Warning: This photo-heavy post (something everyone is used to by now) has only 3 colors: orange, blue and grey.
That’s me all right, high on Dubrovnik, figuratively and literally. For I was atop the “walls” of Dubrovnik one sunny morning. The old town of Dubrovnik is walled in and the walls are its most famous attractions. 2km long, they spread all around the old town, safeguarding it from the sea and the land. As the walls are the most “HOT” attraction, we chose to walk them early morning.
Since the kid had only seen the walls like this, she was terrified at the thought of walking on them, and wondered what would happen if she lost her balance and fell off! I had forgotten to tell her that there was a walking path between the raised edges, and she didn’t understand the military importance.
We were supposed to reach there by 8am, but naturally we slept in longer, and the brat took forever to get ready. Frustrated by being late, I omitted the essential step of clicking a picture of the brat with the pretty roses outside our apartment. I marched ahead of her in a huff, till I came upon a lovely view of the old town just ahead. Promptly, I fished out my camera and tried clicking but the camera didn’t turn on. At all. Panic filled me. Why didn’t it start? Had it fallen down? No. Could the sun after the cold night have spoiled it? Unlikely. What could be wrong? After all sorts of maneuvers, I opened the battery slot, to find it empty. Dhakkan moi had forgotten to insert the battery after charging. So there resulted a mad rush back again and a delay of a further 15 min. Moral of the story: take pictures of the tortoise even if you are bugged!
One has to walk only counter clockwise on the walls, a good rule to reduce chaos. Apparently the walls can get terribly crowded when the cruise ships and huge tour groups come in. The steps upto the walls are steep and made of the hard stone. When we got up on the walls, the view just hit us. We were up in the air almost 2 storeys high and were looking down onto the streets of the very old town we had roamed about in the last 2 days.
Super wow! From where we began our walk, just beyond the edge of the walls, was the entire old town. We could see the crossing streets with the shiny floors, and the small old white stone houses with the different colored roofs, some dull orange, some yellow brown, some rust red and most, a bright orange. The green domes of the cathedral stood out in sharp contrast.
Beyond the other edge of the walls was the bright blue of the Adriatic with the sun glinting off it. We walked on, very excited, stopping every 2 minutes to take pictures. It was like flying over the city. We could see the old clock tower and the cathedral from above their level and look into the bell tower.
We could see the narrow lanes that I had liked so much and saw a clothes line strung so high in between the buildings that it was impossible to hangs the clothes on it. We could look down at the narrow lanes crossing the Stradun, right up close.
We walked slowly along this narrow steep wall, taking in the great view, despite the sun that was now burning down. It was getting very hot, and I appreciated the wisdom of those who recommend getting here very very early.
We climbed up the many many steps to the Minceta tower, the highest point on the walls, which must have been a very strategic battlepoint years ago. Now, it served as a great, but exhausting view-point.
From here, we could see the entire lines of the walls. You could easily imagine a siege of the olden days with the commander general on the tower, checking the positions of the enemy soldiers and his own. The soldiers themselves would be crouching along the walls, rifles sticking out of the tiny sloping holes in the walls, and the archers on top of the towers and look outs, their bodies hidden by the raised fortifications. You could see the flag of Dubrovnik fluttering high in the wind and imagine the fight that kept it flying high.
But our little one missed all this. She sat inside the tower, where there was a nice cool covered area with a table and chair where she simply plonked herself, having run out of steam by now.
As we climbed down from this high point, we got a closer (and undesirable for those concerned) look into the lives of those who stayed within the old town. We could see a rooftop basketball court, football court and looked straight into the spires of the churches.
Turning back to see the tower, I couldn’t help but admire the strength and great efforts of those people who must have fortified the walls of this proud republic, in days when there were no cranes or machinery to quarry or hoist stones.
As we walked towards the walls along the waterfront, we got a full head-on frontal view of the beautiful Stradun, that had captivated us all these days, and of the pile gate, with truckloads of people entering the old town.
Further ahead, we were right over the sea. We could now clearly see the large fort Lovrinjac a short distance away, perched on a small hill. It looked so strong and tough that it was not possible to conquer it. The waves were crashing hard against the cliffs at the edge of the fort and there was a thick white spray at the base.
A few boats were sailing in the distance and closer by, some adventurous souls were kayaking around the walls. What a great way to see the walls!
Looking back from the edge of the walls to the entire old town, I could see how all the homes built outside the walls mirrored those built within them. What great uniformity! And we Indians can’t even have the same grills on our buildings!
By now the kid was very tired and hot. We finally came upon a small stall selling ice cream and drinks but she was too parched for ice cream. Cold water was all she needed. By now her interest was gone. Fortunately, a little ahead was a covered bar which sold freshly squeezed juices. Some cold orange juice gave her a lot more strength.
On we walked, looking at different colored roofs. All the bright orange ones were the rebuilt roofs after the bombing of Dubrovnik in the 1990s civil war. 25 years since then, and they had rebuilt their city so impressively.
As we finished our “pradakshina”, we came upon the harbour once more, this time from above, and just as beautiful.
I surely was disappointed to leave this great walk. Cant say the same for the hubby and the kid though! They were thrilled to exit.
Despite the heat and the delay, this was a great morning. I would have loved getting back on the walls in the evening at sunset, but we went instead to the harbour to see the setting sun. Something for next time again!