but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Since we reached that gate, we walked through the old town on a very cool evening with absolutely no crowds. But that will be the subject of a later post.
Mount Srd-cablecar ride
The next evening, we headed out to Mount Srd, the highest point of Dubrovnik that has a terrific view of Dubrovnik. A short cable car ride whisked us to the top, amidst stunning views over the old town as we ascended, and of the green mountainside.
Mount Srd, as seen from the old town of Dubrovnik, was a very important strategic defence point, as it had a birds-eye view of the town and the sea. Napoleon had built a fort at this hilltop, 200 years ago. The fort fell into disuse until the attack on Dubrovnik by the Serbians. A group of defenders from the city managed to hold on to the fort even after being badly outnumbered by the attackers. Since then it has become a beloved symbol of Dubrovnik’s special spirit.
Apparently, this is a very popular excursion and is jam-packed during peak season with cruise-ship hordes. On the day we were there, though, as we went late in the evening, there weren’t that many people. Yet, they packed our cable-car to capacity, which meant that taking pictures during our ascent wasn’t that easy.
It took barely 3 minutes to whisk us to the top (400m above sea level). At the top are viewing platforms at different levels, where you can look down from the mountain in all directions, a museum with pictures of the recent war which we didn’t visit, a ridiculously over-priced souvenir shop and a restaurant with sweeping views of Dubrovnik.
The most arresting views were naturally of the green hill-side with yellow wild-flowers leading our eyes down to the stunning vista of the walled old town and the entire orange roofed city to both sides of the old town and the deep blue Adriatic beyond. Words (and the camera) failed us.
Looking ahead of the old town, and to the left, was the deep green Lokrum island surrounded by the blue waters. From high up, it looked like a green blob in the waters. The view made the brat want to go to Lokrum island again.
Turn to the right and the Lapad bay came into view. The clear water at the rocky edges and the hotels all along the bay with the houses sweeping upwards was as magical as the view of the old town itself. Here’s when I could appreciate the value of a swim in the infinity pool of hotel Rixos Libertas.
Turn a little more to the right and all of Dubrovnik islands came into view, floating proudly in the Adriatic, like a row of sleeping crocodiles.
Turn to the other side, away from the sea and the old town, and you can see the sweeping mountains, with a few small houses here and there.
Turning back to the sea and the old town, I could appreciate why this was regarded as a must-see destination in Dubrovnik. The view of the old town was simply too gorgeous.
Once done with clicking pics, we just stood and stared and tried to commit this amazing vision to memory. The evening sun and the cool breeze just added to the enjoyment. With the 200mm zoom lens, I could zero in onto the details of the old town including the harbor, cathedral, clock tower and the sea of orange roofs, even the Fort Lovrijenac.
Infact, it was soon a fight for the 200mm. The three of us were pushing and pulling at the camera to zoom in and see the details from all the way up, of the old town that we had roamed about in the previous day, in a similar light.
At the very top stands the memorial cross, originally built many years ago from Brac white stone, but destroyed during the Croatian war for independence. After independence, a new one was built, along with the cable car and a museum, commemorating the tragedy.
The plan was to see the sunset from the top, but it was way too windy and cold. We still loafed about as much as we could and then headed down, to a great view of the walled town and the ascending cable-car.
While I was busy admiring the old town glowing orange, the hubby pointed out the magic happening in the west, as the sun was setting.
All of a sudden, the sky turned orange, the sun flamed red and all the clouds lit up as if on fire.
And then from orange, the islands turned blue, then black, darker than the sea, with the orange red rimmed sky above.
Sunset from the top of Mount Srd must be awesome; Sunset from a suspended cable car is wow, simply wow.