In the summer of 2010, my brother and I slowly made our way through Zagreb and the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. We were welcomed down this stretch of the Adriatic Sea on a megabus of style and comfort. Throughout its spaciousness however, we did encounter jerking and swerving from the driver and his buddies as they literally lost control of the bus several times as they cat called to almost every woman in sight. It must have been a full moon that night.
After a few hours bus ride, we arrived in the beautiful port city of Dubrovnik. You can't really get a nicer harbor than that ;)
Instead of our normal go-to hostel experience cram packed with lots of obnoxious beer-smelling lowlifes, we decided to go with something more interesting: a family apartment guest bedroom. How pleasant, we thought. To this day I still don't remember exactly how we found it. Let's just say it had lasting memories.
First impression: Croatia is the hottest country on earth. We arrived at the water, near the port. and then looked straight up to the mountain. Our apartment and living situation was at the top, directly underneath the suns magnified beam. We hauled our bags, as we often did, in dripping fashion. After a few different knocks and grumbles, we were warmly greeted by the correct family. We stepped in, overjoyed to hear the fans clanking noises and accompanied breeze. The apartment seemed normal, satisfactory, bathroom was trashed, but there were fresh sheets right? Some people just like to have open ended tubes going every direction in the bathroom. Some people just like it that way.
We cooled off for an hour. Saw the periphery of the apartment, the living room and all manner of things which we would interact with. We were offered 'carrot drinks' from the mother of the house. My brother and I looked at each other, absolutely worried. Don't get me wrong, we were pretty open to trying all kinds of things after eating the cuisine in Budapest and Prague (I don't think any food or drink deviated from the color yellow or brown) but these drinks were special. A home recipe gone mad. These were thick orange drinks, something you would have to continue crunching as you pretended to slurp it down. We each touched our tongues to the newly transformed carrots, and let out a sigh showing our weakness and travel weary selves, some-what true and not totally ill-natured.
We then went into the city. The marble, shiny city. The ground so old and walked over, it was now slippery. UNESCO added this place to the list a long time ago. This place felt cozy, probably because of its special location as a port city throughout the centuries. The old quarter is even still surrounded by four meter thick stone walls that were used to ward off looters and invasions back then. It is considered one of the best preserved old-quarter cities left in Europe, and holds the world's oldest arboretum as well as the oldest pharmacy still in operation today. Check it out!
While the city was hot, the food expensive and our apartments kitchen filled with rotting meat and a plunger in the sink - the marble was great, the gelato even better - and the apartments owner had played in the World Cup. We watched a few games with him while we were there.. Being in the city was an enjoyable experience just for the feeling it gave us. The city was picturesque, coordinated, old, smooth, deeply relaxing, and full of pizza shops. Definitely a unique place.