Summer travels took us to Croatia, Bosnia and Germany.
We kicked things off in Dubrovnik, a medieval walled city on Croatia's southern coast ...
To head-off the jet-lag, we took an early morning stroll down the Stradun (Dubrovnik's main street) in the old city, the rain had washed the limestone clean and it was peaceful and uncrowded—mostly nuns, locals on the way to work, backpackers, cats and pigeons. The Stradun was built in 1667 after an earthquake destroyed many of the city's buildings.
Eventually, we stumbled across the Porporela (above), a breakwater and pier off the Old Port built in the 1870's to protect the ships moored in the harbor. The fort at the back is the St. John Fortress complex, built in the 1500's to monitor and control the ship traffic. Today, it houses the city's Maritime Museum and Aquarium. The rocky area against the wall to the left is a public swimming beach with a ladder down to the water.
Above, an impromptu family portrait as we try and decide where to have dinner (one of many vacation hardships) ...
THINGS WE ATE
Simply put, Dubrovnik's food is outstanding. Here are a few favorites (from top left): Skampi na Buzaru: large prawns cooked in a delicious tomato and wine sauce / Dagnje na Buzaru: fresh mussels cooked in olive oil, wine, garlic, bread crumbs and fresh herbs / Octopus Salad: fresh octopus, tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, lemon juice and olives / Shrimp Tagliatelle: spinach pasta with fresh shrimp in a creamy white wine and garlic sauce / Pivo: the Croatian word for "beer" / Spaghetti Bolognese: pasta with red sauce, basil and parmesan
Tip: The Gundulićeva Poljana Market is a wonderful place to buy inexpensive staples—fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, carrots, peaches, apricots, bread, dried oranges and figs.
Bar Mala Buza—the ultimate, top secret hole-in-the-wall. Perfect sunset drinking spot (go early). Not dirt cheap but far from the worst (two drinks ran around €12.) No substantial food, just snacks. Lovely service and mind-blowing views. Swimming and cliff diving for people emboldened by liquid courage who suddenly decide they want to crush it.
Getting there: it's an unmarked bar squirreled away in the city walls which, makes finding it half the fun! We followed our noses but here are some better directions.
More photos of Dubrovnik: