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A day in Kings Landing (Or for the non-nerds - Dubrovnik)

all seasons in one day 30 °C
View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

"Come with me and take this city!" - Stannis Baratheon

Foodie moment

As promised we headed back to our favourite place in Hvar for lunch before we caught the Catamaran off the island. This time we revisted an old favourite Pasticada Njok (Gnocchi with marinated beef) and Dalmation stuffed bread and Stuffed peppers. Not as amazing as the night before but still great, and the waitress was so happy to see us come back it was worth it for that!

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Mark's carnivore dreams were answered again with a meat plate ordered at the river front restaurant near our apartment

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The search for a cheap lunch led us to try a Croatian (well South Eastern European) speciality, Cevapi. It is minced pork and beef rolled into sausage shapes, and then served in a flatbread with salad and ajvar sauce (Capsicum and garlic relish). Not healthy exactly but tasty and cheap!!

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Cultural moment

Until now our bus travel experiences have been fairly painless, today was an exception. Our bus was over an hour late with nobody able (or wanting to) explain where it was, or when it was arriving. When it got there the driver had an impossibly slow process of putting the bags on while charging even more money for the bags than on previous journeys ( in Croatia the bus drivers charge you for each bag you put under the bus separate of ticket price. When people ask why they have to pay they always act like its not their decision but the money goes straight into their pockets!). Then when we finally got on the bus, everyone had ignored the seat numbers so instead of my seat near the front that i had asked for I was stuck down the back! The border checks on the buses are also ridiculous, as the Croatian police will get on at the border and take everyone's passports off to check (this takes at least 30 mins) and then the passports are handed back out to everyone on the bus (find yours in the pile, grab a couple of spares if you want!), then the bus drives for about 5 minutes and then the whole thing happens again, this time it is the Montenegrin border guards! The whole process adds at least an hour to the journey, and to add to the comfort factor the driver doesn't want to waste petrol so he turns off the engine and therefore the air conditioning!!

Wow moment

Stari Grad Dubrovnic really is as breathtaking as they say! The best view is from its walls, you can walk around the entire perimeter looking down on it from every angle. The cluster of red roofed houses clustered together on the edge of the bright blue ocean is an amazing contrast. On ground level the lane ways weave up and down the hills, and there are big open squares filled with restaurants. A really great thing is that the town is full of fountains where you can refill your water bottles... finally something for free in Croatia! There is still evidence of the seige on Dubrovnic in 1991, particularly as many of the UNESCO sites were particularly targeted by the Yugoslav people's army, but much of it has been restored. The hardest thing to deal with in Dubrovnik is the heat when walking around the walls (can take up to 2 hours and there is no shade or top up locations for our water bottle) and the HUGE amounts of crowds. It is a prime spot for cruise ships and when they come in the place fills to the brim. On a side point though, while we were there I spotted my old place of employment - The Disney Cruise lines - ahhh the memories!!

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For those fans of Game of Thrones they may know that Dubrovnik is Kings Landing in the show, it is fun hunting around for the places that filming has taken place in the city. One of the main places for filming is Fort of Saint Laurence which is just outside the Stari Grad walls. This is where scenes such as Joffery's name day tournament was filmed etc..

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Anyone who is really interested can go to this blog: http://ageekabroad.net/kings-landing-dubrovnik-game-of-thrones-filming-location/ and try to match them to our pictures, its kind of cool!

What we learnt today

Whilst in Dubrovnic we hired an audio tour which covered the old town, walking around the walls and information about the war of independence. Some parts that stood out are:

When the old town was first being built and fortified there was a rule that all people entering the city must bring a stone with them to contribute to the construction. This also had the added bonus of creating a sense of ownership within the residents.

The Croatians were the inventors of the idea of quarantine. The word comes from the Latin word Quaranta, which means 40. This is related to the fact that Dubrovnic had a practice of enforcing 40 day isolation of ships and people prior to entering the city. This was to contain the black death, and the practice was called quarantine.

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Dubrovnic at its peak was a town full of aristocrats with an interest in the finer things in life (perhaps similar to Game of Thrones!). Due to the strong trade opportunities it was a wealthy town, and the residents enjoyed this, but of course when something is so good other people want to be a part of it and Dubrovnik has faced many attacks on its independence through history.

Dubrovnik's old town was almost completely flattened during the War for Independence when Croatia attempted to break away from the struggling Yugoslavia. The siege on the town by the Serbian and Montenegrin troops lasted for seven months. The fact that Dubrovnic is separated by land from the rest of Croatia (there is a small piece of Bosnia which cuts through Croatia to the ocean) meant support was limited, and it was quite amazing that the small number of troops were able to hold Dubrovnic throughout the seige and come out successful.

Posted by travellinglise 08:36 Archived in Croatia Tagged dubrovnic game_of_thrones Comments (0)

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