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Dubrovnik, Friday 17th June

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The house in the middle, with the green double door, is ours.....

Sylvia’s family have an insulting expression which doesn’t directly translate – “extra wurst” – which means an annoying, fussy person who wants extra.

The trip to Dubrovnik was a ferry to Orebic then a mini-bus to Dubrovnik. Two toey guys were part of our group, and they jostled past everyone to get onto the boat first, picking the spot that would get them off first as well. They were my favourite, the extra-wursters, who try and squeeze their advantage ahead of everyone else. The pushy, the queue-jumpers, the negotiators….

When the bus stopped for a 15 minute break at a café in the middle of nowhere Mr ExtraWurstUno took up 10 minutes of the barrista’s time with his finicky and minutely detailed coffee requirements. The mournful Croatian personality doesn’t like the extrawursters anymore than I do, and our eyes met and he grimaced.

An empty seat was in front of me, vacated by the Croatian woman who moved forward so she could flirt with the bus driver. Mr ExtraWurstDuo jumped into it, then proceeded to take a photo every 15 seconds as we raced along. Of course, the roadside scenery rushed past in a blur, and the photos were useless, but that didn’t stop him taking maybe 800 shots over the next hour.

I was hoping he would biff himself with the camera against the window, but in vain. Even when the bus swerved to avoid a tortoise crossing the road….

When the bus got to Dubrovnik, the ExtraWursts were out the bus and ahead of the pack, hustling for their luggage. Unfortunately for them, when we were handing in the luggage to be stacked in the boot of the bus, they had, in a moment of inattention, accidentally allowed me to get behind them, so my stuff was on top…and consequently our packs came out about the same time as their’s.

Seizing the opportunity I leaned in and hoiked it out, and shooed Sylvia along into the office of the booking agency.  We were already halfway through the transaction by the time they clattered in, furious that they weren’t first in line.

The simple things…that’s what pleases me.

I hope I see them. It would be good to mention in conversation that the accommodation we got is great, and right on the doorstep of the old town. No view to speak of…there’s a bloody great forty-metre stone wall across the road…but the landlords are lovely. Dodo (his abbreviation, not mine) has lived in this house all his life, and was born in the room he is currently sleeping! Enthusiastically he showed me our room and the tv. His English is fine, but he thought he was missing something when I said  we probably wouldn’t even turn the tv on. Later he came back and told me Australian football was on, just in case….

Yes, we are tourists! Standard tourist shot of DubrovnikWhen bragging ( in a nice way, proudly) about his house he also mentioned it’s also close to a swimming spot. Which isn’t marked on a map or mentioned anywhere, but I figure if he’s lived here all his life he knows what he’s talking about. Sure enough, if you take a staircase down towards a seaside restaurant and keep walking, you finish up on a rock platform, complete with a ladder for getting in and out.

That was later in the day, after someone grumpy and tired had a snooze while another grumpy person read for a bit.

The priority today, after accommodation was sorted, was to finalise the travel back to Vienna. The very beautiful accommodation/tour agency clerk gave us directions to an airline booking agency. Initially they were complex directions, requiring a bus and walking, but when she realized we were using Croatian Airlines she had a better plan…there was one 200 metres from where we were.

Dubrovnik public fountain

Dubrovnik is pumping. There are hordes of people here. The location of the airline agency was somewhere near the main entrance to the old town, which is also where all the buses stop. It’s a madhouse. We had to wade through the crowds, but couldn’t find the Airlines shop. It was swelteringly hot, the crowds were stifling, it was past lunch time, and we were fraying at the edges. “Let’s try the information centre…”

At the tourist information centre the depressed information chap point blank said there was no Croatian Airlines agency here, we needed to go to the airport.

Too hard. We sat down and ate lunch, digesting food and the problem.

In the end we decided we had asked the wrong guy the wrong question. We should have asked “Can I buy an airline ticket anywhere nearby?”.

We must be close…looking around, down a laneway was a sign pointing to a different booking agency.

And yes, they DID book flights, for a minor fee of 450kn….$90.

Doesn’t matter. The flight is booked, we can get back to Vienna in a couple of hours rather than a 2-day sleepless slog. We can have the two days here and still be back at the same time.

So, we walked through Dubrovnik, but the heat got to us. We did take a break at the bar perched on the rocks outside the fortress walls, but despite the beach umbrellas and the chatty waitress we were done, and went back and flaked until the late afternoon swim at Dodo’s spot.

I was hesitant to go back into the old town for dinner. So many people, the restaurants all hustle for business, almost dragging you by the arm.  But it’ll be worse tomorrow, so using that as a catalyst we ploughed back into the old town, to a wharf seafood restaurant. They did a cauldron of various fishy things for about $50 for two. It was great, and unlike our standard Australian fisherman’s basket, nothing deep-fried….grilled or steamed only.

At the next table some American extrawursters were querying the busy waiter with details on the food. They couldn’t find anything on the menu. Mrs Extrawurst opted, in a seafood restaurant where the raw materials are indisputably fresh, for a roll with egg and cheese in it. But first they needed to know, “How is the egg cooked?”

the Dubrovnik placa at nightA stroll down the main street to settle the big meal, and to burn off the local “brandy”. It wasn’t really brandy, but a variation on the tequila madness that Boznor showed us….hard spirit flavoured by sitting in a sealed bottle in the sun for 3 months with a highlight herb. Sylvia had myrtle, I had Wormwood. Definitely an acquired taste….

I haven’t said much about Dubrovnik itself. It is an impressive fortress city, with massive stone walls protecting both land and sea approaches. (It was strong enough to resist the Yugoslav and Serbian armies during the civil war….)

The main street is glorious, wide, marbled, and the side streets suitable labyrinthean.

Tomorrow we’ll tackle the castle walk, which goes right round the ramparts.

Written by wurstofvienna2011

June 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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