On our previous visit to Dubrovnik in 2006 we had docked in the port of Gruž located about 3.25km northwest of Dubrovnik. Docking would usually be the more convenient option at a port of call but the closeness of Azamara Journey to shore today was so much better. The view was wonderful, too, as the tender boat approached the picturesque old port at the east end of the walled town.
To begin our day of touring Dubrovnik we made our way to the cable car up the slope of Srđ Hill (some sources call it a mountain) to take in the panoramic view from above the city. The cable car operation was quite slick and the ride up provided a nice changing view from the base to the peak of the hill at an elevation of 412m. The view from the top is spectacular and the cooler temperature at the peak made the experience really pleasant. We had wondered if we should have left this for later in the day when we would have likely be longing for a break from the heat. We did linger to enjoy the views and took aloof at the remnants of Fort Imperial that had been built during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s. Eventually we decided we should head back down to sea level and made our way to catch the cable car for the return trip. While we were waiting to board a cable car we could see that a crew of people entered the cars to clean the inside of all the glass as the passengers arriving at the peak disembarked. A nice touch.
From the cable car we walked back into the walled old town to begin our walking tour. In the afternoon of the day at sea on Wednesday June 29 we had taken in a destination lecture on Dubrovnik that did give us a few interesting tidbits of information - including that the main promenade street called the Stradun (or Placa Street) had been a channel until the late 11th century when it was filled in to connect the small islet on the south with the mainland on the north. It was filled in to promote the growing economic ties between the Greek & Roman community on the islet with that of the Croatian & Slav community located on the mainland. The two became one city by the end of the 12th century when a wall was built to encircle them both. The 300m long Stradun was paved in 1468 to give it the look that pretty much continues to this day. Technically, the present look of the Stradun dates back to the late 17th century after it was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1667. Earthquakes and fires have definitely been prominent events in the history of the old town of Dubrovnik.
As the day progressed so did the heat, so our next plan to walk around the 1.94km of continuous wall surrounding the old town of Dubrovnik might have been better to have done first thing in the morning. There isn't much shade on the wall walk. The walls that stand today date mostly back to the 14th & 15th centuries although walls have fortified this area since the 7th century and modifications and strengthening continued through to the 17th century. The walk on the wall that extends to a height of 25m at some points provides great views of the old town and out over the Adriatic Sea. Worth the discomfort in the hot sunny day.
Without doubt we were in need of some shade and refreshment after we came down from the wall. Earlier in the day we had passed a wine bar that caught our eye and at this point we agreed we to find it again. The location was Grabovac Wine Spot - serving wines from their own winery. We were the only people in the small wine bar besides the single server and we had a fabulous time while we enjoyed some of their sparkling rosé together with a sharing plate of olives, cheese & ham. It was a great way for us to toast happy birthday to our nation. As if to put an exclamation mark on the moment the radio in the wine bar starting playing Takin' Care of Business by Canadian band Bachman Turner Overdrive. Cheers, Canada.
We wandered around Dubrovnik a bit more for the afternoon and did shopping along the way in some of the quaint shops in the small alleys. It was nice to note that many shops now had air conditioning - we were reminded of how stiflingly hot it was in the shops on our visit in 2006 without the aid of air conditioning. We did also notice much reference to Game of Thrones and Star Wars as we walked around the old town - with it being the location for Kings Landing in the filming of Games of Thrones series and one of the locations used for the yet to be released next instalment in the Star Wars saga. When we figured we had exhausted all Dubrovnik had to offer us we made our way back to the old harbour to catch a tender back to Azamara Journey. It might not have been as hot as in Kotor, but it was close.
First up for us back onboard Azamara Journey was to change and head to the pool for a refreshing dip. Was wonderful, and the water was cooler than the previous time we had been in the pool after our day in Kotor. Very refreshing, indeed. We hadn't eaten at lot at the Grabovac Wine Spot so we followed our swim with some food at our new fav spot for the afternoon on Azamara Journey - the Patio. Gary stayed up on the open deck to watch the sail away from Dubrovnik while Linda went back to our room to rest. We had planned to get a drink in Discoveries Lounge at about 7:30pm before we went into the main dining room for dinner but the lounge was very busy this evening - not a seat to be had. With that we figured we'd give the bar near the Casino called Spirits a try instead. It wasn’t busy and we were pleased to see Pitoon behind the bar - one of our favourite servers on Azamara Journey who had been on most if not all of our previous voyages on this ship. The venue change for pre dinner drinks ended up being much better for us. We followed that with a very enjoyable dinner at Discoveries Restaurant and then capped the night off with some cappuccinos & espressos in Mosaic Café. It was the end of an excellent day.
WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.