After attending my sister’s wedding in Paris, I was on an EasyJet flight to Croatia, a mere two hours away, to meet up with my friends. Regardless of the countless pictures I had viewed, I was filled with anticipation as to what my eyes would truly see in Croatia. From the moment I stepped off the plane I was not disappointed. I wish I could find a more intellectual word to describe what my eyes first beheld but “WOW” says it all. Majestic mountains greet you as soon as your feet touch Croatian soil. In spite of my desire to not look too touristy, I automatically took out my camera, shooting endlessly, almost reluctant to leave the tarmac.
After much research, I learned that Atlas Shuttle Bus is a cost effective way to the Old Town. The ride to the Old Town was the most breathtaking and heart palpitating at the same time. The big bus was driving on narrow roads, while below me were breathtaking waves crashing against rocks. At several points I had to close my eyes, for I have a vivid imagination. I manage to survive the 30 minute ride to the Old Town. When I arrived there were a mass of people. People were everywhere! I was to meet my friends at Pile Gate so I asked someone where that was and made my way there. With so many people around, I said a quick prayer that I would find them and luckily I did just a few steps past the gate. Seeing the throngs of people made me realize that August is probably not the best time of the year to visit. A local told me that September and June were the best months to visit.
Walking through the Old Town I felt as if I was transported to medieval times. Everything is made of glossy stone and lime. It was if at any moment men riding horses would come barreling through the town. The side streets in the Old Town are narrow with long steep stairs that lead to above Pile Gate. All the side streets are filled with restaurants, bars, apartments and souvenir shops. We rented an apartment in the heart of Old Town for our week stay and my friends who arrived the day before me were happy with it. It was nothing spectacular, just a one-bedroom attic apartment. We are tall women so at times it was a bit challenging to stand in the apartment but the tradeoff of the price and being in the heart of Old Town was worth us crouching every now and again. Plus, we literally were there to sleep.
Croatia is known for its beaches! In that respect it did not disappoint. You can expect rocky or concrete beaches in the Old Town. The first beach we went to was nice but it was unbelievably crowded, which a local had warned us about. Regardless, we found our spot and enjoyed the sun, letting it all sink that we were actually in Croatia. Later on we met up with a local who took us to a local exclusive beach. This beach was a concrete beach with a small bar with the most amazing view of the sun setting at night. This became our beach for the remainder of our stay in Dubrovnik. Every time the locals saw us coming they greeted us by saying, “Brooklyn!!”
I highly recommend going sailing while you are in Croatia. My girlfriend Sherley had suggested it and I admit to being very skeptical at first. Fear of the unknown I guess. Since our other friend Lisa was down and I was outnumbered, I reluctantly agreed. Thank goodness I did. Sailing was the highlight of the whole trip. We flew from Dubrovnik to Split where our sailing trip began. We sailed for three days with a company called Hvar Adventures on a boat named Olivia. We swam in the middle of the Adriatic Sea, stopping at a marina each night to enjoy the town and the plethora of excellent seafood. Places that we enjoyed were Hvar (party town) and blue/green caves. Our skipper was phenomenal — taking time out to give us the history of the islands, advising us on the best restaurants, as well as the best places to hang out. Our sailing trip was all the more special because of him. We definitely lucked out. Instead of returning to Split, we decided to end our sailing trip in Hvar where we stayed for one night at the amazing Hotel Park. The next day we returned to Dubrovnik. We were supposed to catch a plane back to Dubrovnik from Split, but since we missed our flight, we took a very long and scenic, five-hour bus ride to Dubrovnik. Once again I closed my eyes often while my friends slept :-)
After our long bus ride from Split, we spent our last three days in Dubrovnik. We took a tram up to mountainside overlooking the city, which was breathtaking. We had tea and dessert before returning back to “our beach.”
The following day we walked the Walls of Dubrovnik, which took us two hours due to our pseudo photo shoots. On the last day we shopped!!! The people are great, the food excellent (not conducive to someone with shellfish allergy like me but I made it work), and the ambiance is awesome. I saw people of all walks of life visiting there: families, couples, and girlfriends and guys just hanging out. I fell in love with Croatia and declared that I must go back again and again and ultimately retire there. You must visit soon!!!
Marjorie Vail has been a teacher for over a decade. She currently holds the title of Mrs. Brooklyn International and will be competing for the state title in October. Her passion is to volunteer, specifically working with two Not-for-Profit organizations: Out To Reach and Educate Haiti Now, both working to serve the people of Haiti. She enjoys reading, hanging out with friends and family but most of all she loves to travel! You can check out her website and blog at www.marjorievail.com or find her on twitter @MsAnglade.