Dubrovnik was the 11th stopover in our Europe’s backpacking trip. Though I was excited to be on Dubrovnik in Croatia, but after being robbed off my wallet in Croatia earlier, I was a little sceptical too.
4 Stamps to enter Dubrovnik from Mostar
We reached Dubrovnik in approximately 3 hours from Mostar after getting 4 stamps on our passport. Don’t know why 4? Usually 2 stamps work – exit from one country and entering into another!
We drove along the mountains with river on one side to reach Dubrovnik. Croatia has more than 1000 islands but only around 66 are inhabited.
Dubrovnik was full of tourists
When we reached Dubrovnik, it was full of tourists, cars and buses. It was a task to find a parking slot for Eneed, our cab driver, just to drop us off. Finally, he managed a quick stopover to drop us off and left.
As we reached the gate of old town, we called our host but he told us that he will take around 30 min to reach us as they had already waited earlier and left. We had got delayed at the border during 4 passport-stamping and then finding a parking at drop-off.
Lunch at Peline
So, we decided to have lunch as we hadn’t had breakfast before leaving. We sat at the restaurant Peline right at the entry of Old Town. Since we had luggage with us we couldn’t move around much. We ordered food but it was quite expensive.
We saw Basmati rice with veggies on menu and just ordered that. Oh, but what a bummer! It turned out to be some sticky Basmati rice, never seen or heard of in India. We paid almost 1200 INR for the new variety of Basmati Rice. The other dishes we ordered were sea-food soup and veg sandwich. I decided to wait to see the portions and then order. As the food came and we realised the rice were not basmati but simple risotto, the other dish we ordered was French fries. This turned out to be one of our most expensive meals in a non-exotic place. So, we decided next meal will be at the apartment to keep the expenses within budget.
As we were finishing food the host came and one friend went to collect the key and understand how things work. Then we all walked down the cobbled uneven stairs of old town with our bags. We got pictures clicked as if we were dying taking the bags down the stairs. An elderly couple was amused so they stopped by to see us and offered help so we told them it’s more for fun and we had reached our apartment.
La Mirage Apartments
La mirage Apartments was a nice small apartment set for 3 people but felt a little claustrophobic especially the washroom. We left our luggage and set out to explore the old town further. It was full of tourists and souvenir shops and cafes.
Exploring Old Town of Dubrovnik
Our apartment was right in the heart of old town. Few steps down and we were in the castle area.
After walking around together for a few minutes, we split into twos. Two wanted to go to seaside and another girl and I decided of taking a walking tour. But then we found out that the next tour would be starting at 5 and we had three hours to kill. So, we started walking around the town ourselves and explore various nooks and corners.
In fact, it turned out be more fun and there were information boards everywhere so had no issues. We walked along various lanes, reached the sea, saw a part which was destroyed but hasn’t been restored and kids playing. Interestingly the whole old town homes have been converted into apartments and hotels and there are plenty of accommodation. The only problem is carrying the luggage around the large number of steps.
Life Beyond Old Town in Dubrovnik
After sometime we decided to explore beyond old town and as we had stepped out. My friend wanted a sandwich so we stopped at a small shop for it. As she was getting the sandwich made, we got a call from the other two that they are planning to take city tour for 20 Euros and needed the apartment key to take their cameras. So, we also joined them as the tour included a round of the entre Dubrovnik ending at the sunset point and a few more photo-ops.
On the way back to the apartment, we decided to have ice cream but my forex card wasn’t working. My friend also tried but even her card was not working. I went to the ATM and changed the pin too but no use. Then we went to another ice cream parlour on the way where they accepted euros so we got the ice cream, vegan too.
Time for City Tour of Dubrovnik
Then we all went together to the point from where we had to take the tour. After buying the tickets, while we were waiting for the cab, an old jolly fellow came to us and asked why we are not having ice cream? He was having pistachio ice cream and this was his favourite flavour. And the city tour would start as soon as he finished the ice cream as he was the cab driver as well as the guide. He was fun to talk to.
Various Attractions of Dubrovnik
There were two more people in the tour with us. The first stop was River Ombla, the shortest river in Europe. It’s just 30 m long and supplies water to the region of Dubrovnik. It comes out from a spring 300 m deep in mountains.
Then we went to a point where we could see multiple islands surrounding Dubrovnik. The next stop was a point from where we could see three countries – Bosnia, Montenegro and parts of Croatia. They are all on different mountain ranges or so we were told.
This was followed by the road where the King’s Landing was shot for Game of Thrones. Apparently, Dubrovnik has a special city tour showing different shooting spots used in Game OF thrones and it’s become a very popular tour.
Sunset Point of Dubrovnik
Finally, we went to the Sunset point. Soon After reaching, it started raining there.
The weather started getting cold so didn’t hang around much and came back sooner than usual.
