Category Archives: Dubrovnik

Caribbean Liars Island

On August 29, 2012, we woke up and we were in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  It’s great to wake up and you’re in a whole new city and you didn’t have to do anything to get there – that’s why cruises are so cool. (That and the unlimited food of course!)

Ivan, Lil Dave and I rushed to the port in Dubrovnik.  We’ve been here before, so we wanted to go on a boat going to see the Elephanti Islands.  Ivan booked it through Adriana Cavtat and a few minutes later we were off on a boat with about 50 people on it.

Our first stop was Kolocep where we stopped for 30 minutes.  We walked around.

The boat started going to the next destination which was Sipan.  The boat only stopped here for a short time. 

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We walked around and enjoyed the sun. 

It was lunch time once we got back on the boat. 

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We got lots of fish and coleslaw (seconds and even more if we wanted).  The red wine and juice were all free as well.  We were shown how to eat a fish without the use of utensils.  The bones of the fish were thrown into the water for the birds to scoop up. 

The boat stopped at our last stop which was Lopud.  There was a beach here.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I relaxed on lounge chairs by the water. 

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Ivan and I each got a Somersby Pear Cider which is so very tasty.  We read our books while chilling out.

It was back on the boat and awhile later we were back in Dubrovnik.  We then got back on board the boat.

Lil Dave went to go find his monkey friends on the ship.

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It’s awesome having a balcony for the views and of course the lovely sunsets.

Later, we went to see the new Hasbro Game Show.  The games were really fun (like putting in basketballs to play Connect Four), but the main prize was just a big package of, yup you guessed it, Hasbro games.

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It’s not going to make me want to play – but a lot of people seemed to want to play….I guess they are desperate for a free board game!!

For dinner, we went back to the first table we had with the British couple, Latin/French couple and the Scottish couple.  At least they were all friendly and chatty (well, the Scottish were a bit quiet) – also we were all about the same age.

I started off with penne with artichokes  while Ivan got the salmon cheesecake.  Ivan got the Indian vegetarian for his main course while I got the Louisiana catfish.  It was a tasty meal.  We left diner to check out the Liars Club.

The Liars Club features three of the entertainment hosts.  We’ve seen this before on other Carnival cruise ships and it’s always funny.  We were happy to see that Calvyn was part of it.  He’s so hilarious that he could be a stand-up comedian.  The host of the show was a girl named Amy who’s 6 feet 3 inches tall so her nickname is 6-3.  Amy is the assistant cruise director.  Amy says a weird word and the three must give a definition of the word and the audience gets to decide who we think is telling the truth.  One is actually telling the right definition while the other two are lying.

Each host had a funny story.  Taylor was the beauty queen.  She would always say I’m Taylor and I’m a Beauty Queen.. each time she would say how she was in the beauty contest for Ms. Spam or Ms. Pork and tell a story related to beauty or beauty contests.

Calvyn would always give a long story about his past like getting bullied in school or working in Wendy’s. 

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He was definitely the funniest.  He puts on an act that he’s depressed.  At the end of the story, he would say thank you.  6-3 would then look confused and say Calvyn you didn’t tell us what the word means.  He’d say Oh, and then say a really short definition like a Middle Eastern leg warmer.  It was hilarious.  I would love to hear Calvyn tell jokes all day. 

The third girl was Stephanie who was the least funniest.  Her story was that she would talk about a guy she met (usually a French guy) and how the word related to sexual situations.  Only some of her stories were funny.

We wanted to check out the Mind Magic which features a good magician named Rakesh that we’ve seen before on another Carnival cruise ship.  The Mind Magic show was in the Limelight Comedy Club which is way too big to see a magician – we prefer smaller, more intimate venues.  It was already packed, so we left.

Later on, we went to the Lido deck (right by the pool) for the Red Frog’s Caribbean Party.  There was fun party music playing.  The entertainment hosts and Butch the cruise director were handing out things to people.  I wanted some so I started dancing.  I got glow sticks, beads and a whistle.  I wanted a funny straw hat, but they were only giving out only a few.  Ivan wasn’t dancing since he would rather dance to house music.

Ivan and I jumped into the jacuzzi and enjoyed the hot bubbly water.

Ivan and I stopped to get some ice cream which is open all the time.  Ivan thought it would be funny if I put my head under it and put ice cream directly into my mouth.  I was trying to find out a good way to do this since it would be a weird angle.  Luckily, there were two girls there and I asked them to pour it in my mouth which they thought was hilarious. 

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It was fun, but messy!  I’m sure the girls tried it after we got our ice cream.. and their parents came back.  The kids would say We just saw a woman do it.  They would probably say Suuure that’s what you saw and wouldn’t believe them.

We headed back to the room to get some rest.

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Indian Freedom

On August 15, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:15 am.  I found out some bad news about my friend (who used to be my boss) who passed away – he was really sick.  So, I was crying during the free breakfast.  The lady who works at the hostel asked me if anything was wrong.  I said no.  I bet she thought I was crying coz the breakfast was bad.. but I wasn’t.. the breakfast was quite good with cereal, cheese, meats and boiled eggs.

I packed my things up (Ivan packed his last night) and we got into a taxi at 9:40 am headed to the bus station.  We got the bus to the airport which took 40 minutes. 

Check-in, Security and Immigration went by pretty fast.  We were early for once.  There was no free wi-fi at the airport.  I wrote postcards and Ivan and I shared a salmon and cream cheese bagel.

The plane left Dubrovnik, Croatia at 12:30 pm for Edinburgh, Scotland.  Our plane landed at 2:30 pm.

We got the bus to the centre of Edinburgh.  Then, we walked around with our backpacks to try to find a taxi to the Airbnb apartment we were staying at during our Edinburgh stay. 

10 minutes later, we arrived at the apartment and met Adriana.  She’s a nice woman who showed us around the apartment and  said if we had any questions we could ask her.  We also met her boyfriend.  It was great that we were able to have things sent to their apartment.  I bought some books for our upcoming cruise and a few presents for Ivan’s birthday next month. 

Ivan and I took showers and later went out.  It started raining which is typical Edinburgh weather. 

It was time for dinner.  Ivan was glad we were having Indian food at Kama Sutra.  He has been missing it since at home we cook Indian every day for lunch. 

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Ivan and I shared pan fried crab with yoghurt, daal, pind de choley (chickpeas dish), vegetables with curry sauce, aloo gobhi (potatoes).  Lil Dave had a banana tikka masala.  We had our food with a lovely Syrah from Spain which complemented the spicy food.  It was a delicious meal.  We will definitely be returning back for more.

Next, it was our first Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Stand up for Freedom.  The show that benefits Amnesty International which is a group that protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied. 

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Hannibal Buress

We saw lots of comedians and acts like David O’Doherty, Josie Long, American comedian Hannibal Burress, The Boy with Tape on his Face and Frisky and Mannish.

The hosts talked about one of the causes Amnesty International was currently supporting.  A Russian feminist rock band named Pussy Riot performed a punk prayer inside a church saying that President Vladimir Putin should be removed from office.  3 of the band Pussy Riot were arrested and are awaiting sentencing soon.  This has brought on international support from such celebrities like Madonna and Stephen Fry. 

If their name was something normal, I don’t think I would have remembered their name.  Plus, I felt that the band had balls for doing something political in a church.  Girl power!  At one point, we were asked to stand up for a video being made. 

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We had to scream FREE PUSSY RIOT!! and asked to throw our fists in the air.  I did so and even pulled a mean face.  The sentencing was for ‘hooliganism’ (seriously, they were charged for this!! I didn’t know people got charged for that! Haha.. just sounds so funny). They have now unfortunately, been  sentenced to 2 years in prison.  Quite harsh!

Credits: Hannibal Buress photo

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Back to Dubrovnik

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9 am on August 14, 2012. 

