Adam Bird

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Sunday, 4 July 2010

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

In researching information about all of the possible destinations Stephanie and I maybe visiting on our honeymoon in September I've been on an unexpected interweb journey into the Caribbean and the Middle East. Before we found out which of the eight places we maybe going to, we thought Europe would be our researching ground and so now, finally, I find myself in somewhat familiar territory.

Dubrovnik, a Croatian city which lies at the southern most tip of the country, the part which is split by a short coastline belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro to the east. All "new" countries, which after the fall of Yugoslavia gained Independence and faced a dramatic task of rebuilding after years of civil war and the rule of socialism.

Since the introduction of low-cost airlines, many new tourist routes have opened and people have been able to experience previously unseen parts of the continent in which they reside. Indeed, it's not just the stag weekend market that has diversified, the independent traveller now has greater choice and are flying in droves to enjoy different scenery and culture.

Last year several of my former colleagues went on holiday to Croatia and all came back with glowing reviews. Although not all of them visited Dubrovnik, which is listed as Croatia's number one place to visit, those that did spoke very highly of it. As an Internet researcher, the first Google term you look for is "Dubrovnik" and you are presented, as always with a selection of matched images, which upon closer inspection show immediately everything any potential honeymooner is looking for. Beautiful weather, glorious coastline and a sense of history and culture thrown in. All of the pictures seem to focus upon the "old town" and the castle stands out as the "iconic" building which it appears Dubrovnik is famed for.

Further investigation tells you that the castle is called "Fort Lovrijenac", commonly referred to by travellers as the "Gibraltar of Dubrovnik", which was built to withstand the attempted invasion by the Venetian army, sailing I presumed across the Adriatic from Italy. In more recent times, it has played service to art and creation, being a theatre in which Shakespeare plays are performed. Hamlet, Lady Macbeth and King Lear being just a small selection. All valid reasons it seems as to why UNESCO name Dubrovnik as a World Heritage site.

Dubrovnik itself isn't a large city by any means, the focal tourist area is indeed the old town with it's marble streets line with baroque buildings fielding red bricked roofs, perfectly seen below when at the highest point of the aforementioned castle. But Dalmatia, the region in which Dubrovnik sits, reads like a typical Mediterranean resort, with long sandy beaches, which are washed each day by the clear seas of the Adriatic.

From the port of Dubrovnik you have easy access to any of the 1,000 islands that litter the Croatian coast. In fact upon reading that Croatia had over 1,000 islands I looked to see how many there actually were, from which I found over six different figures. According to the Croatian Times website, apparently nobody does actually know for sure! One thing I can say with any certainty, is that Stephanie and I won't be visiting them all!

If Stephanie and I get too overloaded with culture, or too relaxed sipping Margarita's on the beach and fancy something a little bit different, we could escape Croatia altogether and hop over the border into Montenegro for a little tour of the scenic medieval Bay of Kodor, something which the Croatian tourist board recommends, even though it was the Montenegrins that attacked Dubrovnik in 1991, even saying, "it happened a long time ago, let bygones be bygones". Which will be interesting to see if the local Croat's are as forgiving!

Once again. I've sat, read, looked at and been amazed by the potential of a week away in a different destination! Even knowing that we won't be going to seven of the eight places, I think I have enough information and had my appetite whetted enough for the next fifteen years! Mum and Dad have annoyingly been dropping hints which offer nothing in the form of helpful clues, just adding further spin into the web of intrigue! Anyway, that's it from Europe, at least for one more stop. This time East. Far East!

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