Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 6 - Dubrovnik, by way of Old Town

Wednesday started off bright and early - Cara and I decided to head out early to soak in every single second of the day ahead of us.

We ended up walking... well, pretty much all around Dubrovnik.

I feel like now would be a great time to provide a little disclaimer. Okay, here's the thing - I'm all about being all active and outdoorsy, but... well, within REASON. Cara, on the other hand, is like the picture of Northern California - she's SUPER active and outdoorsy (i.e. just before heading over to Croatia, she'd done some bike ride from Seattle to Portland). You know, just another day in the life, I guess.

Anyway, please keep that in mind as you read about our days in Dubrovnik - that's all. 

Alright, back to Wednesday. We started off the day with a tour of Dubrovnik's walled-in Old Town. One of the most popular touristy things to do in Dubrovnik is walk the perimeter of the walls to take in all of Old Town from above, so that is how we started our morning.

We honestly just could not get enough of the views...

That wall turned out to be just such a fun little playground!

By the time we were done walking the perimeter, it was right around noon - peak time for sunshine and HEAT. We needed some hydration in a major way. What better way to re-hydrate than to fill up our water bottles at the Old Town fountain?

How fun is that?? I swear, that water actually tasted quite delicious - so fresh and REFRESHING!

During our walk along the perimeter of Old Town, we kept on discussing the huge hill (a mountain, I like to think) that was a natural part of Dubrovnik's scenic beauty.

You can't tell from this picture, but there was a huge cross at the top (Croatia's a hugely Christian / Catholic country) as well as a restaurant and museum. It's, of course, a tourist stop given the views you would have from its height, so there's a ski lift type thing to transport tourists up to the top.

Yes... that is what normal people would do. Cara, on the other hand, had this grand idea of actually hiking to the top of this thing. You know, to be fair, we hadn't done all too many outdoorsy activities during our time in Croatia just yet, so I was actually all for this - I do love hiking.

But... well, Jesus. It was H-O-T! (Remember, it was the middle of the day.) And it took us FOREVER to find the hiking path to begin with... that's the other thing about Dubrovnik... it's a city of steps. And we basically had to navigate our way back to the apartment we were staying at as it was on our way to the hiking path. I took the liberty of documenting our path from Old Town to our apartment, since we did it QUITE a few times during our time in Dubrovnik... you are welcome for this brief interlude:

This was the first set of steps that led from Old Town...

To... well, another set of steps...

Those set of steps led to a main road that gave us a bit of respite as we mentally braced ourselves for... well, the next set of steps:

To be fair, we did feel safe as we continued our journey of steps...

I'm not kidding, this is the next set of steps we encountered...

And the final set..

And that, my friends, is how we journeyed to and from our apartment each day we were in Dubrovnik. No wonder people in this part of the world are so slender... it's not JUST about that Mediterranean DIET! You've gotta consider that Mediterranean LIFESTYLE as well... a lifestyle of steps, if you will.

In any event! That was just PART of our journey to finding this damn hiking path. I was pretty much dying of heat stroke / exhaustion by the time we FINALLY found the start of the hiking path. And this, my friends, pretty much sums up how Cara and I were feeling by the time we reached the starting point of this hike up... well, up this MOUNTAIN!

Hahaha! That picture gets me every time.

Well, there's no stopping us (and by us, I mean Cara). I mean, we HAD worked awfully hard to actually FIND the hiking path - might as well not give up now. And so, we began our sojourn up this mountain. Here we go...

To be fair, the hike was actually pretty reasonable - I mean, the path is a pretty gentle navigation up the incline (rather than like a straight vertical shot up).

The path is still pretty new and under development, so we ended up running into some workers who were actually working on the path itself.

So crazy to think about their efforts and labor... talk about actually having a difficult job (put things in a whole lotta perspective for me, actually).

We continued along our way... almost before we knew it, the end was in sight. So close.. yet so. damn. far.

As with most hikes I do, I hate almost every moment until I reach the end destination... which is the point that I, somehow, magically forget how much I hated every moment preceding it because the views simply make it ALL WORTH IT.

This is one of my favorite pictures (what can I say? Guess it's the Catholic in me! ;))

We wandered around the top part of the mountain for a bit, soaking in the views from every single angle possible. We finally ended up collapsing sitting down at a restaurant for a late afternoon lunch... and/or delicious beverage.

After just chilling at this rooftop restaurant for a bit, we decided to take the ski lift thing back down to civilization. But we weren't done with our day... don't you worry.

While we were chilling at the restaurant, Cara had been looking through her tour book and thought it would be fun to go visit this fortress thing that we kept on seeing from a distance. It did look awfully interesting, so we ended up navigating our way (by foot) to the fortress... steps galore and all. By the time we got to the fortress, it was late afternoon and there weren't all too many people around so we got to wander around at our own pace... we just couldn't get enough of the VIEWS!

As with any fortress, of course there were reminders of... well, the whole purpose of a fortress - protection!

After making some new friends at the fortress (don't worry, you'll read about them later), we wrapped up our nonstop picture-taking session and moved along... to dinner! We ended up eating at this delicious restaurant called Sesame where we had, simply put, the most amazing figs, parmesan and arugula salad ever.

Holy... YUM! I mean, the rest of dinner was pretty delicious but that salad wins. After dinner, we were both EX-HAUSTED, to say the least. So we decided to head back to the apartment (we hadn't seen the other girls ALL DAY due to our nonstop activities!)... which, of course, required the standard navigation... up all those steps. Remember those? Let's revisit, shall we?


That pretty much sums it up. Onto our next day in Dubrovnik!

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