Bari, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia!
Well, I’ll start off by saying that the 8.5 hour overnight ferry from Bari to Italy was almost worse than being on a bus for 3 weeks straight. I purchased a deck ticket for the journey which cost 46 Euro. If I was to purchase a cabin ticket, which included a bed, shower, and a private bathroom of my own the prices would have been astronomical! The deck pass simply gave you the option to either sleep out on the deck of the ferry, or go inside to the common areas which had tables, chairs and restaurant styles to find a place to sleep. At first I laid outside on the deck but then decided to head into the common area so that I could find myself a nice restaurant style booth to set up camp at.
Once I scoped out a vacant table I took my two bags and locked them up to the leg of the table so that I wouldn’t have to worry about people stealing anything as I slept. It worked out pretty well. The sleep part didn’t work out too well though. After you lie on these booth seats which have cushioning that is paper thin you realize that you’re really just sleeping on a piece of wood. It was a long ride, and all I wanted to do was sleep until the sun came up in Croatia.
At first I had the booth to myself but at one point during my tossing and turning I glanced over across the booth and found an older man sitting on the other side. I opened my eyes for a few seconds but was too tired to even say Hi. I was using my jacket as a pillow, and had no blanket. The worst part about it was that the air conditioning on the ship was blaring the whole night. Theres pro’s and con’s to everything. You could go outside and sleep on the deck of the boat on some wooden benches, and be warm because the weather was beautiful all night, or you could go inside where it was a tiny bit more comfortable and freeze to death from the A/C. I chose to sleep inside and by the time I realized how cold I was, I was too tired to move, nevermind unlock my bags and drag them outside with me. I simply just dealt with the cold, and tossed and turned the rest of the night while enduring the most uncomfortable sleep to date.
Finally the sun came up and we arrived at the port of Dubrovnik! I was so excited to finally be on land again.
I jogged off of the ferry as it docked and ran across the street to the ATM so that I could withdraw some Croatian currency (Croatian Kuna) for the bus to Old Town Dubrovnik from the port. Once I withdrew some money I jumped on the next bus to Old Town. After arriving I had to navigate my way to the apartment that Liz and I rented for the week. All I really knew was that it was situated in the foothills of the mountains here in Dubrovnik and it overlooked the Adriatic Sea and Old Town. It was 7:30AM. Here I am with no directions to my accommodations and I’m a walking zombie who’s carrying two backpacks with a total weight of nearly 40lbs on my shoulders. God, help me find this apartment so that I can just drop these bags! After taking a few correct turns I asked a few people if they knew the address that I had scribbled on a piece of paper. Each person that I asked led me a little closer and closer to my final destination. At last I arrived at my apartment. I checked in, and immediately threw my bags down. It was such a relief to finally be here. Now all I had to do was unpack some of my clothes, run to the nearest supermarket to grab some food and R-E-L-A-X!
The owner of the apartment had planned to pick Liz up at the Dubrovnik airport at 11:30AM so I went along for the ride with him. We arrived and waited for Liz to get her bags off of the plane and off again back to the apartment. It was so great to finally see someone from home. Who would’ve thought that I’d have visitors in Europe? Poor Liz had to take two seperate flights to get here, one from Boston to Dublin, and then another about two hours later from Dublin to Dubrovnik. The funniest part is that she traveled nearly 9 hours to get here from Boston, yet all I did was take a ferry directly across the Adriatic Sea from Bari to Dubrovnik and it took me nearly the same amount of time. How crazy is that?
Once we settled into our new home for the week we headed off to explore the Old Town of Dubrovnik. We spent quite a bit of time searching for the Tourist Information Center and in the end just gave up and spent the rest of the time seeing different sights, beautiful views from the castle walls, and more.
We even came across the popular, yet somewhat “secret spot” in Old Town which is a bar that lies on the outer edge of the castle walls and overlooks the sea.
I had read many articles and tips about this place in the past when researching Dubrovnik and I now know why everyone had so many good things to say about it. If you’re ever in the Old Town of Dubrovnik take a stroll around the walls that face the sea, and you’ll be sure to find it. The only way to know when you’re in the right place is when you see a wooden sign that says “COLD DRINKS ——->”. If you see that, follow the arrow and head through the door way. Be prepared to be amazed by the views and the opportunity to sit outside the castle walls of Dubrovnik while you sip on a beer or some wine.
After exploring Old Town we had some dinner at a nice restaurant called Arsenal. It’s a nice place with good food and has outdoor seating that overlooks the port. After our meal we headed back to our home for the week but not before making a quick stop into the supermarket on the way back to pick up some liquor. We got back to the house and immediately jumped into our bathing suits so that we could take a late afternoon swim at Banje Beach which is located below our apartment.
We arrived and realized that unfortunately Croatia isn’t the best place to find a sandy beach. I couldn’t understand why the locals called it a “Pebble Beach” when there were no pebbles, it was all rocks! I couldn’t resist the aqua colored water so I jumped right in. The waves were crazy! The only problem was that there were rocks the whole way out, no matter how far you swam out. Finally a big wave came and I thought I’d be cool and try to ride it into shore a bit. Well that didn’t work out too well. I ended up getting thrashed in the wave, flipped upside down and a rock which was also picked up by this giant wave cracked me in the forehead. I came out of the water stumbling and that was the last of Banje Beach for the day. Now I have a swollen lump on my head and it’s only my first day here!
After the beach we went back up to the apartment and took showers before heading out for the night. We met up with two roommates of mine that I had met in Naples about a week ago. They were here for one last night so we met up with them at this place called Gil’s which is located on the port. Gil’s is an unbelievable spot here in Dubrovnik. You can choose to sit on the ground level which is really modern and high end or head upstairs to the lounge where we went to lounge on giant bean bags on a patio that overlooks the sea.
It was quite the spot, if you can afford it that is. The drinks were really expensive compared to most places and since the girls that we met up with were finishing their last drink we decided to just hang out and grab a drink at the next spot that we would head to. We finished up at Gil’s and headed for a club/bar called Fuego which is located just outside of the Pile Gate entrance to the Old Town of Dubrovnik. It was a really chill spot and our waiter was really cool. He was giving us free shots throughout the night and even taking shots with us. We all had a great time and a good laugh. Once 11:00PM hit, we headed downstairs to the night club at Fuego. There was really nobody there so we had a drink and then Liz and I headed home to catch up on some much needed sleep after all of the traveling the both of us did in the past 24 hours.
Tomorrow we plan to head to the Island of Lokrum which is located about 15 minutes away by boat from Dubrovnik Old Port. Supposedly there’s a nude beach, a cove, some caves, and hiking trails on the island so we’re going to go check that out.
Until next time…