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4:43pm on Friday, 7th September, 2012:



Day four of our cruise sees us in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.It has a wonderfully-preserved, traffic-free medieval old town, surrounded by walls. The main street, which has marble paving, looks like this:

Leastwise, it does at 9am; at 3pm you can't see the marble paving for the tourists. The side streets look like this:

I'd seen pictures of Dubrovnik before — indeed, Dubrovnik is one of the main reasons we chose this cruise. However, it hadn't registered with me that it was built on hills. Fortunately, it hadn't registered with my wife, either, as she's not a fan of large numbers of steps and may have wielded her veto...

You see that tall clock tower back there in the first picture? No, we didn't climb it, but you can see it about a quarter of the way along and a third of the way up this view of the town I took from the cable car ride up the adjacent mountain:

Heights, you've got to love them.

At the top of the cable car ride is this radio mast:

Nice they found a use for those old Communist-era rockets.

This chap seems quite surprised to be in possession of a sword:

It's as if he expects that tourists ought to have stolen it by now.

Although old Dubrovnik is picture postcard pretty, it's a living town (in that people live in it, it's not all souvenir stalls). We saw quite a few cats there, too, most of which seemed to have owners. Here's one hiding from the sun in a drain:

I suppose it could be waiting for a mouse to run past in the drainage channel in front of it.

Away from the main streets, you come across emptier areas where the locals have their houses:

There seems to be a fashion for hanging washing outside windows to dry.

In Salzburg, where we went last year, the shops in the old town had ornate signs hanging outside them. In Dubrovnik, they have lanterns:

They're all a standard size, with only the designs on the glass changing. Somewhere, there must be a small workshop churning them out.

As my younger daughter wants to be a pharmicist, we decided to visit the world's third-oldest pharmacy, which is in Dubrovnik. No, I don't know where the world's older two pharmacists are. I was aware that Dubrovnik's pharmacy was in a monastery so I looked at the map and immediately saw the Dominican Monastery near the clock tower. Here are the cloisters:

Here are the cloisters of the Franciscan monastery at the other end of town, where the phramacy is actually located:

It seems Dubrovnik has two working monasteries; who knew?

The town walls are sufficiently complete that you can walk all the way round them, so we did. They're quite impressive in places:

The locals, too, are quite impressive:

Here's a close-up of that speck in the middle there:

You're in danger of losing your trunks there, mate...

Although space within the wall is so limited that in places you find extensions built on top of houses built on top of houses, there are a few ruins here and there:

Of course, sometimes even when you try to squeeze as much space as you can out of what you've got, it still isn't quite enough:

Most of the views you get of Dubrovnik from the walls are of rooftops, so they all look the same. Here's a representative example:

That one's for you, terracotta fans.

This mannequin doesn't look all that pleased with what she's been asked to wear:

That small print in the modelling contract gets them every time.

So that's Dubrovnik! Now to see if I can upload this is the few minutes I have left over after my daughter paid to use the Internet to check her email.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).