From Outside
the City
View of the Bosnian mountains and a
shadow of a cross on Mount Srd.
October 2, 2007

For such a small city, there really are a lot of ways to spend your time.

For starters, waking up before 8:00am is definitely not the norm around here. But I’m an early riser so I found myself out at
this time. It was just me and the locals. No tourists in sight. People going to school. Others on their way to work. And others
walking their kiddies to school. I roamed up and down the steep stairways and then wandered around the main street. With
the absence of others, the shiny and smooth limestone of the streets stood out exceptionally well.  

The next way to pass time…just sitting at cafes lining the main ‘street’ here. All you find here is pedestrian traffic as you will
not find any cars within the Old City (or ‘Stari Grad’ as it is referred to here). Time just passes. I guess the only irritating thing
about it this morning was that my two pieces of bread with jam ended up costing $6 US. Even though they called it a
‘continental breakfast’, was there any coffee included in that price? Nope. A cup of coffee would have set me back another $3
US. Just another example of the increase of tourism in this city. Since I’m only here for a couple days, I can handle it. All I
know is that tomorrow I am going to start my morning off with something better than bread. I think it will be an apple strudel
kind of morning.

Then I decided to head out of the Old City and walk up some stairs. It turned out to be about 500 stairs (I counted on my way
down). There I found a bench where I could sit and think while looking at the rooftops of the Old City. Just 15 years ago,
almost 70% of these roofs were hit with shells, etc. by its neighboring countries. What I was looking at were pretty much all
replacements. I just can’t even imagine seeing nothing but fire and smoke coming from this walled-in area. But that’s how it
was. While the war is still mentioned (for example, when asking how to get to Mount Srd, a woman told me to walk out to the
cable car line – and then told me there is actually no cable car any more since the war…) it is nice to see that this gem of a city
is revitalized. The people here are wonderful. Very friendly, very helpful.

When I got back to the bottom, I saw a hair salon. My hair has been in drastic need of getting lobbed off. Nothing drastic…but
considering it has been growing like a weed, we’re still talking about a good five inches. It wasn’t intended to be that much…but
I let the girl do her thing. I was just excited to have healthy hair again. Well, as healthy as it can be with a chemical
straightening process, right?  

I continued to see things from outside the walls as I went to the beach a little bit on the outskirts. This provided me yet some
more beautiful views of the Old City. As I re-entered the Old City, I stumbled across a photo shoot most likely for a clothing or
jewelry designer. The people are beautiful here. This just re-confirmed that. It was great seeing models all dolled up while
standing in front of beautiful, old structures.

One thing you will see everybody walking around with in this city is an ice cream cone. And there’s a good reason for that – the
ice cream is wonderful out here. And, for that matter, it is pretty darn cheap, too. The guys working at my favorite place are as
sweet and cute as can be…saying ‘See you later, alligator’ after each transaction with a customer. And there is good
reason…with ice cream this good and the staff this friendly, they
would see me later (as I went back there after dinner tonight,
as well).

The other thing I carved out time for today was getting to the top of Mount Srd (still have
no idea how to pronounce this!).
After walking up many o’ stairs to get to the main road, there is a serpentine path that leads to the top of the mountain where
the cable car used to go. It was never too steep. The views were incredible. It’s not too often you do a hike where you get
constantly amazing scenery not only from the top but also as you are walking to the top.

But this was where I went wrong. I gave myself too much credit. I thought I would actually be able to multi-task by walking
and looking at the scenery at the same time. Oh, I really should know myself better than this. Within seconds (and I mean that
literally – it might have only been five seconds) of trying to maneuver this, I felt myself trip and heading face-forward into the
gravelly rocks. My hand broke my fall. Not only was my palm bleeding but it
instantly swelled up and became a bluish-purple
color. I could also no longer close my hand all the way. Why do I always have to be so clumsy?

As I neared the top, I met Mihoko (a Japanese girl) who was as sweet as could be. She told me she got lost trying to find the
trail and she ended up going 40 minutes out of her way. She said she was exhausted so she hitchhiked to get to the starting
point. I couldn’t stop laughing. She even showed me the way she held out her thumb. All I could say was “You are
adorable!” A guy in a truck picked her up instantly and brought her to the bottom. Later I would find out that she gave him an
orange as a ‘thank you’ token of her appreciation. I had to tell her yet again how adorable she was.

When we got to the top, there were a few cable car thingies obstructing some of the views. But that was okay. It was still
magnificent looking at everything from above. And once on top, you look opposite the sea and see the mountains of Bosnia-
Herzegovina with the trees that are changing colors in the foreground. Beautiful. There was also a large cross up there that I
would find out from Mihoko was a gift from Napolean. However, that one was destroyed during the war and this one was a new
cross put up afterwards. Being the dork I am, I am going to mention the amazing shadow it was casting onto the trees near the
Bosnia mountains. Stunning.

The cross is lit up at night. I saw it tonight and gave myself some props for walking all the way up there. Ahhh. Felt good.

I capped tonight off with an amazing seafood dinner of grilled squids near the port. That is a pretty darn good note to leave
Croatia on…

Not only that, as I turned my computer on in my room that I am staying in to do some of my journaling, I just a Skype
message. From Lorenz! He was also online. What a fun surprise! We ended up calling each other and were able to talk for a bit.
Until the wireless connection got completely cut off from my end. I still feel bad as he was mid-comment as my internet access
completely shut down. I'm sure he understands. And even better, I'm sure there will be other times when I find myself able to
talk to him.

October 3, 2007

Sitting at a café right now enjoying my last couple hours in Dubrovnik. I’m happy I decided to use this as my stepping board
for the rest of the Balkans. For the most part, things are still the same as they were four years ago…just far more tourists,
touring options, restaurants and steeper prices.

But none of this changed my view of this wonderful city…


Yes, the lady at the tourist office in Dubrovnik was very sweet when providing me with my bus information. However, it would
have been even better had she provided me with the
correct bus information…

I am now sitting at the bus station as there was no 1:00 pm bus. That bus only exists on Sundays. It’s a Wednesday.

The next bus comes at 3:15pm. I have already spent time lingering around the big supermarket that is nearby. I can also tell
you that a bottle of Grgic (as in the same guy as Girgich Hills in Napa) Plavac Mali that costs 330 kunas in the Old City (about
$66 US) costs only 220 (about $44 US) kunas out here. That’s quite a savings! I am also pleased to report the findings of some
fun little products: mango tic tacs (I am very optimistic about these so I bought two packs) and these Twix ‘Topix’ things in
macchiato flavor. Sounds pretty good to me.

Now I have about 1½ hours left to just wait. Not really a big deal. It gives me time to catch up on journaling as I have been
pretty lazy about it ever since I arrived. And I have a new book to read. I’m happy about that as I was carrying around a book
I finished in Tunisia with hopes of finding a Book Exchange. Let me re-phrase that. A Book Exchange consisting of some books
that are in English. And I found one. And I have faith that it will actually be decent as I saw it at the airport in London. Lord
knows I have time to read it…  
Back to Croatia.
Looking at Stari Grad from near the beach.
From high above the Old City.