Home > Croatia, Europe, Uncategorized > July 16-30, 2009 DUBROVNIK

July 16-30, 2009 DUBROVNIK

Dubrovnilk

Dubrovnilk

 After a good night’s sleep to recover from our passage from Otranto, we were up early to see Dubrovnik.  There are always a few boat chores to take care of first—Kent washed the boat, and Carol washed Jolie (she gets very salty on these overnight passages).

Since Croatia is not yet part of the EU, we disposed of all our Euros paying fees entering the country (apparently the government likes Euros if merchants don’t) and an ATM to get kunas—the local currency—was next on our to do list.  It takes a while to get used to kunas because the denominations are huge.  For example, 100 kuna is the equivalent of approximately $20 and ATM’s give you standard denominations of 100 and 200 kuna. 

After the ATM we hit the marina grocery store to provision and were pleased to find a fairly good selection of food, including fresh meat, although the favorite foods we enjoyed in Italy were no where to be found.  Croatia is a big producer of wine and olive oil, like Italy, but we haven’t found the quality to be quite up to par.  The labels are all in Croatian and many times, it requires “reading” the picture on the package to determine what you are buying.  And the prices in kuna produce sticker shock until you divide by 5 and find that the can of whatever that is priced at 20 kuna really costs $4.  Overall, the food is expensive.

Next business was getting our local SIM card for cellular service and checking out the availability of wireless internet.  We had gotten very spoiled with excellent service for both in Italy and were wary that Croatia could provide the same.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that we could.  We have a T-Mobile cell no. and a VIP (local government run service) for internet and both proved to be very good after the first few glitches getting it set up.  But since everyone speaks fluent English even the problems were quickly resolved.

On July 17th we celebrated Jolie’s 10th birthday with dinner aboard Destiny with our friends John & Cyndi Martin from Glass Slipper and Jorge and Isabel Zlatar from Excalibur.   We met on the Caribbean 1500 and shipped our boats on the same ship from St. Thomas to Genoa.

John & Cyndi

John & Cyndi

 

Jorge & Isabel

Jorge & Isabel

 

We made a quick tour of Dubrovnik, expecting that we would leave in a day or two and took in some of the major sights.

Pile Gate

Pile Gate

Stradun (Placa)

Stradun (Placa)

Fountain of Onofrio

Fountain of Onofrio

We planned to leave the marina on July 18th for a nearby island—the daily rate of 85 Euros (about $112) was a budget buster, but the weather forecast was for strong winds overnight and we delayed.  The weather forecasting in Croatia proved to be no better than in Italy and the strong winds never materialized although a cold front passed leaving bright blue, cloudless skies the following morning and we were ready to head off.

Destiny Med Moored & Ready for Departure

Destiny Med Moored & Ready for Departure

In typical Med mooring fashion we were tied with our stern to the dock and tailed lines from the dock to underwater moorings secure the bow of the boat away from the dock.  The tailed lines are supposed to sink as you motor away—in theory a good system– in practice a nightmare if you have a rudder like ours that wants to suck in anything that comes near it.  Kent released the tailed line, took the wheel and we attempted to motor away in some fairly strong breeze, the transmission suddenly stopped working and we were drifting down on the boat next to us with no power.  Carol fended off and another boater came to help us get secured to the dock.

The tailed line was wrapped around our prop and worst of all (in a repeat of our experience in St. Bart in January), the transmission adaptor plate had fractured.  We were not going anywhere soon.

Long story short, there were several things that contributed to the breakdown and we were lucky in a way that the prop wrapped when and where it did, as it precipitated the breakdown earlier than it might have occurred and we were in a good location to deal with it.  Kent also determined that the noise we had heard motoring from Otranto was coming from a bearing in the drive shaft which also needed to be replaced.

Will spare you the difficulties of ordering and shipping parts to Croatia, except to say that the shipping cost about the same as the cost of parts, and kept us in the marina for fifteen extra days at a cost that was double that of the shipping and parts.  We’re talking three “boat units”—(boat=”bring out another thousand”)–2/3 of which was dockage.

