356 Steps To Paradise

by Anna

From Ljubljana we had a pretty serious travel day/night that took us from one hot, sweaty overnight train to the next with a three hour pit stop in Zagreb, Croatia’s capitol (which was really pretty….a nice place for a train layover!), and then finally on a five hour bus ride winding down Croatia’s coast. Along the way we met some nice Germans and a Kiwi, swapped some travel stories, and tried some Croatian beer – Karlovacko. The somewhat sleepless journey was worth it though, as we had finally made it to the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik!

We’ve had high expectations of Croatia in general….it is actually one of the destinations that I have been looking forward to the most, and so far we have been loving it.

Dubrovnik was amazing, and we had an awesome view of its red roof-topped old town surrounded by fortress walls, its small bustling port and the forest-blanketed island of Locrum. We soon found that this glorious view came at a cost…..356 steps, but the reward was just as great at the other end (plus, we think our calves are looking pretty toned after four days of walking up and down these infamous steps!).

Sunset view of Dubrovnik’s old town from our room
356 steps down… and 356 steps up…
Dubrovnik’s Old Port

The old town of Dubrovnik was beautiful and so much fun to explore. Cut down the middle by its main street, the Stradun, a labyrinth of narrow and charmingly gritty streets wind out on both sides. There are shops, cafes, laundry lines, old palaces, cathedrals, clock towers, monasteries and plazas tucked into every nook and cranny, making it a great place to just wander around and get lost within.

Old town at night
Stradun More steps in the old town
View of Buza Bar on the cliffs around the old town View of Locrum from Buza Bar – Johnny and I stopped here for
some cold beers after a day of swimming

We had read that Dubrovnik has become a “European vacation hotspot,” so we were not completely surprised at how crowded and touristy it was. We were a little surprised by how hot and humid it was though, and even the owners of the place where we stayed (the funniest brothers of all time – Igor and Zoran) said it was the hottest summer they could remember. We managed to escape the heat during the day however by taking a quick ferry ride to the island Locrum. This place was really incredible….car-free, covered in trees and wild peacocks, with cathedral and fortress ruins and rocky edges where you could bask in the sun (kind of like a seal) and jump in and out of the crystal clear, warm Adriatic. There were even a couple salty pools with rope swings that we stumbled upon.

Leaving the Old Port on the way to Locrum Swimming spots around Locrum
Johnny taking the plunge on Locrum
Checking out the best swimming spots on the island
Salty pools on the island

Another highlight of our time spent in Dubrovnik was the walk along its 2km of city walls. We were a little turned off at first because we thought it was pretty pricey to just walk the walls, but we sucked it up and did it anyways, and it was well worth it. The walls are completely in tact, unlike many of the other walled cities we have visited, and they offer spectacular views all around. We did the walk close to sunset, and the glowing terra cotta rooftops and sun reflecting in the turquoise waters was beautiful.  It was interesting to learn that in the recent war in the early 90s, two thirds of Dubrovnik’s rooftops were damaged by bombings. In replacing the damaged roofs, they kept true to their terra cotta tiles, but there is a noticeable difference between the new, bright red/orange tiles and older, faded original tiles.

Today we woke up bright and early and took a three hour bus ride to the island of Korcula. Smaller, less crowded, but equally (if not more so!) beautiful, I think Johnny and I have both fallen in love. We’ve already been talking about extending our stay here…..but more to come on that in the next blog post!!

We made it to Korcula! Ready for three days of relaxing…

One Comment to “356 Steps To Paradise”

  1. AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING! I am so excited to read the next post… You’ve had some beautiful experiences, but this looks like it tops them all! Thanks for keeping this blog and posting so many wonderful photos. I’m probably repeating what I said the last time I wrote…but who can blame me. You two are having the experience of a lifetime!

    P.S. Anna, This may seem long ago and far away to hear about but, as a DG, I thought I would let you know that my niece, Piper, a freshman at USC, just pledged DG!

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