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Clare
Clare

Day 3: Dubrovnik

We tried to make an early start again this morning, having breakfast on the patio in the sun, entertained by the antics of the apartment owner's kittens :)

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We were at the Pile Gate before 9am and today we were successful in beating the hordes :) Sunday was supposed to be the quietest day of our stay in Dubrovnik, with only one cruise ship (carrying approximately 2,000 passengers) being in the port. We could really tell the difference compared to Friday and Saturday, with the Stradun looking beautifully empty for a change :)

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The price of a ticket for the Dubrovnik walls has increased this season to 150 kuna. This doesn't seem to have deterred any visitors though, and we were certainly willing to pay that price. I bought our tickets and then we began the climb up the very steep steps at the entrance. The first thing you see as you emerge out onto the walls is a close-up view of the Franciscan monastery.

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As we walked a bit further we could see that the Stradun was still really peaceful :)

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We soon got our first view of the beautiful Fort Lovrijenac.

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The latest craze in Dubrovnik this summer seems to be sea-kayaking, and we could soon see a number of people setting off on this potentially dangerous activity from the bottom of the fort.

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The walls continued to lead uphill from this point, closely following the edge of the cliff.

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When we turned around at this point we had a great view back towards Mount Srđ, which we were hoping to go up via the cable car later in the day.

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We rounded the next corner and had the first of many beautiful views out to sea, in the direction of Lokrum.

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After a while we thought we could just about make out Cavtat on the horizon as well.

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The walls were starting to get a bit busier by this point, with the first of the tour groups well on their way. What we found though was that they were all walking so quickly, seemingly in an attempt to get through their tour in the shortest possible time, that we were able to just step to one side and let them pass us, then enjoy the views in peace again until the next tour marched by.

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After Lokrum, the path around the walls became more level for a while and led around the edge of the old town harbour. We were able to look down on the places where we had been catching boats to Lokrum and Cavtat for the previous two days.

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We could also see rows of smaller boats lined up in the port.

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At one point as a tour group were pushing past us, our attention was caught by this shot; you can just see the statue of a bishop from the top of one of the town's churches, peeping up over the top of this red roof.

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At this point we turned another corner on the walls and the main views began to be towards the centre of the town rather than out across the sea.

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Although I've been here several times before, everything is so beautiful that it's hard to stop taking photos :)

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By this point we were approaching the final stage of the walls, which lead up towards the highpoint of the Minčeta Tower.

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As we climbed higher we had views which encompassed the entire town, plus the harbour and Lokrum for good measure.

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In the opposite direction we were now able to see Fort Lovrijenac again.

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Climbing up the tower itself is a little nervewracking, as this is the one part of the walls where there isn't a one-way system in place, so there are people coming up and down the same staircase at the same time. We managed to be strategic though, placing ourselves behind other groups of people going up and down so that they cleared a path and we were able to just follow in their wake!

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It was definitely worth climbing up there for the views.

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Eventually it was time to begin our descent back towards the Stradun.

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It was about 11.30 by this point, so not late enough to go into a restaurant for lunch, but we were all feeling pretty hungry after our exertions. Mom remembered that she had seen a bakery not far from the Pile Gate, so we headed back out in that direction and sat on a bench eating burek, before setting off for our afternoon activity: the cable car.

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I had thought this might be less busy than the walls, but it possibly turned out to be busier! Or, at least, because the cable car can obviously only accommodate a certain number of people on each trip up the mountain, quite a long queue had built up at the base station. The length of the queue wasn't helped by the fact that the one cruise ship in the port obviously had the cable car as one of its shore excursions, as there was at least one guided group of cruise passengers ahead of us in the line.

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We probably had to wait for around 30 minutes in the end and the journey in the cable car itself was quite short, but when we ultimately got up to the top of the mountain, the views were spectacular.

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It was impossible to get tired of looking at Lokrum in one direction...

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...and the red roofs of Dubrovnik in the other.

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After admiring the views for a while, we stopped for a drink in the slightly posh terrace restaurant. We didn't join the waiting list for a table overlooking the town, but the view of the sea was pretty amazing from where we were sitting anyway.

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Suitably refreshed, we explored the top of the hill a little further. Once you turned your back on the sea, there were some beautiful views inland also. We realised belatedly that the strip of Croatia that Dubrovnik is situated on is actually quite small and that we were probably looking across to mountains in Bosnia.

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We followed a little track across the top of the mountain for a while, until it came to a dead end at this beautiful view of the Elaphiti islands.

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There was another path you could follow which went a bit further, but it looked like it would be rather dusty because it was being used as the track for the "buggy safari" which seems to be a new attraction on the top of Srđ. We went back the way we had come instead.

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There was just time for one last look at the view before it was time to get in the cable car back down to Dubrovnik.

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Once down, we went back to the apartment for a short break and then set off again towards the main bus station. I had booked the bus tickets for tomorrow's journey to Kotor in advance, using the website of Dubrovnik's bus station, and this seemed to have worked well. However, rather than being issued with an e-ticket at the end of the transaction, I was given a bar code which I was then told to take to the bus station and exchange for the actual ticket. Never having used this website before, I wasn't quite sure how this exchange was going to work out, and I thought it would be better to encounter any potential problems this evening rather than 10 minutes before the bus was due to depart tomorrow morning.

I had thought the walk to the bus station would be around 30 minutes, but it was was further than I had thought. We did get a nice view though when we arrived at the harbour, even with the cruise ship on the horizon.

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In the end everything worked like clockwork; I successfully exchanged the bar code for our tickets, and we are all set for our trip to Kotor tomorrow. We've had a great few days in Croatia, so here's hoping that Montenegro will be just as much fun :)

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