So here we are in Dubrovnik waiting—not too patiently for the part and doing boat chores.  Kent used some of the time to design and have made a sun cover for the boat that keeps us at least 10 degrees cooler in this hot sun.  Destiny hasn’t been cleaner since we left Marblehead—clean dodger, clean bimini and clean interior cushion covers.  Kent did some varnishing and Carol worked on updating the blog.

Destiny Sun Cover

Destiny Sun Cover

More Boat Chores

More Boat Chores

 We also made several trips into Dubrovnik and attended a chamber choir concert in the courtyard of the Rector’s Palace, part of the summer festival.   There were also more informal musical presentations as part of the festival including a classical group that used an assortment of bottles to make the the most amazing music.   

Chamber Music from Bottles

Chamber Music from Bottles

We walked the wall at sunset (a distance of about a mile with many steps) and enjoyed several nice meals at outdoor restaurants.

Dubrovnilk Restaurants

Dubrovnilk Restaurants

Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities we have seen on our travels.  The architecture is very homogenous and everything is clean and very well maintained.  It is shocking to think that in the early 1990’s it was devastated during the Serbian-Croatian War.  At the Pile Gate, the entrance to the city, there is a large map that shows the areas of destruction during the war.  In fact, throughout Croatia there are many reminders of the war including buildings with bullet strafing, monuments honoring those who died and museums that document the horror of the war.

Bullet Damage to Church

Bullet Damage to Church

Since we were in Dubrovnik on two Sundays, we attended two different churchs.  The first was directly across the river from the marina and we went by dinghy.  The entire mass was in Croatian, but the church and choir music transcended the language issue.  Most surprising to us was that the little church was filled to the rafters, with people actually standing and nearly half of them were young people—teenagers or 20 somethings.  

 

Church across from Marina

Church across from Marina

The following Sunday we attended a Franciscan Cathedral in the old city for an English service conducted by a visiting Irish priest.  When they called for volunteers to do a reading, not being bashful and a former deacon, Kent once again stepped forward.  After the service we were invited to view some of the church’s relics kept in a private area and to visit with the priest.  We find that visiting local churches for Sunday Mass (we are in predominantly Catholic countries) is a pleasant experience.

Our forced stay gave us an opportunity to explore Dubrovnik in more depth than we might otherwise and that was a plus.  We spent one early evening walking the fortified City Walls which surround the City of Dubrovnik.

Onofrio Fountain from City Wall

Onofrio Fountain from City Wall

Lounging on City Wall

Lounging on City Wall

View from City Wall

View from City Wall

Inner Harbor from City Wall

Inner Harbor from City Wall

No cars are allowed in the walled city, except for small motorized delivery vehicles.  The main street of the City is wide boulevard of marble called the Stradun.  There are a multitude of fountains that date from the 1400’s and the City itself dates back to 7th Century.  Until the 11th Century Dubrovnik was an island, subsequently joined to the mainland. 

At night the city comes alive with young people on their way to restaurants and clubs.  We generally dined at 8-8:30 and invariably there would be people waiting for tables when we left at 10 p.m.  The scanty clothing and extreme high heels on the young women made for interesting people watching, especially as they negotiated the slippery marble streets.  During the day the dress code is very casual–most everyone appears to be wearing a bathing suit with some flimsy coverup.  Bare chested men are not uncommon even in the city. 

Stradun at Night

Stradun at Night

Our parts finally arrived on 12:30 p.m. on July 29th and by 7:00 p.m. Kent had successfully installed them and we were ready to leave Dubrovnik.  There is little question that if Kent was not able to replace a transmission without assistance from the marina service department that we would have been another several days at the dock.  Our adventure is made possible by his mechanical skills, which never cease to amaze.  We had dinner ashore at a little restaurant on the river to celebrate.

River Sunset from Restaurant

River Sunset from Restaurant

We left Dubrovnik Marina on the morning of July 30th, a little poorer but enriched by the time spent in Dubrovnik.  From here we head for the islands–there are literally thousands–off the Croatia coast.

We're off to the Islands--finally!

We're off to the Islands--finally!

More to follow.

Carol, Kent & Jolie
S/V Destiny from Dubrovnik

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