November 7, 2012

Dubrovnik, Bosnia, Montenegro

(guest writer - Ernie!) Ever since I saw this photo of Dubrovnik old town/port in a tourist magazine, it has been one of those cities on top of my list (just like how the poster of the Castle in Kizkalesi in tube station made me want to go to Turkey), so when Anthony told me they were going with Thean and Doris, there was no way I would miss the trip. Day 1 Everything was planned out on this trip for me, kudos to Thean the ultimate trip planner. We arrived at the airport early on Wednesday, with sunny weather on our side. They rented an apartment by the old town, we had to walk a ton of stairs to get to it, but it was still pretty awesome - about 10 min walk from city, and the scenery out the balcony looked at the old town and the island next to it. Not to waste anytime, we dropped off our luggage and went straight into town. The old town was surrounded by a castle wall. It wasn't very big, but quite pretty, had a venice feel to it when you walk through all the little side streets. Their gelato wasn't as good though, it was more... melty. Since the weather was so nice we decided to do some kayaking in the afternoon. The kayak route went from the town to a beach/cave area, then around the island that we see from the balcony called Lokrum. (tag - Ernie) On the map, the route looks quite doable, a leisurely 3 hour route around Lokrum island. Unfortunately, Lockrum was huge, and it got bigger the closer u got to it. We paddled so hard for three hours, honestly, it was quite a workout for the amount of sleep we had the night before (3hrs). We managed a short stop in a cove where we got the opportunity to snorkel and swim for a bit. #bliss (Andy - though it was nothing like Mexico water, in Doris's words, it was all colourless fish) After a beautiful sunset by the water we went back to the apartment to clean up before dinner. Andy was unlucky enough to shower fourth, which meant no hot water after the two girls spent ages washing salt out of their beautiful hair. He was a little huffy ;p Dinner was a simple affair where we went to a restaurant recommended by the hotel owner. The local speciality was castrated rooster stewed in a variety of sauces. It tasted quite nice, but I'm not sure what the castration does to the taste. We tried some local desserts as well before wandering back through the beautiful old town at night, stopping here and there for some night photo opportunities. What a pretty city. Day 2 Day two was an early start, we had a bus tour to a town called Mostar in Bosnia/Herzegovina. Never in my life I thought I would be visiting Bosnia, I don't think I ever knew where it actually was on the world map. It was a long bus ride with amazing scenery on the way. Along the coast line there were all these oyster farms nestled between the most peaceful looking valleys. This world is sometimes so pretty it hurts. The highlight of Mostar is this famous bridge called Stari Most (the Old Bridge). As per usual, we didn't pay attention to the guide (at least I didn't) so I can't tell you much about the bridge. I know it's a famous landmark, it's been rebuilt a few times, and that some kids make a living by jumping off the bridge for a few donations from the tourists. For lunch we sat by the river and ordered multiple platters of food -mixed grill, mixed fish and lots of Ćevapi, the Bosnian version of kebabs - mini sausages and pita bread. It was quite good, made even better by the picturesque scenery. After the long bus ride back, we headed back into Dubrovnik and decided to hit the local supermarket to buy icecream tubs and alcohol to make full use of our balcony view. Sometimes the best part of the trip is really just sitting around chatting on the balcony, feeling the cool ocean breeze brush by, and feeling like you have all the time in the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina_cuisine#Meat_dishes (tag - Andy) Day 3 Next day trip was to Montenegro. Again, I didn't even know where this country was, so I had no idea what to expect on this tour. The bus ride scenery was just as amazing, we got to stop at a photo spot that overlooked the whole old town of Dubrovnik, then we had our first stop at this little town by the water to see Our Lady on Rock. It was 2 small islands in the middle of the water - one had a monastery, and the other had a church. We took a boat ride to the church, and well... it was a church lol, not much else to say about it, but we spent a good chunk of time taking random photos. With the holy sunlight effect in the sky, the mountains, and the water, couldn't really ask for more. After the amazing scenery, we stopped in this old town called Kotor. It was... just another old town really, and all I can think of was Knights of the Old Republic lol... we had a nice but somewhat odd tour guide, who made a joke about how an earthquake had made one of their buildings slanted, and I laughed, and then she said to me it's not really funny, what if there was an earthquake here tomorrow? ... Anyway, we stuffed ourselves with mussels and squid for lunch, more photo stops, and that was pretty much the end of the tour. Magically, Sam also got the tour guide's phone number out of this tour. #winner Friday night was a relaxing night, we ate vegetarian at Nishta. The boys were all probably hungry still, so we went and bought some Croatian vodka, and play spoons. There was no winner that night. (tag - Ernie) Day 4 Poor Sam. He was still suffering the effects of the vodka from the night before. He would stare at you, and wouldn't speak, his brain was working far too slowly that morning. We spent most of that rainy morning in a cafe, drinking Croatian coffee while the boys checked in to their facebook and foursquare. Insane amount of rain. Honestly. The way you feel about a place really changes when your feet are soaking wet, your body is dripping and your umbrella keeps going inside out. As much as I love rain, and running through it, but there's a limit. We were drenched through, so we picked a random spot for pizza, based on the sizes of pizza we saw on other people's table (giant). Then it cleared up so we decided to walk around the walled city. Seriously, best thing we'd done. The views were amazing, the effort was minimal (haha unlike kayaking) and it was not only beautiful, atmospheric, Panoramic shots The last thing we had yet to eat was a seafood platter, so off to Moby Dick for a platter of oysters, mussels, squid ink risotto, more squid and prawns. Day 5 Our last day in town, I think by now we were all quite tired, and due to the rain and our shoes still wet from the day before, we decided to take it easy. Went back to Mea Culpa for lunch (pizza, pasta, lasagne and salad) before heading back to the apartment for one last chill before the airport trip. Bonus was that it was daylights savings, meaning we gained an hour on the way back. We spent the time wisely eating spicy Asian food near Thean's place which was a welcome relief after the insane amount of squid and oysters we'd eaten on the trip. Then home. Interesting facts:
  • Ate ham and cheese in multiple form of pastries - pie thing (borek), pizza bread, pizza, sandwiches
  • Watched entire season 2 of game of thrones on this trip
  • Played spoons for the first time
  • Watched Anthony order half pints of beer of his own accord
  • Went to Konzan the supermarket a million times.
  • Anthony challenged, and lost, to the wave.
Would I come back? Only during the summer it's most likely sunny. This town is like... totally different depending on the weather. You can either enjoy the beach, kayak, snorkel in the sun. Or, get soaked in rain.

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