Our next stop was Dubrovnik (Croatia) where we had our Distinctive Voyage excursion set up. This was another cruise where we were hosting a group of 47 passengers in this program. It was our third Distinctive Voyage cruise out of the five cruises we were taking on this long trip. We split up into two separate buses to make smaller groups. The first stop was the Old Town which is about a 15-20 minute drive from the port. Dubrovnik is a little bigger than some of the other ports we had been visiting and this “Old Town” was not walkable from the port. We had a nice visit to the Old Town and learned a lot about the history of the city. The most fascinating part of the history of this city was very recent, back in 1991, when Croatia was attacked by Serbia and Montenegro. The guides were very young at the time but both remembered the war very well and all the people who died during that timeframe. There are still some buildings you can see where the roofs have been destroyed during the bombings. It seemed strange to see such recent destruction from a time only 25 years ago during our life time. For anyone familiar with Game of Thrones, the Old Town of Dubrovnik was “King’s Landing” from the Games of Thrones. They shut down certain areas of the town when they are filming the show. After our visit in the Old Town we went on to the small town of Civtat. This was a nice quiet tourist town which had an old church on top of a hill. We saw a water polo practice area in the ocean there and learned that this sport was extremely popular in this country. They had won gold and silver medals in the most recent Olympics in water polo. Our final stop on this tour was out in the countryside where we had an opportunity to see some old mills. We were given a demonstration on the mill operations and how the mills used the small river in the valley to provide power. One mill made flour and we were shown how the old stone wheels ground the wheat into flour. The other mill had wooden hammers powered by the water to pound wool clothing to soften it and make it wearable. They showed us the old wool rain coats made by this process and they weighed about 15-20 pounds because of the thick material used. At one time this city’s main business was agriculture with crops grown in all of the surrounding valleys. Now the city has reverted to tourism and most of the farms have closed down because those businesses were not nearly as profitable as the tourism business. Now fresh produce is not readily available and the local market runs out of vegetables and fruit around 10 AM every morning. When we got back to the port we took a short walk outside to see what was around and saw some very interesting small cruise ships in the port that only have around 15 or 20 very small cabins. These cruise ships do 7 night cruises around the islands in the Adriatic Sea for around $1000-2000 per person. It might be a nice thing to try sometime. The water there is crystal clear and very clean.
Our last stop before Venice was Split, Croatia. Once again we had never been there and were pleasantly surprised on what the city had to offer. The palace area and historical city are very close to the port and in easy walking distance. There were a large numbers of vendors set up in tents all around the area. The market place was extremely colorful with different types of flowers and fresh fruits. The Diocletian Palace was built in the 4th century by the Romans and contains the Cathedral of St. Domnius which is the most prominent visual building in Split. The historic city which lies just outside the palace contains many stores for shopping and restaurants. It is all very picturesque. We started walking back to the ship but decided to check out one of the beaches near the port. The beach was only about a 10-15 minute walk from the ship but it was tucked away in a very nice area. It wasn’t your typical sandy beach but most of the areas to sunbathe were areas with a concrete surface. There was some sand in a small portion of the beach but it wasn’t your real fine sand of a nice beach. It was very crowded though with the nice warm temperatures.
Our last stop of the cruise will be Venice where we will go on to Milan for a couple of days to visit our niece and take a trip to Lake Como before flying back to Peachtree City.
Sharon & Greg