It’s currently a little before 8 am, and a cool, crisp 6 degrees outside. I just used my portable T-Rex tea mug for the first time since February, and for some reason, there’s ice on the ground. It’s the 25th of September. Why is there ice on the ground? Ah, yes, I live in the north of the Netherlands, and it’s not often warm here (apart from those record breaking 60 days we had of intense heat over summer).
I rocked up to work this morning at 7:20, and to my surprise, it was shut, with the gates bolted. Honestly, I could hear the words ‘go back to bed’ being whispered in the wind. Usually I arrive some twenty minutes later, but today I was offered a chance of luxury. That is, my boyfriend brought me to work instead of leaving me to the mercy of public transport. He’s a good egg; have I already told you that?
This time yesterday, I was eating my breakfast above Dubrovnik, on the beautiful terrace of our Airbnb, saying farewell to the wonderful ancient city in front of me. Have you ever been to Dubrovnik? I’m going to say it’s one of the busiest places I’ve ever been in my life, and also, that I’ve never come across so many Americans in such a small space outside of America before. Certainly not in Europe. But I’m also going to say that I bloody loved it, just in case that came across as a negative remark.
This post is entitled ‘Dubrovnic diaries’, and actually, I seem to have started at the end, so let’s stop, and begin at the very beginning, on a dark and windy morning, last Thursday…
A 3am wake up call isn’t my favourite hour. I mean, I’m a morning person, definitely. But it takes me about half an hour to wake up if I wake up at 6am. And I’m… grumpy until 6:30. Most arguments I’ve had in the past year have been due to me waking up early, let’s put it that way. But, I suppose it’s different if you’re off on holiday right? Well, kind of. I was only grumpy once the cold air hit me, and then the warm air of the mackerel tin-esque shuttle bus from P3 to Schipol Departures. Anyway, our flight was at 7am, and I managed to blunder my way through security and passport control in a somewhat controlled manner.
Now, just as a quick side note, did you know that it is actually forbidden to paint your nails on a plane? I feel incredibly stupid when I think about it now, but it is indeed li-ter-all-y ‘forbidden’ to paint one’s nails aboard an aircraft hurtling through the air. Something about fumes and vents and ‘we can smell it in the back of the plane’. When you’re sat on aisle two, that’s quite an achievement in my opinion. Don’t try it though, unless you want to spend the rest of the flight staring out of the window hidden under your denim jacket as the air steward keeps a close eye on you.
One of the most Í’m on holiday’ feelings is stepping off the plane into glorious heat. Am I right? For the 20th September, I was really impressed by the all-consuming temperature. I was also really suppressed by all-consuming temperature. As a woman who has never owned a suntan in her 28 years, I can say that although it was not ‘too much’ heat wise, it was on the cusp. Our average temperature during the weekend was 29 degrees, and the internet told us that is ‘felt like 34’, which actually, I don’t fully understand. But, it was hot.
Dubrovnik’s airport is relatively small, and we were in and out through security with ease. Perfect. We had also been advised by our AirBnb host to use UBER during our stay, which we did. It was approximately 30 Euros each way to and from Dubrovnik’s center. In a taxi, we were told that this could exceed 70 Euros each way, so we definitely saved some cents there.
My boyfriend likes to make small talk with his taxi driver, whilst he sits in the front passenger seat. I, on the other hand, like to sit in the back and nod along as they chat. But I would never make small talk. Can you tell we are from different countries? Croatians don’t seem to like small talk in their taxis, as my boyfriend, a little offended by the whole affair, discovered. I attempted to appease his disappointment by offering a ‘maybe he’s not confident speaking English for a long time’, which, by the way, wasn’t just an excuse. I genuinely think that some taxi drivers just aren’t very talkative anyway, and that perhaps they don’t enjoy or feel confident speaking English.
On reaching our AirBnb, we were greeted by our wonderful host, who made sure to greet us and show us our amenities. The space was compact, but had everything we could need, and what’s more, it came with an astounding terrace, and a perfect view over Old Town from above. By now it was around 11am, and although we were excited to get exploring, we were already quite tired from the early start. Our plan was to settle in and unpack, then make our way down into the town to get acquainted with our new surroundings – once we had done this, we would plop ourselves down in a café with a map and work out what our plan for the next few days was.
The town’s busy atmosphere was sudden and overwhelming. Through the gates of Old Town, we felt the hum and hustle and bustle of tourists upon tourists mixed with locals navigating their way around with ease. I love that initial feeling of being lost in a beautiful place; of looking around and not being able to take everything in because there is so much around you, and Dubrovnik didn’t disappoint. The mixture of hot air and sunshine bouncing of cream stone walls left me feeling giddy with excitement. We wandered around the main streets before deciding that we were extremely hungry and the first burger to be waltzed in front of our eyes by a pro waiter had us straight in their seats.
We planned our next few days over lunch and headed away from the restaurant feeling a little more alive. Of course, we had to stop by at a gelato store for pudding, but that’s just general curtesy I think. One scoop of pistachio and one of jaffa orange later and I was fully replenished, but ready only for a beer by the water. Luckily, we managed to discover a little bar outside of the city walls and while away the rest of the day with our toes dipped in the Adriatic Sea.
More on the rest of our trip next time.
Have you ever been to Dubrovnik, or any other part of Croatia?