Saturday, September 28, 2013

Med Cruise: Dubrovnik, Part 1

Here comes the part Mom has been waiting for:  Croatia!  Why?  Because her father was Croatian.  Well, up until the '90s he was Yugoslavian, but after Yugoslavia broke up we turned into Croatians.  Lee and I had a discussion about which part of me was the 1/4 Croatian part as we walked around Old Town Dubrovnik; can't be the language center of my brain because the only word I can immediately recognize is chocolate--which means a.) I am my mother's daughter and b.) chocolate is pretty much the same in every language.  So Lee and I decided that one of my legs must be the Croat part, we just couldn't decide which one.

Anyway, Alexis was asking in the comments on my last post what cruise line we were on (Princess) and it occurred to me that I hadn't shared some info about just the cruise itself, so I'll do that at the end of the post for those of you who have already had enough of my blah-blah and just want to see the pictures.

 First pic:  a selfie.  Fear not, you'll see lots of pics of that fort behind us.

The first thing we did (after taking our selfie) was get some cash.  Croatia isn't a full member of the EU yet, so they still have their own currency, the kuna.  We didn't really have a handle on what the conversion rate was so we just got 100 kuna to start with, only to discover that's less than like twenty bucks.

But I took pictures of it because I thought Mom would like to see it.  We did save a little bit of currency which I think is still in the bottom of my backpack.

I had the camera for most of the day this time since we were in my homeland (giggle).  After we got cash, we headed for the city walls to circumnavigate the Old Town.  This fort was off to one side and I took so many pictures of it that while we were flipping through them all when we got back, Lee and I started saying "Fort....fort....fort" every time a pic of this came up.

Dubrovnik has a pretty interesting history as a maritime power (hit the link to see the Wikipedia page); in more modern times, it was heavily bombed in 1991 by Serbia as part of a 7-month siege.  So there's the key for the following map:

Click on it to enlarge the picture.  Even post-9/11, it's difficult for me to imagine being in a city under attack, much less under a months-long siege.  I think a lot of Americans probably have that same difficulty since, except for 9/11 and isolated events like the Boston marathon bombing, we don't really have experience with that...when America goes to war, it's not on American soil, you know?  Sobering thoughts.

I took about a dozen pictures of the flag to get this one : )


The Old Town is very...orangey from above : )

Now who's that handsome devil? ; )  I think we try harder now to get pictures with us IN them as opposed to just taking pictures of the places we go.

I don't think I'd like to be that dude in the kayak pulling all those other boats.



There's a good section of the wall along the coastline.  It had quite a few stairs, but it was nothin' on the Great Wall of China--but really, what is?  ; )

There's a building that hasn't been reconstructed yet.  I would not at all mind getting to see some other places in Croatia, and I'd love to go to Sarajevo and take pictures of the Sarajevo roses.


There were just a couple of places up on top of the walls where you could get refreshments or buy souvenirs--of course, at inflated prices because they know they've got you then--there's only two or three places you can exit the wall so they can charge you whatever they want once you're up there.

Lee wanted to take pics of the grapes so he could tell Jamie and Carrie that's what he expects their vine room to look like.

View down a narrow alleyway...we walked through the city quite a bit too, and a LOT of the streets are teeny-tiny like this.  The ground here ain't flat either so lots and LOTS of stairs everywhere.

Cliff-side cafe, anyone?

Lee said we should take this guy's picture for Carrie, though I'm not sure why he thinks Carrie wants to see some old dude sunbathing in a leopard-print Speedo?

I'll take Lee over an old dude sunbathing in a leopard-print Speedo any day!

That's more of Dubrovnik; we spent our whole time in the Old Town though and didn't go out into the more modern parts of the city.  I kinda looked for a Starbucks to see if I could get Mom a Croatia Starbucks mug, but we didn't find any.

Ok, so cruise info!  We were on Princess Cruise Lines, and our ship was the Ruby Princess.  I've only ever been on one cruise before, which was a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Disney in 2005, so that's the only thing I can compare this one to.  Lee told me that Disney has spoiled me for any other cruise line, and although Princess was very nice, they just couldn't touch Disney because Disney is SO over-the-top spec-fabulous.  But the Princess crew was very nice, the food was good (but not smack-yo-mama great), and the amenities were nice too.  One thing I did love, they've got a giant movie screen above one of the pools and during the day they play movies or concerts or whatever that you can watch while lounging in the pool or hot tubs; at night, they close off the pool and put nice pads on the deck chairs and hand out blankets and you get to watch "Movies Under the Stars" and that was pretty awesome.  They even come by and ask if you want popcorn or cookies and milk.  Our first day at sea, we watched the Princess Bride in the afternoon, and in the evenings we watched Iron Man 3, Skyfall, and Now You See Me.  It was kind of like a drive-in movie but on a boat (and I miss drive-in movie theaters!).  Hey honey, I think we need a movie projector and some nice patio lounge chairs so we can watch movies in the backyard when it's nice out...

Anyway, this cruise was 12 days, which was honestly a bit too long for us.  We were almost always off the boat between 8:00 and 8:30 every morning, and we walked around A LOT at every single port, so I think by the time we got to the last few days we were just kinda tired, and at that point the ports were starting to blur together a bit.  I think next time we'll limit ourselves to more like 7 days.  One thing we did that worked out very well for us:  we looked up each of the ports in advance and plotted out what we wanted to see and where we wanted to go.  Lee also looked up how to get around places at each port too, and printed out some maps, so we had a pretty good idea going in exactly what we were going to do each day.  We got to see a lot more stuff by having some of it doped out ahead of time and we didn't feel like we were missing out on stuff just because we didn't know it was there.  So there's my two cents.

Next up:  more Croatia pics!


Giffysk8s said...

Don't you just love the colors of the water? I know you're not really a beach person, but that war looks irresistible! Speaking of beaches/cruises, WHY OH WHY do old men ALWAYS wear Speedos??? Ugh!

The fort is really cool!

And you know how I am about flag photos. :)

Hooray! I finally caught up on your blog posts. Been down with a migraine for d a y s.... I also can't find the email I was working on. I'm assuming that I deleted in while in a migraine fog. :( So when I can look at the screen for more that a few minutes at a time, I will retype it. In the meantime, I hope you're doing okay. I also hope the spider has left your car! I'm still giggling about you going into the spider-infested garage. Not because it's actually funny, but because it reminded me of your last tale about a spider encounter. Was Lee away then as well?

CCsMom said...

It looks like it was a beautiful day (except for the picture of the dude in the Speedo). Yes, I am jealous you got there before I did, but at this point, I KNOW I shouldn't be surprised. The only place I went prior to you was Okinawa, and even then, you followed me back to the US! Ha!