Time for Dinner and Shopping
After returning we went around the old town to pick up veggies, fruits and breads. We went to one store and picked up the stuff. Then we went to a confectionery shop – Mlinar to buy croissants, apple strudel etc. The food there was freshly baked and very tasty. There was a huge queue. After picking up the food, when I tried paying, my card didn’t work again so a friend paid for me.
After that the girls returned to apartment and I went to check my card and buy some wine if I get something nice. But voila my card didn’t work even at ATM machine so I came back and messaged back home. Then we all had dinner at the apartment.
Dubrovnik at night
After the dinner, all went for a walk around the old town and sea to experience the place at night when tourists are gone. It was cold and windy but lighting around the sea was fabulous.
On the way back, we saw an Indian couple fighting. The woman kept talking whereas the man was more interested in clicking pictures. At one place live music was playing which was nice so we stopped for a while and listened to the local music.
Even though we didn’t understand the song but music was nice and foot-tapping. After sometime, we came back to apartment and slept.
A bright new day in Dubrovnik
Next morning, we all got ready by 10 and went to bus station. We had tried asking the host if we can keep our luggage for a while as our bus was in evening but she refused. On being asked for a cloak room nearby she said she doesn’t know one… we found it a little strange!
While people were still getting ready, I went to check if my card was working but it still wasn’t. It took lot of effort, time and many people back home to get the card activated again. Later we found, that the card got deactivated, as I had tried to change the pin in foreign land. I was doing it for safety measure, but who knew it will create such a problem.
Dropping of luggage at Bus Station
We went to the bus station to drop the baggage in cloak room. They charged us 5 kuna for first hour and 1.5 kuna per next hour. The total bill was 56 kuna when we collected the bags in the evening.
A case of being overcharged in Bus in Dubrovnik
After depositing luggage, we started walking back as I wanted to check Studenac Market, which we saw while coming to bus station. We thought of having breakfast too there. But it was just ok, so we went to the old town in bus.
It took 15 kuna per person. At bus station, we were told bus fare would be around 4 kuna per person. On checking we found out that we were given ticket valid for one hour. What Cheats, at least they should have confirmed without giving us the tickets but they decided for us on their own.
Brunch at Gradska Kavana Arsenal
Then as we reached the old town we went for breakfast to Gradska Kavana Arsenal. We had seen the place during night walk and it seemed nice. As we reached there, we found the breakfast time was over. So, we sat down for lunch as we were quite hungry by then. It got windy so we shifted inside. We ordered a veg sandwich, a beef steak sandwich,cappuccino, hot chocolate and cacao.
The food wasn’t great. Till now our food experience in Dubrovnik hadn’t been great.
Exploring the Old Town a little more
Anyways after eating we spilt into two groups. Two people went up for the walk of the walled old city for 150 kuna each. And another girl and I went around for a walk.
We saw a shop as mentioned in top 10 places to visit in Dubrovnik – Dubrovcka Kuca- for art and souvenirs but were impressed much. Some of the paintings were really nice but overly priced.
We sat by the sea for a while and then went to the other side out of old town across the sea.
Indian Lunch in Dubrovnik
We had decided to meet the other two at 2.45pm outside the only Indian restaurant in Dubrovnik, or as they claim –Incredible India.
The waiter there- Rahul was from Delhi and nice guy and suggested their bestsellers. We had Amritsari fish, stuffed nan with veg raita, garlic nan and veg pakora. And we ordered wine as per Rahul’s recommendation.
The food was good but a little bland as the red and green chillies are not available in Croatia. But still it felt good to have a taste of India there.
They had Masala chai on menu but wasn’t available then as the stocks for special ingredients were on the way. The desserts weren’t interesting enough, so we had ice cream.
Time to head to next Destination
After a final walk around old town and seaside, we took a cab to bus station for 10 Euro. In the morning we had paid 12 Euro for same place when we went to drop the luggage. On the way, the cab driver asked us where we were headed and how much we were paying. On being told that were headed to Kotor and were paying 18 euros each in the bus, he offered to take us to Kotor for 150 euros, but our tickets were already booked and also it was much higher than what we were paying. But I am sure had we not booked the bus, we could have negotiated him and got a good deal to travel to Kotor in cab.
We came to the bus station, took our luggage and waited for the bus. While waiting, one friend wanted to use WC but was little short of change, so asked the staff at the station for change. But they refused and were very rude, which was uncalled for.
Finally, we got in the bus, bid adieu to the rude town of Dubrovnik, and left for Kotor. The driver asked for printouts of tickets. When we showed e-ticket on phone, we were told it doesn’t work like this here and need printouts.
Overall, I am very disappointed with Croatia. For a country depending so much on tourism, the people were very rude, insensitive and everything is so exorbitantly priced that you end up not doing half the things you had planned initially.
Kotor, Here we come
An hour after getting into the bus we got off to get the passports checked. That was a smooth transition. With this Croatia chapter of the trip is over with a hope that the trip ahead is better.
Kotor in Montenegro, our next stop, had a big role chalked our for it and didn’t even know.