We walked into the Old Town.  I went to check out the shoe store Borovo.  If you remember from yesterday’s post, I was trying to find a certain shoe.  There were many styles of the shoe like orange stars, blue stripes and black & pink lace.  Unfortunately since I have such small feet, they only had a few different styles in my size.  The only one that fit was the ugly navy one.  I wear a 5 1/2 in USA and I think the shoe runs small because I wear a 35 not a 35.5 for Europe sizes.  There’s a store in Dubrovnik and we’ll see if they have my size there.

Ivan grabbed some tuna sandwiches and water and then we got on the bus at 10:30 am.

The bus was headed to Dubrovnik from Split, Croatia.  We went through Immigration through Bosnia and then we went back into Croatia.  About an hour away from our destination, the bus stopped for a 20 minute break.  Very strange.. you’d think they would have stopped earlier in the trip. It hardly seemed worth stopping when we were so closed to Dubrovnik.

The bus arrived at 2:20 pm. Right on schedule…which was nice because we were anticipating some epic 6-7 hour journey with traffic, multiple stops and a very hot bus – like other journeys we had been having! But no..everything went to plan!

Into a taxi we went to the hostel. 

Ivan checked us in to Villa Divine which isn’t in the Old Town.. a 15 minute taxi drive there or a 45 minute walk.  So really bad location – but they were very friendly and the common room had a balcony with a divine view of the port and the mountains….however location counts a lot for us, so this place gets a thumbs down from us…but it was only for one night so no big deal.

Later, we started walking towards the Old Town.  Earlier it was overcast, but now the clouds had disappeared and it was really hot out.  The walk was hilly and tiring.  It was one of those walks that sounds like a good idea before you start it –but then half way through you start to have second thoughts! Ivan flagged down a taxi and we went the rest of the way to the old town.

We checked out the gelato shops.. but most wouldn’t let you try it.  Finally, we found one that let you try it.  Why not let people try it… it helps people decide if they like it or not.  Although, they might not like it, but if it’s good quality gelato or ice cream.. they will buy it.  Ivan and I each got a yogurt and cherries gelato while Lil Dave got banana.  The gelato was good, but the Kiwi place in Korcula had the best gelato.

We then headed to the meting point for the ‘Walls and Wars’ tour. You see, Dubrovnik is surrounded by these old city walls which circle the entire city and are about 1.5 miles long. You can just walk around the walls by yourself, but we figured it might be a bit more interesting to have a guide so we at least know what we are looking at.

The guide was this friendly chap called Marko who had watched way too much American tv and movies (he looked and sounded like he was really trying to imitate an American ‘dude’, even though he was 100% Croatian who was born and raised in the old town of Dubrovnik.

He took us up onto the walls and he immediately started giving us lots of interesting tidbits about the city, the walls, and all the wars.

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He was quite interesting to listen to, and the views we got were amazing.

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It was, however, very, very tiring. By the end of the walk we could barely stand, so we plonked ourselves down in the D’Vino wine bar  and did what we did last time we were in there – ie not get any of their lovely looking cheese and tasty wine – but just get two espresso’s instead!

Once we were caffeined up, we headed up the steps to the table we had made a reservation for at the Nishta vegetarian restaurant. This was where we ate last time we were in Edinburgh and it was so good last time, we figured it needed a repeat visit.

We got a carrot/orange/ginger soup called sunrise which was AMAZING just as it was last time (we really need to get a recipe for a good vegan carrot soup – like this one was – we did actually ask them for the recipe, but they didn’t seem to keen on giving it out, and said it was just literally carrot, orange, and ginger and NOTHING else). Also got a dish called ‘Simplicity’ which was like its name – very simple!

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For mains got a bean ragout, and another dish whose name escapes me – both incredibly tasty. They were washed down with some ogranic blackberry wine and a pomegranate brandy. For desert we got a local dish made with figs and cream which was very very delicious.

We got a smiling stone with our bill.  I wish we got this last time.. it’s so cute! 

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It has a smiley face on it and on the back it says Hvala (Thank You in Croatian).

Afterwards, we were feeling tired so got a taxi back to the hostel.

 

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Bella Tapas

On August 5, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I packed everything up.  We went to eat lunch at a restaurant in the Old Town – not sure of the name.  Ivan and I shared a tomato vegetable soup, squid stew (was too good, but had a very strong squidy flavor) and mussels in a lovely tomato garlic sauce.  Lil Dave got a banana stew and a banana and crème soup. 

I went souvenir shopping around the Old Town.  We went to check out the bar called Cafe Bar Buza.  We saw a hole in the wall and there was the cool bar.  I noticed it during the kayaking trip. 

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It has a beautiful view of the sea.  The bar is nestled on the rocks and people jump from the cliffs into the water. 

We went back to the apartment and picked up our luggage.  We said good-bye to the nice lady.

Off into a taxi we went to the bus station.  The bus left at 3 pm from Dubrovnik headed to the island of Korčula, Croatia.  Ivan and I watched an episode of Episodes while Lil Dave took a monkey nap.

The bus stopped for a break at Restaurant Bella Vista which had a beautiful view.  The line for the girl’s toilet was super long.  Why does it take girls so long to use the toilet/  I take about 1 to 2 minutes to do my business while most girls take like 5 minutes or more.  I just don’t understand it – are they peeing REALLY slow or taking a big fat dump?  The break was 30 minutes which is longer than most bus breaks.

I worked on the blog.  The bus drove onto the ferry boat at 5:50 pm.  We sat down and enjoyed the breeze and the views. 

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We arrived after 6 pm.  There was a lady holding a sign for Hotel Marijana (pronounced almost like Mariana).  Marijana is similar to marijuana without the u.. do think that’s why Ivan booked it?!

We followed Marijana to the hotel and checked in.

The hotel is listed as having free wi-fi, but the internet only works in the courtyard and it’s the city’s free wi-fi which is available in a few places – only seems to work in certain spots of the courtyard as well.  A bit like false advertising to me.

After putting our backpacks down, we went to the sunset bar called Bar Massimo in the Zakerjan Tower.  It was packed with Aussies (Australians).  Ivan thought it was because the Sail Croatia boat stops here.  It was too crowded there to relax.. Ivan thought it best that we come back tomorrow.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I walked to the tapas restaurant U Maje i Tonke.  I saw a flyer at the hotel and thought it sounded good. 

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Ivan and I shared the little platter (which came with different things like onion marmalade, homemade goat cheese, chickpea with anchovies and aubergine spread ), aubergine rolls, tomato soup and smoked tuna.  Lil Dave got banana rolls, banana salad and chicken and banana pasta.  We had a fig liqueur with our meal.  The food was delicious.  I really liked the onion marmalade and the aubergine rolls. 

After dinner, we walked around and checked out the cool postcards.  We had yogurt and cherry ice cream at Kiwi.  It was delectable!

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We walked back and used the internet in the courtyard.

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Pub Kayaking

Ivan was already up on August 4, 2012 when I woke up at 11 am.  I woke up in the middle of night freezing since the air-conditioning was on high and very cold.  I tried to go back to sleep, but it took awhile for some reason.  I just kept tossing and turning.

Ivan bought bread and cheese for our breakfast.  I used the internet on Ivan’s laptop while he went to buy bus tickets for tomorrow’s journey.

We walked into the Old City for the kayaking trip with Adria Adventure.   Our guide was a Croatian girl.  She guided us around on the sea.  Ivan and were usually near the back since we were enjoying the beautiful views and weren’t in any particular rush.

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Ivan said I didn’t have to kayak since I wasn’t contributing much.  It was nice on the water since it wasn’t as warm with the sea breeze.  I can kayak but it does hurt my arms – so I let my strong husband do all the work. The rest of the group had to keep on stop and wait for us, but like I said before, we werent in any rush and neither should anyone else have been.

We stopped in the middle of the sea.  Our guide (forgot her name!) told us about the curse of the Lokram island

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Around 1023, a big fire erupted in the city of Dubrovnik.  The people in the city said they would build a monastery in the name of St. Benedict if the city was spared.  The fire was put out and the monastery was put out.  Later in the 14th century, a French army general wanted to monastery closed and the Benedectines were being driven out of the island.  The Benedict monks were very mad.  One night, the monks put on their hooded cloaks and they walked around the island with upturned wax candles which left a trail.  They went around the island three times and said “Whosoever claims Lokrum for his own personal pleasure shall be damned!”.  The monks left the island at dawn and never returned.  Many bad things have occurred to people who have owned the island like Captain Tomaševic, a wealthy man became bankrupt.  To this day, nobody is allowed to stay overnight on the island.  People who have done so have reported hearing crying and seeing ghosts.  Lil Dave said he’s heard of this island.  Crazy monkeys go party there after hours when all the people have gone. 

We passed by the nudist beach.. I was taking pictures.  This didn’t go well with the nude people.  One guy said No pictures.  I said “Catch me if you can”.  The guide said Alex!! (She was probably thinking Alex, put away your small wiener!)  Our guide said to me “Lady, you can’t take pictures”.  I thought it was funny.  If you don’t want people taking pictures of you.. don’t go nude!  I know it’s immature, but it’s still funny.  Nobody in our group thought it was funny as all of them seemed really boring. Ivan said to the guide ‘Its okay we are not taking pictures….we are taking video!!’. It was a joke of course, but the guide thought I was serious and didn’t really see the funny side of it.

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The views of the scenery around us was beautiful.

We stopped at a cave for lunch and swimming.

Then, we headed back.  It was a lovely day for kayaking.  I really enjoyed it.  I’m drawn to water for some reason (maybe because I’m a Pisces or maybe I just like water!).. I love kayaking and swimming.  It felt lovely and peaceful out there.

I wasn’t feeling so well probably from being seasick.  It was time to chill back at the place.

Dinner was at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant called Nishta.   There was also a raw menu.  Ivan and I started off with carmelized tofu and pinaepple skewers and a lovely sunrise soup.  Lil Dave started off with a banana and cherry skewers with a cream sauce.  Ivan and I then got a wonderful Indiastic which comes with dahl, palak paneer, vegetable curry with naan bread and rice. 

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Lil Dave got a banana burrito with a great sour cream and green sauce.  For dessert, Ivan and I shared a brownie with raw ice cream.  It turned out to be a lovely meal.

Later that night, we walked around the cool Old Town checking out the souvenir stalls and shops.  Dubrovnik has great postcards and souvenirs.  We finally found rakia in glass bottles as souvenirs here! 

It was time for the Tower Pub Crawl.  The group consisted of 30 people – a big mix of people like French, South African, Americans, Australians and Italians.  The first bar was a cool beach bar called Lazareti.  It was outside with a DJ playing and you could go on the rocky beach.  

One of the pub crawl guides was an American guy from Seattle.  said hello in the street to an English guy.  The English guy was recently on the Tower Pub Crawl and he stole a Croatian flag whilst drunk.  It turned out badly with him getting beaten up by the locals and going to jail. 

The first hour was free beer, wine or shots (half juice and half vodka).  Ivan and I had some wine and a juice shot.

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It was a fun night with the French guys mimicking Batman characters to me (since one had a Batman shirt) with me laughing coz I had no clue what they were saying.  It was English, but I’m not sure WHO they were actually portraying.  I said Say it in French since in my drunken state I thought it would be EVEN funnier – but sadly they didn’t do it.  I remember telling the French guy in the blue Superman shirt about kryptonite. I told him why did the bad guys never kill Superman with  kryptonite.  I said they KNEW where to find it.. somebody must have been controlling it… I said they kept him around because he is so cute (since I thought the French guy was cute) and then I would pinch his cheeks. I think I was one of the oldest at the pub crawl, but seemed to be having the most fun. 

