Dubrovnik, Croatia

We arrived shortly after noon in Dubrovnik, stopping at a lookout point on the main highway on the way in. Dropped our bags at the hotel, withdrew some money from the ATM, got charged AUD30 for the privilege then boarded the bus toward the Old Town.

Note to self – let my own bank do the conversion and save money. Betting with the local bank will seemingly result in an inferior rate.

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The only real problem was the high pressure weather system. Dark clouds in the hills, 30+ degrees in the old town and so very humid.

Our guide Zoran gave us a short information session in the city and then left us to our own devices. First we went to the bus office and bought a 3 day “Dubrovnik Card” for HRK250. Only HRK50 more than the 1 day version, it provides six metro bus journeys, free entry into all main old Town attractions and provides extra discount with shops and restaurants. It paid for itself before our first day was over.

Mark had made it clear from the very start of our tour, the whole tour, that the only thing that mattered to him was a Game of Thrones Tour. More important than food, drink and sleep. So, with an adequate amount of pressure, we booked onto the 5pm tour and with 2.5 hours to spare, had a quick lunch at local restaurant Bokčilo (the Dubrovnik Card gave us a 20% discount) and then walked the city walls in an hour to make our tour time. Luckily the tickets for the wall, which was free on the Card allowed multiple entries, so it’s a good job we kept our tickets later on. Ideally I think 90mins for the wall is just the right amount of time. Admittedly we rushed it, we still got what we wanted out of it, with time to spare. I realise in looking at the photos I took though, that I didn’t take any of the actual wall, and really only the views that the wall afforded us!

The Game of Thrones tour mainly centred around the area near the Dubrovnik West Harbour and Fort Lovrijenac, right next door. Our tour guide Katarina would walk us to iconic spots, show us some slides from ‘iconic’ Game of Thrones scenes and explain what was digital etc to help us associate the locations. It was interesting and a pleasure to see Mark getting so excited over the subject. We were shown to the ‘shame’ steps where Cercei Lannister had to do her naked walk of shame and then dropped off at a GoT themed shop where we all had our time on the Iron throne. It was a good sub 2 hour walk and talk and I’m definitely glad we did the wall walk first. It helped put some of the locations we didn’t visit on the walk into context.

The next day we took the ferry to the island of Otrok Lokrum. Lokrum is located approximately 5km north of the old Town and is accessible by grabbing the every 30min ferry.

Like the buses in Dubrovnik, they are not afraid to overload the ferries. On the island there were a number of restaurants, a monastery, pebble beaches, peacocks, rabbits, a lookout where the outward view was carefully obstructed by strategically placed trees and the mandatory Game of Thrones related exhibit.

I enjoyed my time, but like Rottnest Island, a similarly utilised island near my home town of Perth, most amenities are located near the ferry port. This means the ‘beaches’ further from the port lack the basic amenities. We had lunch at a restaurant on the island, which while delicious, did not break the bank. With almost 6 restaurants on the island it was good to see prices still being reasonable.

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A short dip in the water whilst waiting for the ferry back and then onto the very crowded boat back.

By this time it was 5pm and we’d planned to go to the Fortress on the peak to watch the sunset. We were advised that by 6pm we’d be queueing a lot to get on the cable car, so instead went straight up. There was already enough of a queue so the correct decision was made. At the top we picked a spot away from the tourist traps to set up the camera and watch the sunset. I took some photos of the city down below but felt the peak was actually a little too high for any good shots. The sunset was a little disappointing because of the cloud cover in the west and then the impending rain.

Wildfires ravaged the hills behind us but we were far from any danger. Once darkness fell we joined the 30min long queue to get the cable car back down to the city. Late dinner at Tutto Benne, which received a 5 star rating from me for their flexibility and high efficiency. It wasn’t flash but it was pretty good. Bedtime, ready for our ferry trip to Hvar, after a quick final explore of the old town.

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