We left Ljubljana in the afternoon, and drove nearly 200 miles south. The roads through Slovenia were small, and bordered by verdant scenery, and pretty villages at every turn.
Then, after a few slightly worrying moments with a rather stern border guard, we crossed into Croatia. Within 20 minutes we were on a smooth motorway, but the scenery was much more rugged. Predominantly limestone karst with rugged boulders strewn about, and mountains all around.
As we neared the coast we saw a brilliant sunset, and a strong wind buffeted Boris all the way to a nice camper stop at Skradin.
Off on our way early, we drove 2 hours south to Ploce.
Croatia has 1,770 kms of coastline. Due to a centuries old agreement, Bosnia owns a 9km stretch of coastline in the middle of it! Dubrovnik is the other side, and many car insurance companies, ours included, won’t issue a green card to drive there. So we have to catch a ferry to the adjacent peninsula, and drive south to Dubrovnic that way. Ferry cost £36 for us and Boris, lasted an hour, and we could pretend we were cruising the Adriatic!
The drive down the peninsula was spectacular, including past the village of Ston, which boasts the 2nd longest wall in the world. It was built in 1358, then over 7km long, to protect the salt basins, a prized commodity.
We arrived at Camping Kate in Mlini, south of Dubrovnic, high above the Adriatic, and very nice for 17 euros per night with our Acsi card! We took the walk down to the lovely waterfront, had a good supper at Konoba asatrea , and then staggered up the very high, very steep hill to Boris.
Next morning, a ferryboat took us to Dubrovnik. So exciting. I have wanted to visit here for years, and to approach from the water was extra special.
This is an exquisite city. Visually and historically fascinating.We took a walking tour and learned so much. Dubrovnik was always under threat from the 2 great powers in the Middle Ages – Venice to the north, and the Ottoman Empire all around. After they built their amazing defensive walls, no-one ever attacked them again… until the Yugoslav army in 1991.
Map showing the sites of all the bombs which hit the city.
Dubrovnik became fully self governing in 1358, and thrived. It was way ahead of it’s time. A medical service was introduced in 1301, with the first pharmacy, still operating to this day, being opened in 1317. An almshouse opened in 1347, and the first quarantine hospital in the world (Lazarete) was established in 1377. Slave trading was abolished in 1418, and an orphanage opened in 1432. A 20 km (12 mi) water supply system, in stone pipes, was constructed in 1438 by the Neapolitan architect and engineer Onofrio della Cava. He completed the aqueduct with two public fountains.
Still drinkable today !
We took the cable car for stunning views, and walked the entire walls.
The Game of Thrones references were lost on us, but many scenes were filmed here, including Cersei’s walk of shame down the steps.
Apparently, there is a daily market held below the staircase. During filming, it couldn’t take place. The stallholders refused to move because of loss of earnings, so the film company bought the entire stock on every stall!! Also, there are many shuttered windows in the wall to the right of the staircase. The owners were told they must be kept closed for hours and hours each day for filming. They refused, and negotiated a deal of 100 euros per window, per day to leave them shut!!
This is an amazing city, but it was most moving to hear what they went through in the recent war, and see images of that time.
Now, it is a city of hope, repaired and thriving!