17.02.2009 - 20.02.2009
Facing our earliest start yet, we dragged ourselves out of bed at 4am in order to catch the 5:25am bus to Dubrovnik. After hauling our backpacks almost 4km through the dark and dingy industrial estate of Bar we eventually boarded our bus. We’d been careful to choose to sit on the side of the bus that afforded us the best view and when the sun came up over the Adriatic Sea it soon became pretty obvious to us why the region heaves with tourists over the summer season. The coast is absolutely stunning and we realised we should have stayed in Budva or Kotor in Montenegro rather than just-average Bar. Arriving in Dubrovnik over the hills behind it rewarded us with a postcard perfect view of the old town.
Beautiful Dubrovnik harbour
We met a man in a park just outside the bus station who owned a hostel (as they all do). We seldom book anything in advance but generally have an idea of where we’ll stay unless someone can offer us something better. Our usual plan involves hanging around the bus/train station with a map and our backpacks and bargaining with the touts until the price reaches 10 euro per night. The man we met in Dubrovnik was about 70 years old and on his way to the market to buy sardines so we decided to go and stay with him. When we got back to his place he prepared and grilled his sardines in garlic and lemon and gave us half to eat on his patio overlooking Dubrovnik. Definitely a winner. Our nameless host’s wife, Budema, got us familiar with the map of town and assured us that it never snows in Dubrovnik, or at least hasn’t for 30 years. We’re finding our accommodation to be fairly hit and miss but generally we’re pretty happy with a comfy bed and internet access of some form. We’re been pleasantly surprised with the availability of Wifi internet everywhere we’ve been.
Our first afternoon in Dubrovnik we spent outside in the sun walking the coastal route.
A Croatian fisherman bringing in his catch
The following day we headed into the old town to wander its narrow streets and see its harbours but were thwarted by rain. The next morning we woke to find Dubrovnik’s first snow in 30 years. According to Croatian radio it was the first snow to actually settle on the ground in more than 60 years. And it snowed all day. Big, fluffy, blizzard-like snow. Visibility was zero, but after being cooped up in our tiny room all day we decided to venture out and see how the locals were fairing, and for once it seemed the locals were more enthralled by the snow than we were. When it hasn’t snowed in 60 years, there is no etiquette for snow-play and we got amongst it with the four year-olds and the 74 year-olds.
The following day we were out and about early to check out the old town in the snow. The council workers were out with their modified snow shovels and the locals were using dustpans to shovel their walks. It was the only time we’ve seen snow chains in use and our guesthouse lady was beside herself with excitement. The streets were full of snowmen and the harbour covered in snow.
Modified snow shovels
Dustpans for snow shovels
Oddly, Dubrovnik was going to be our back-up plan if the rest of Eastern Europe was too cold for us too handle. The crazy snow only proves that bad weather is, in fact, following us.