Hi everyone! Lauren here! Well after three packed weeks in London, the time came to set off on our European holiday to Croatia-Slovenia-Austria-Czech Republic. To be honest it suddenly just came upon us, as everything had been busy in London trying to secure a place to live and jobs etc, so it is only just now (almost a week in) to our holiday that we are in the swing of things!
I am going to share with you a bit about Dubrovnik. Being an Aussie and the oldest building on the block being something like St Mary’s cathedral, not much can prepare you for a city so old it makes the settlement of Australia seem like it was yesterday. It was breathtaking to round the corner on the bus and see Dubrovnik sitting there in the afternoon sun… walls and all, just like in the pictures. I think we were a little in awe for a while. Then our first test – finding our accommodation when we don’t speak a drop of Croatian, and where street names are not even unpronounceable.
We did quite well considering. We lugged our bags (whilst thankful for the investment into good suitcases which wheel properly) up 3 flights of stairs to Marija’s House. It was basically her apartment and we stayed in the guest room with a view from the window over the Old Town and the city walls. She was a lovely lady, and so was her daughter. They were very accommodating and she cooked the most incredible apple strudel I have ever tasted! She told us how she had to flee with her two young children during the war to Slovenia and was still quite apprehensive to talk about the return to Croatia after the fighting subsided. You could tell it was a soft topic so we moved onto happier things! It was a great experience staying with a local and her recommendations didn’t disappoint.
We filled the days with a lot of meandering through the Old Town, in which you could get completely lost in. When you move away from the ‘Stradun’, the main thoroughfare from one gate to another, the tourist crowds subside and the buzz quietens and you can see what it is truly like to live in the city. We learned about the pulley system for their washing, which cats were stray or owned, where they shopped and how they garden. It’s a warren of cobblestone alleys and lanterns, all so picturesque it’s almost stressful as you want to capture the charm and atmosphere…but I had to put away my camera because it was useless, it is really just the experience of it all. There are so many unexpected surprises, little eateries locals have set up in their yards, and always the swirl of so many languages that your ears pick up when you hear english.
Although the locals said it was ‘too cold’ to swim yet, Joel and I found the water wonderfully refreshing, and I was continually delighted to look beneath me and see the ocean floor stretching 5 or so metres down and be able to see everything in clear focus. As I have stated to many friends and family – one of my life’s goals has been to swim in water this clear. I was so happy you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face! As a result we spent a lot of time perched on the cliff face outside a hole in the city wall soaking it in!
We ate seafood, feasted on ice cream, watched the sun go down and spent more time than was necessary on the city wall curiously peeking into people’s lives and just appreciating being in such a unique corner of the world. I am always thankful to be able to acknowledge the incredible opportunities that we have. Even though we have worked hard for them, we are still blessed beyond measure to be able to take part in this experience with one another. I still love being woken at 5am by the city bells clanging like they want to wake the whole world up… until we turn over and go back to sleep!
All our love, will try to update after each stage of our journey, depending on wi-fi, but obviously we will always be a bit behind so check our twitter feed on the right hand side of the page for more instant updates when we have internet.
Loz & Joel xxx