April, 1st to 8th, 2015
Wednesday, April 1st
A day off – so I can leave for Copenhagen in the morning. I check in at WakeUp Copenhagen, and have half a day to be a tourist here.
I spend the day checking out the Glyptoteket-museum. As ugly as it is from the outside – as nice it is inside. Lots of Roman and Egyptian stutues – and great photo opportunities. I have not been here since school – that is probably 35 years ago.
Dinner at Jensens Bøfhus. Nice dinner – miserable service. Then back to WakeUp to go to sleep.
Thursday, April 2nd
I am leaving from the great Mall aka Copenhagen Airport at 11.20. We are 30 minutes late. 2 hours flight to Zagreb in a small plane for Croatia Air. There is no shopping in the terminal in Zagreb, but there is a flight for Dubrovnik, which is much better. 1 hour 45 minutes later, I am there. It is now 4 pm, and there is a nice bus-ride to Dobrovnik Old Town. I walk through Pile Gate to find my supernice apartment at Sunce Apartments.
Now it is finally time for a little shopping. I have my own kitchen so I have to buy stuff for it. Then it is pizza-time. There are many restaurants, but not many tourists. I get a good Calzone, and it is ok to sit outdoor to eat it.
Then my first walk around the town. The sun is setting and the full moon is rising. It is very picturesque. There are old houses, castles, and a thick wall around Old Town, small streets, lots of cats, restaurants and cafes. Still – not to many tourists.
Friday, April 3rd
11 hours trip to Montenegro. Adriatic-explore picks me up at 6.30, and after a few more hotels, we are heading for the border between Croatia and Montenegro. This is an old time eastern European border crossing. It takes about an hour – and there are more customs officers than cars and busses.
Finally, we are through. We cross a small fiord and a small boat, and slightly before noon, we arrive at Budva. Budva is a main tourist-city in the area, but not in this time of the year. It is too early. It is a city for the wealthy, and there are huge yachts in the marina. In the old town, there are designer- and diamond shops. It is almost like the French Riviera. We hang out for a couple of hours in the old town, which is not as old as it looks. An earthquake destroyed the city in 1979, but it was rebuilt in the old style.
Then we head on for another old and fine town. It is the town of Kotor. Budva is very Bohemian, but Kotor is more of an old culture center hidden behind a city wall. There are churches, old buildings, and a fort at the top of the hill rising above town. We have a great guide here, telling about the town’s history – and not taking too long to do so. Kotor was also destroyed during the earthquake, but rebuilt with support of Unesco.
Then we are heading home for Dubrovnik. This time with a lot easier border passage. Maybe it is because fewer custom officers are at work in the evening – I do not know. Back at 7 pm for some relaxing in my apartment.
Saturday, April 4th
It is cloudy and cold today. We are still at the border-season in Dubrovnik. You can imagine this city is hectic in summer. This is fine for me. Not too many tourists and all Pizzeria’s are open.
My first walk is on top of the main tourist attraction – the old city-wall. It is about 2 km long and runs around the whole Old Town of Dubrovnik. You get good views of the Old Town and the surroundings. All houses in Old Town are gray with red roofs – as though they have talked about this. The Wall was built for defense-purposes – not for tourists. You will find forts in the corners where you can shoot your enemy. The walk takes a couple of hours, since you also have to enjoy the views and it is going up and down – this area is not flat at all.
Then it is time for a lunch break at my apartment. Walk no. 2 is for other sights. It takes in two convents – The Franciscan and The Dominican. The Franciscan is from 1360 and the Dominican from the 15th century. They are both peaceful places found by few tourists. I head on to something less peaceful. In Palace Sponza there is a small exhibition about the civil war a few years ago. There are pictures of all Croats killed in the process – and no pictures of the enemy. Many of those killed were at my age at the time. The enemy was Serbia and Montenegro. Probably that explains the border crossing time yesterday. My last stop is the Cathedral of Dubrovnik. It is not very huge and slightly run down. In the corners, people are having a chat with the priests on a bench. That is how they do it here.
Then another break before a small evening stroll and a burger to bring back home.
