Monday, November 29, 2010

Cruise Port Review: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Rain! But that didn't stop us. At least not totally.

Here is the port information I provided for our group:

Dubrovnik is an easy port to do on one’s own. The old, walled city is a delight to wander through. However, if you are interested in history or some specific sights, you might want to consider a ship’s tour.

One of the highlights here is to ‘walk the wall’. This is not easy as there are lots of steps. However, if you think you can do even part of it, enter at Pile and walk counterclockwise, to the scenic seaside portion. You can either return to the Pile entrance to exit or can continue and exit near the Maritime Museum. Along this portion of the wall there are a couple of places/cafes to stop, sit and rest.

I read that it is suggested to get a small amount of the local currency if you’ll be doing any shopping or stopping into any restaurants. The merchants really prefer that.

There may be a Princess shuttle providing transportation to town. There will also be plenty of taxis. The taxi drivers will accept Euros for the trip to the old town. Average price to Pile gate is 10 Euros. Be prepared to negotiate. If driver won’t drop his price, move onto the next taxi. Once at the old city, don’t take a taxi through it/around it. There are lots of one way streets and the old city is small.

For a history of the local culture from the early days, a recommended museum is the Rupe Museum.

As you walk along the Stradun (main promenade) you might be tempted to stop and buy from the vendors. Don’t. Get off the main street and into the little side streets. You’ll find some very nice local shops (the kind the locals buy from), good gelato, and, if you are looking, wonderful art galleries.

No, there was no Princess shuttle. Yes, there were taxis and the rate was 10 Euros per taxi. Our group of 14 was down to 12 for this port so we split into 3 taxis. Worked out perfectly.

The walled city of Dubrovnik is a lot smaller than I thought it would be. We were early and between that and the rain, the streets were pretty empty. We walked the main Stadun in no time at all. Actually, I was surprised at how fast we exited through the gate at the other end.

We canceled our plan to walk the wall because of the rain and we were concerned the steps and slopes would be slippery. We found the synagogue but it and the museum didn't open until 10 a.m. In the meantime we strolled the streets, stopping in at a local supermarket, viewing the local produce market and shopping in tourist and jewelry stores as they opened.

Silver is a very big item here. I wasn't going to buy anything until I came across a gorgeous necklace with a typical Croatian designed ball-shaped pendant. It truly was beautiful but too much for what I was willing to spend. So I 'settled' (VGB) for earrings with the same type of design.

The old walled city is built at the base of a mountain. Toward the mountain, the city streets are narrow and steep stairs. Towards the waterfront, the city streets are narrow and flat. The city was spotless and our short stay was too short, made more difficult by a downpour we just managed to find shelter from. Perhaps we'll return another day and be able to walk the wall and stroll more streets.

So we found a taxi for our 10 Euro ride back to the port. For those interested, there is some shopping at the port... some of it a bit upscale art and some the typical kiosks with tourist related items.

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