20 July 2013

Climbing the Walls

By Tuesday, we realised that there wasn't going to be a cool, shady time to climb Dubrovnik's city walls, so we ended up completing the 2-km circuit around midday, when at least it wasn't too crowded. As you climb up and down, completing the circuit of the city, you get a great view over the rooftops, onto Lovrijenac Fort (as featured in Game of Thrones series two and three), the islands and the Adriatic.

Spot the blogger.

Entrance to the walls is 90 kuna, but we bought a one-day Dubrovnik Card for 130 kuna, which also includes entrance to several other sights and museums and a one-day bus pass — it's worth doing if you plan to see two or more of the included attractions, but they don't include the cable car. You can also upgrade to an audio tour of the walls, but we were happy to wander.

And leap.

After we had completed the route, we were hot and dehydrated, so we headed for a restaurant in one of the shaded side streets close to the Stradun. I had heard good things about Wanda, and walking past it on the first day, decided it looked like a good place to eat. Their lunch menu is full of fish-centric Italian dishes. I couldn't decide whether to have a salmon pasta, roast salmon with potatoes or a salmon salad with cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and raspberry dressing. In the end, the latter triumphed and was delicious — refreshing, tasty and just what I needed on such a hot afternoon.

Lunch at Wanda.

After lunch, we went for a quick stroll through the Rector's Palace and the Maritime Museum (both included on the Dubrovnik Card), before deciding to take to water again. From the window of the Maritime Museum, we had spotted a little pier at the southeast corner of the city walls, where many locals were sunbathing. From there, you can scramble over the rocks, leap into the sea and swim around the city walls to Bard or Bu┼ża. We went to drop our things off at the apartment (and so unfortunately, I have no photos) and change, before heading out to the rocks, leaving our clothes on the side and then plunging into the gloriously refreshing water. This swim may have been one of my favourite experiences of the whole trip and I would highly recommend it — just don't swim too far offshore, because there are many boats and kayak tours!

Once we had dried off, we got changed again and went back to the Lovrijenac Fort — entry is about 20 kuna, but you can get in free if you show your city walls ticket. When we were there, it was the end of the day and they appeared to be setting up for an event for the Dubrovnik summer festival. The Games of Thrones crew and cast will be arriving in about a month, we were told.

Taking the stage at Fort Lovrijenac.

We then caught a bus over to the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel for a cocktail in the sunset lounge. I had read that this was one of the best places to enjoy a drink at sunset, but although the view — and the sunset — were spectacular, the lounge itself was decidedly bland. Basically, it felt like any reasonably nice, but not exactly decadent, hotel lobby bar. The cocktails weren't outstanding either, but it was lovely to sit and watch the sun set over the islands.

Tom Collins and the sunset.

For dinner, we went down to Lapad and found a fish restaurant called Orsan in a little yacht club. A couple of dozen tables are set up right next to the boats, under some trees, and there is a lovely view of the hills and twinkling city lights (which was temporarily ruined by the huge cruise ship that pulled in). The food was excellent. I had some grilled, garlicky prawns with rice, and the fish fillet also looked great. It was also quite a different experience from our meals in the Old Town, so if you get the chance to go out to Lapad, do go there, although there are a lot of mediocre eateries and bars around for the cruise crowd.

Dinner at Orsan.

Wanda. Prijeko 8, Dubrovnik (one block north of the Stradun). Website.
Dubrovnik Palace. Masarykov put 20, Dubrovnik (we took the number 4 bus from the Pile Gate of the Old Town, which stops right outside the hotel; check out the local bus company's website for other routes). Website.
Orsan. Ivana Zajca 2, Dubrovnik (you can take the number 6 bus from Pile, which heads to Babin Kuk). Website.

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