Tourist First

Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Welcome to Steve Bailey's Tourist First. You can use the search function in the upper left corner of this screen to look for particular destinations. You can also simply scroll through the more than 100 postings. Or you can click on one of the terms below to find postings on a variety of topics and destinations.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Croatia: Dubrovnik, Walls and Beaches

A seaside path along Uvala Lapad (Lapad Cove) near our hotel west of the walled old town.

The long lines to the ticket window and then to the stairs help make walking atop the medieval city wall at Dubrovnik seem like a theme park attraction. And the narrow streets below, filled with restaurants, snack shops and souvenir vendors cement the theme park impression.

During our 2018 visit, part of a seven-week, five-country tour of the Balkans, we visited the old part of Dubrovnik only twice, once on a very hot June afternoon to walk the wall, and again one evening to visit a wine bar.

For our Balkans itinerary and hotel information, click HERE.
For our visit to Athens, click HEREDelphi, HERE
Santorini, HEREHeraklion, HERE. Chania, HERE
Hydra, HERE. Thessaloniki, HERE. Kotor, HEREHvar, HERE. Split, HERE.
Zagreb, HERE. Ljubljana, HERE. Piran, HERE. Trieste, HERE. Venice, HERE.

Most of our time was spent well outside the walls, in the Babinkuk area on the peninsula that stretches westward from the central city. Our hotel, the Kompas, was above a public beach (the hotel supplied umbrellas and lounges for guests) and on a seaside walkway that went around the tip of the peninsula in one direction and connected with bus stops and city streets at the other. (We used city buses to go between our hotel and the old town.) Between the hotel and the bus stops is a lively stretch of hotels, open-air restaurants, carnival rides, clay tennis courts, and shops selling beach gear. One night we stumbled upon what we took to be a Croatian folk/rock concert at the tennis courts that was packed with jubilant locals.

The beach is pebbles, not sand. Jane had packed water shoes; I had not. I persevered with flip-flops and we both enjoyed the clean water. At our next stop, the island of Hvar, I broke down and bought water shoes. Beach-going here is not like it is in the U.S. in that alcohol is not only allowed, it is encouraged, with some vendors bringing pitchers of beer to sunbathers. Another difference is a casual attitude toward toplessness and changing clothes on the beach.

One day we took a ferry from Port Gruz to the nearby island of Korcula, where we went in search of what turned out to be a beach inferior to what we had at our hotel. The island that is most commonly visited by tourists is Lokrum, easily visible from the old town walls. Boats to it leave from the old port just outside the southeastern corner of the old town.

Here are some photos.
A short walk along the seaside path from the Kompas brought us to the
More Hotel's Cave Bar. The bar and a number of tables are in a real
cave, burrowed into the cliff. The More Hotel sits at the top of
the cliff and has an elevator that descends to the cave. There are
also tables outside the cave, on terraces cascading down
toward the sea. We had our drinks outside in the sun.

Strung along the seaside path are many ways to
get into the water, usually swim ladders mounted
on rocks like this one. In some places, concrete
has been added to provide room for sunbathing.

The seaside path.

The beach below the Hotel Kompas. The hotel's ground level is at the beach; a pool deck
is on the next floor up (the first floor), and if you go up another nine or so floors,
you'll be at street level at the top of the cliff. The lobby is on the 10th floor and most
guestrooms are below it, though still high above the beach.

A sunbather seems oblivious to a huge cruise ship. 

Part of a menu from a wine bar near the Hotel Kompas. 

On the walk atop Dubrovnik's famous wall. During our visit on a sunny day during one of Europe's
new extreme heat spells, we were happy to find water sold at several spots along the wall,
even though the prices were exorbitant.

The old town's jagged outline and steep hills provide
views of the wall from the wall.

Part of the old port as seen from atop the wall.

Parts of the wall look like sets for a swords and sandals movie.

A sea of red tile roofs.

As in many walled towns, narrow pedestrian streets
are made narrower by restaurant and bar tables. 

Our one excursion took us to the little island of Korcula,
where we used this path to cross the island in search
of a swimming spot we had read about.

This little church and its cemetery were on the path.

The path was sometimes bordered by stone walls and houses.

Our destination was this swimming spot in a village harbor. We took a look
and headed back, having lunch at the ferry port before returning to Dubrovnik.