Dubrovnik, Croatia

I strongly considered titling this post King’s Landing, Croatia instead based on amount of Game of Thrones-themed souvenir shops, tours, and related references, but since there’s more to the city than just the old town I decided against it.

The old town is, however, by far the focal point of Dubrovnik. In the summer, upwards of 8,000 cruise ship passengers disembark at the port down the road, get shuttled in coach buses to the gates of the city, and then wait for hours at the gate because the city cannot safely have that many people in it at the same time.

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The walls have been restored but you still get a good sense of what the city looked like “back then”.

There are no cars within the walls of the city–not even for deliveries, or ambulances, or anything. Which is even more impressive given the elevation differences; you can kind of see them in the pictures, or believe my pedometer, which told me my glutes had become strong as steel by the end.

Never made for traffic, the spaces between houses is just like it always had been. The lighting is off on this picture but it should still give a good sense of how narrow these streets are.

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Probably also explains why it’s an ideal set for a show based in Medieval times.

The streets are a strikingly shiny white, so smooth that I kind of just skated with my shoes across the streets like an 8-year old that just got Heelys for their birthday.

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And whereas the cruise ship people clog the streets during the day, their absence makes it a bit of a ghost town at night.

About half of the walls are right on the water, with a pretty dramatic drop.

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If you take the time to leave the old town, you can climb a hill (or take a cable car up) to either engage in photo tourism from a fresh angle, or if you’re feeling especially adventurous, visit a powerful museum about Dubrovnik in the war.

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It’s well-done with pictures, videos, and objects from that time. Even more interesting, however, was overhearing a tour guide talk about his experiences and some of the details from that time.

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View from the top of the museum, which was a fort in the war. Croatian defenses were actually able to keep it the entire time.

The interesting story behind that picture, though, lies in the hills in the background. In the first set, which still appear green, there is a windy road leading to a point overlooking the ocean, just to the left of the square building. That was used as a sniper point by the Yugoslav army to target civilians and soldiers in both the old town and coming up the hill to the fortress. The second range of hills, appearing more gray in the background, were artillery points from which the Yugoslav army fired on the fortress. I’ll save more of the guide’s commentary for a journal entry, but the museum was definitely worth the walk up.

Finally, like the rest of Croatia, you get some amazing seaside resorts that have the typical perfect climate combined with the clear blue water.

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