In the second bar Trocadero, there was a fight between a Croatian local and a tall South African guy.  For some reason, a small English guy tried to break it up.  He was really small – he shouldn’t be trying to break up fights, he could get hurt.  The fight happened right in front of my face.  I saw the local guy hit the South African guy. Thank goodness Ivan was there because he pulled me back right after that.  I’ve never seen a fight that close before!!  It was scary, but I wanted to know what the fight was about.  The local got thrown out, but the South African guy stayed.

The pub crawl usually goes to Revelin but it was a big night with Fedde Le Grand so we didn’t end up going there.

We heard a couple stories about why the fight occurred.  The local didn’t like the pub crawl and I guess the South African guy was saying something bad to the local guy.  The local guy called his friend and then that guy hit the South African guy.  I think that was it!

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The last bar was called Mirage where we danced for awhile.  It was a fun night, not the best pub crawl we’ve been on though.  The bars weren’t the best, but it was an interesting night with the fight and me being silly with everybody. 

Ivan and I wanted something to eat.  We found a place nearby that sold vegetable flat pizzas – we bought two and headed back to the apartment.

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Nova Postcard

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:30 am on August 3, 2012. 

We checked out of Vila Panonija. 

Lunch was at Caffe Che Nova? 

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It was great eating lunch in a such a lovely setting.  Lil Dave had banana pasta. 

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Ivan and I shared a delicious prawn & tomato stuffed squid and an average salmon risotto.

Our backpacks were left at storage at the hotel – so we picked them up and headed to Old Town.

I put a few postcards in the post box.

It was almost time to leave, so we walked to the bus station.  Everything seems so much farther when you have heavy backpacks on and you’re walking in the hot sun. But we don’t mind too much, as we think of the extra weight as ‘exercise’!

Sometimes you’re not assigned as seat as this was the case.  Ivan put our big backpacks in storage while I grabbed good seats.  We got lucky with a table all to ourselves.  Lil Dave was happy since he got his own window seat!

The bus arrived at the Montenegran Immigration at 4:20 pm.  The bus went into the bus lane and it took 30 minutes.  Ivan and I forgot again about the next Immigration for the Croatian side.  There was a really long line.  We were done there around 5:40 pm.  Thank goodness the bus was air-conditioned and we had cold water – otherwise the wait would have been a bit unbearable.

We arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia at 6:30 pm and got a taxi to the Old Town.

The place we stayed at was called Dubrovnik Rooms Seka.  It’s run by a friendly red-headed Croatian lady. 

She asked for our passports and said did we want alcohol or coffee.  Ivan asked what the alcohol was and she said rakia.  I said we love rakia.  It was a lovely homemade (made by her!) rakia welcome shot.  She did a shot as well – not as big as the ones she poured out for us.  She didn’t speak much English, but she was super friendly.

Unfortunately, there was no free wi-fi like as it was advertised…..but it had a lovely view and was so close to the Old Town. The picture below was of the view from our window.

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We had dinner at a restaurant called Café Dubravka 1836.  We had a nice view of the castle walls.  Lil Dave got a banana soup and a banana lasagna.  Ivan and I shared a fish soup, tuna pizza and mussels in red sauce.  The fish soup was quite plain and tasted more like a boring chicken noodle soup.  The tuna pizza was very good.

We walked around the Old Town which has cobblestone streets.  Its truly a really magical place to walk around. I like all the cool souvenir shops and the restaurants playing music. 

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Dubrovnik is a lovely place especially at night.  I like the buildings with the green shutters.

Ivan thought we go check out D’Vino wine bar. 

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Ivan and I wanted to get the cheese platter, but we were stuffed from dinner.  Maybe next time.  We each got an espresso and chilled out.

It was great to check out the very cool postcards and the souvenirs in the shops.  I bought a bunch of postcards and we headed back to apartment at 11 pm.

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