Our trip to Croatia really started as a lark. When Maud Pischon visited us for Thanksgiving, she mentioned that she intended to lead a yoga retreat in Split. Dana received an email about it and decided that since her schedule this year prevented her from participating in any Grand Slam tennis tournaments, she wanted to go to the yoga retreat. Of course, that became complicated when she realized after signed up and paid that she needed to attend an ACOG meeting in Austin halfway through the retreat. Ever the problem solver, she decided we could go to Croatia early and visit Dubrovnik first.
I tried to get us upgraded on our flights, but was only successful on the flight from OKC to Houston. However, our flight to Munich from Houston had lots of empty seats on it. Dana took an entire row to sleep in. I don’t know how well it worked, but it was certainly better than being croweded in with lots of other people.
Dana thought she had reserved a room for us through a website, but she didn’t have any record of doing it. When I called the hotel to verify our room, I discovered they did not have a reservation for us, but they did have one room available. The owner, Miho, was very helpful. He even offered to arrange transportation from the airport. I generally don’t even consider that, but in this case, after a long flight to a place we didn’t know at all, it seemed like a good idea.
We arrived in Dubrovnik to find a guy holding a sign with our names on it. He whisked us out to his Mercedes and drove us about thirty minutes to the hotel. He gave us a great running tour along the way, including information about what to see and some information about local wines.
The hotel was perfectly located just outside one of the main gates to the old city and less than five minutes from the lift that takes people to Napoleon’s fortress above the city. Miho was just as helpful in person as he had been on the phone. We could not have made a better choice. Dana asked him for dinner recommendations and he pointed us to a restaurant that was “easy to find.” Umm...we didn’t experience it quite that way, but we did finally manage to find it. It was located under outdoor covers in the courtyard of the old church, at the top of the infamous “Stairs of Shame” from Game of Thrones. (Much of Game of Thrones filming happened in Dubrovnik and Split, so familiar things pop up everywhere.) Dinner was very good. I had a fish stew that, of course, involved a colorful and obnoxious plastic bib, but the stew tasted quite good.
Our second day began with a tour of the Old City to find a restaurant recommended by Rick Steves. Dubrovnik lies on the side of a mountain and anything not not located on the main drag seems to involve lots of stairs. We wandered around and believe we actually found the right location, but the restaurant had changed. Who cares? After all those stairs, we decided we’d just stay there. I think you get good service when no one else wants to climb the 110 steps for breakfast.
After breakfast, we visited several small churches, and Dana shopped for the jewelry that Dubrovnik is famous for. She found a pair of earrings that she though would work for Eva and came in a box she thought Eva would love. We had lunch at a very nice wine bar that specializes in cheese and tuna.
We spent the afternoon walking the wall around the city. What a glorious view! Dubrovnik has restored the entire wall and made it a nice, albeit long, place to walk, including cafes in the middle to get something to drink. It was more than toasty warm up there. I can only imagine what it must feel like in the middle of summer! We had a nice Italian dinner and finished up with the darkest chocolate ice cream I have ever seen.
The next morning, we grabbed an early breakfast outside our hotel, then walk about a block to the cable car that runs up the mountain above the city. At the top we had spectacular views of the city along with a very detailed and angry museum about the war 28 years ago. They also had a very nice restaurant at the top overlooking the city. We got seated right on the edge of the bill with just the right amount of breeze and a nice bit of shade. They served us wine, tea, and a very nice piece of apple pie.
We took the cable car down the hill and grabbed a pizza at a new place just next to our hotel while we waited for the ferry to Split. The staff was very nice and even gave us free after dinner drinks (their favorite brandies), but they have a lot to learn about pizza. Nevertheless, they do well with their service.
Our hotel host, Miho, offered to take us to the ferry so we wouldn't have to bother with a cab. He loaded us into his car and gave us a small tour of the rest of Dubrovnik. I can't say enough about how helpful everyone in Dubrovnik was to us. Every place we turned, someone was there to help us. It's a great place for tourists.
The ferry to Split took a little over three hours. We arrived at the dock where Dana immediately found a cab to take us to the restaurant to meet out people for the yoga retreat. We had about a thirty minute drive where we met up with the entire group.