In the last two years Matt and I have been to ten countries. When we left the states and flew to Venice for a Mediterranean cruise, all we cared about was Venice and Greece. Call us crazy, but we were giving in to the hype we had grown up with. What wasn't on our radar at all? Croatia.
We pulled into the port in Dubrovnik, and we were immediately stunned at the beauty of the Croatian countryside. The Mediterranean style buildings were built into the hills surrounded by bright colored flowers and deep green trees. With a backdrop of mountains and a foreground of the clear blue water, it was truly a sight to see.
We stepped off the boat knowing that our goal was to get to the "Old City". We never know how easy it is going to be to navigate an area (especially when we don't know the language), but this was easy in Dubrovnik. There were signs in both Croatian and English, so we followed them for a couple miles to get to the city ourselves. It was hilly and hot so we do not suggest this unless you are physically fit, but it was well worth it. Not only did we avoid the crowded buses, but we got to see some of the more natural part of Croatia. It wasn't as picturesque as the ancient city, but it gave us a little insight into how the citizens there actually lived.
Making the walk also meant we didn't get dropped off at the main tourist entrance. Instead, we walked down to the Old City using an old stone path. Again there were a lot of stairs and it was not a short walk, but by going down that walkway we were able to see how others would have historically entered and got to admire a beautiful hidden treasure.
The entrance to the ancient city was stunning; it was no wonder that many Games of Thrones scenes were filmed here!
As we entered the city, I began to feel a knot in my throat. For the first time in my life I was completely overcome with the beauty of our surroundings. I am not a city girl by any means, but I was taken by this place. The cobblestone walkways, the fountains, the historic buildings- the pictures are not enough to explain how incredible it all was.
Right next to where this picture was taken, we found an unexpected piece of the city. Built right into cliff was a bar with signs claiming to have the best view in the city. We walked down and found something amazing- MORE STAIRS DOWN! You could stop and buy a drink, or you could walk past it to the rocks below. That's where you would find a group of people swimming and even cliff jumping! We did not think we would be swimming at all that day, but how could we say no? We jumped in wearing our underwear and made one of the best memories of the whole trip! Our first time in the Mediterranean Sea!
We walked around the city for hours admiring the buildings, the shops, and of course I stopped to pet the stray cats (I don't really recommend this but I couldn't help myself).
You're probably reading this like, "Okay... but what is so great about it?" And honestly, I don't blame you. Hopefully you can watch the video and see what my words cannot adequately describe, or maybe you are fortunate enough to be able to take the trip.
All I can say is, we went with no expectations. We were met with awe and left with a sense of inspiration we have never felt anywhere else in the world. Even if it not in Croatia, I hope that some day you get the same feeling in a place. The feeling will come home with you and leave you with a wonderful sense of nostalgia you will never forget.
Needless to say, if 6 hours in the port town gave us this reaction we cannot wait to see what the rest of the country will do for us. Until then Croatia... until then.