Like I said in my earlier post, the biggest advantage of staying near the old town was to see it by evening and night. I have always liked seeing places at odd hours, early mornings, sunsets, late night, long before I knew the about the “golden hour” concept. For me, it was more about seeing a place when it was less crowded, and only the locals were moving about, or the people staying in the area for a long while.
So, on our trip, we got to see Dubrovnik at many different times, early morning, in the heat of a sunny afternoon, on a cool rainy evening, and on a pleasant night. And the magical old town turned even more magical at sunset.
On all 3 nights that we were at Dubrovnik, we roamed the old town. Whilst some might call it overkill, we thoroughly enjoyed walking about aimlessly. Every evening was cool and pleasant, and the sun lent golden shadows to the entire town.
We also loved hogging on icecream at the many gelato shops dotting the stradun, and window-shopping at the pretty shop windows.
Or simply, looking upto the patron of Dubrovnik himself, at the top of the cathedral.
The new town, the beach, and the waters were just as enchanting as the old town itself. The walk outside the Ploce gate upto our apartment was along the waterfront, so naturally, the views made us stop and stare every few minutes.
Right outside the Ploce gate was a large terrace overlooking the harbour, where we sat and rested while the brat ran about excitedly, thrilled to see the largest ever “telescope” she had ever seen!
Failure of the educational system or credit to world peace, what should we attribute this gaffe to?
But naturally, sunset was magical in Dubrovnik.
This was the sunset on our last evening in Dubrovnik, when we walked down along the harbour to the farthest point one could sit on. The sun couldn’t be seen from here, but the sky lit up in all the different shades of blue, pink and yellow, was just as wonderful as the sunset we saw at Zadar. Ok, no, it wasn’t, but this was great too.
Sitting there, listening to the waves lap at our feet, and the kid whine endlessly about leaving, an old Viking-type ship came into view, majestic with her wooden bows and nets and tall masts. And with a ship-load of screaming people on deck, waving frantically to all those on this small rocky ledge.
The old town lit up as the sun set, all soft gold and pink.
It looked even more amazing from the road leading out of the old town.
I could have simply sat here doing nothing but staring at this view, for hours.
But the old town itself beckoned, weaving her charms over us and drawing us irresistibly inside.
At night, the old town had such a different look. Narrow streets were lit only by golden lanterns. The floor seemed to simmer under the feet treading past. All the old buildings were lit up. The entire place felt alive, throbbing, with people, with activity, with magic.
The Stradun was all glittery, unashamedly sparkling.
I admit, I went overboard with photographs in this street.
As we walked down, we saw happy people everywhere, locals and tourists alike, just strolling about, or enjoying a noisy meal in one of the gazillion restaurants. More waiters called out to us, tempting us to sample their wares, and all their restaurants were as romantic as romantic gets.
We looked into more souvenir shops, passed by pizza-by-the-slice places and saw loads of jewellery stores with coral and precious gems jewellery and I was sorely tempted to buy, but fortunately good sense and lack of finances prevailed. This window shopping was thoroughly enjoyable and for the first time, the kid liked it too.
While loafing about, we suddenly came upon a large square with a lot of tables laid about and the famous Pucic palace at one edge, with a nice statue in the center and a very beautiful gargoyle spouting water from its mouth. The dull gold light reflecting off these really very ancient stone buildings with loads of people sitting was a truly magical sight.
At the corner could be seen the lights of the Dubrovnik cathedral and the Sponza palace.
Straight ahead was a beautiful staircase reaching up to a higher level from where you could see the entire square and the twinkling lights of new town Dubrovnik in the background. More magic.
To the right was the church of St Ignatius, in my mind, the most beautiful church of Dubrovnik.
It was getting late and it was time to leave. We walked through the old town towards our gate. I stopped taking pictures to just absorb this atmosphere and freeze this evening in my mind. The kid stopped whining too and smiled at the happy memories she had created for herself. As we turned into the Stradun for the last time, we couldn’t help but gasp.
Leaving the old town, we saw that a fashion show about to start. Enamored as my daughter was by the pretty dresses and the makeup of the models, we had to wait to see it.
As we left the old town for the long walk back to the apartment, we turned and looked back at the city, glowing in the dark.
The moon was gleaming too, leaving a long trail of sparkles reflected in the water. It was as though the city was putting on its best show while saying good-bye.
This really was how our entire trip was. Magical. A different kind of magic from Walt Disney magic. A natural one. A time and a place to slow down in, to savour each day and each moment, to come closer to nature, and perhaps oneself. A trip where we realised the tenacity of human relationships. A trip where we all found our own space. A trip to remember. Forever and ever. A trip to bring and keep a smile on our faces. It will stay frozen in time.
P.S. A big thank you once again to Vinay for agreeing to come to this “unheard of” place and Yogesh for planning my trip and editing my pictures.
P.P.S. I will be back. I don’t know when, but I will. And hopefully, with a bunch of girl friends and my sister and a red convertible sports car.