Sunday, April 5th
It is cold and windy this morning. However, there is no rain – yet. I find my tourist map to go for sights that I have not seen yet. First, I head for the Ethnographic Museum. They want me to pay 100 Kuna to get in – forget it. It is not that interesting. Then I head on into the small streets. Church Bells are ringing. It is Easter Sunday. However, it is not Showtime in St. Ignatius Church. It is a cold and fearful church – not much to cheer about. I head on – down to the small harbor. The Adriatic Ocean is cheerful this morning – and you have to take a little care when walking the piers, not to get soaked. There are many people in the center – the main street called Stradun. A men’s choir is singing in front of the Sponza Palace. They are good at what they are doing. Finally, I pick up a pizza-slice for a break at my apartment.
Later it is time for walk no. 2. I can’t get to the island of Lokrum. It is too windy for the boat. The same goes for the cable car to the top of Mount Sdjr. Instead, I head outside the walls for a small park at Pile Gate with no tourist at all. Later I find a small bay. From here you can walk uphill to Fort Lovrijenac, at least if you take care when the waves cross the path down by the sea. There is a huge view of Old Town Dubrovnik from the fort. The Fort and the bay was used as backdrops in Game of Thrones. Then I head back for my apartment – just as it starts to rain.
Dinner tonight is at Mea Culpa. Another fine Pizza and a pint of beer. It has stopped raining, but it is a little cold to sit outdoor. However, you do get a 10 % discount – I do not know why.
Monday, April 6th
It is still too windy for the boat to Lokrum and for the cable car. Plan C is inserted. I take bus no. 6 to Lapad. You can always trust the bus.
Lapad is a suburb to Dobrovnik. They put a lot of tourist into hotels out here. The bus stopped at one of them, and then there was a 5-6 km. walk back to downtown. I walk through a forest with views of the Adriatic Ocean and to the big harbor with the cruise-ships that arrive in Dubrovnik every day. The passengers from the cruise-ships are then cattle-transported to town for a walk with a silly guide with an umbrella in front – not my kind of vacation. I pick up lunch on the way. Out here, it is much cheaper than in Old Town. A decent lunch here is the same as a pizza-slice there. It takes me 3 hours to reach town again.
Later another walk in Dubrovnik Old Town. The Cruise- and bus-tourists has left, so it is quiet for the rest of us. The piers at Fort St. John has turned into my favorite place to visit.
Dinner is a fine Kebab that I bring back to my apartment. It is time for some reading in my Game of Thrones book. Dubrovnik doubles as Kings Landing in the TV-series.
Tuesday, April 7th
My last day is a day tour to Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We leave at 8 am with Adriatic-explore heading north. First the border between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Then half an hours of drive – and we have to cross another border back to Croatia. Then a small ride – and finally the third border crossing – now into Bosnia-Herzegovina again. Same circus repeats itself on the way back.
The target is Mostar, but first we visit a nice little village called Pocitelj. It is very old – no one knows how old – with steep streets made out of stone.
Then we head for Mostar. We have 3 hours here. It is famous for the rebuilt bridge across the river Neretva. The stupid local guide take us there while talking and talking and talking. We have to collect money to see a diver jump from the bridge into the river. I find such things disgusting, so I leave the group in anger, and decide to do the city by myself. That is also an excuse to skip all the souvenir-shops around the bridge, and head for lunch at a local restaurant – far away from the area recommended by the guide.
Mostar is a very special town. Still – 20 years after the civil war – you will find holes from guns and grenades in many buildings. Some being rebuilt – others are not. Things seem to go very slow with that. The guide told us that people now had learned to live with each other – but the Croats, the Bosniaks and the Serbs minorities will never be friends. The situation around here is not optimal. Negative growth and an unemployment rate at 30 % is not good. I still can’t figure out why these unemployed people can’t start to rebuild all the damaged houses. That would make more sense than jumping into the river as entertainment for the tourists.
At 3 pm, I find my group again and there is a 3-hour drive back to Dubrovnik.
Wednesday, April 8th
Taxi to the airport at 5 am. It is only me – and all the cats of Dubrovnik that is walking the streets this morning.
My flight for Zagreb is delayed, so I will not be able to catch my connecting flight to Copenhagen. I am rebooked, so I now go via Frankfurt instead. This will cost me a few hours delay, but not a major problem.
In Copenhagen, there is the traditional chaotic train-ride to Aarhus. As usual, this will end with a complaint. I am back home at 6 pm.