After a restful first night at the luxurious Bellevue Dubrovnik, I got going with a 5000 step early morning walk. After all, I had steps to make up from the travel day sitting on planes. A comfy 84 degrees of Mediterranean weather made this ever more enjoyable as did the spectacular scenery along the rugged coast.
A peaceful breakfast with good coffee did the rest to prepare me for a day of adventure. Our plan was to learn more about this strategic fortified town formerly know as the Republic of Ragusa that had played a key role in global trade during the 13th to 18th centuries.
The smart citizens of this area introduced the notion of a “quarantine” to preserve their health when the trading vessels brought sick sailors into port. We learned that the word is derived from the Italian number 40 or quaranta – they implemented a 40 day isolation program in a prison-like building as early as the 14th century. It was enlightening to hear about it and stand in that very spot today. Truth is, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Just add schnapps!
Entirely surrounded by ramparts, Dubrovnik is a masterpiece of architecture and history not to be missed. The town earned its reputation and wealth over 3 centuries from trading with merchant ships passing to/from Venice to the Orient until the pattern shifted toward the new world and the Atlantic. Clever inventions protected it and made it more livable better than any other city I know. It is truly a magical experience and it is befitting that it was used as the backdrop to the series “Game of Thrones.”
Before the pandemia, a mob scene of tens of thousand of cruise ship guests and other tourists would await everywhere. Not so for now, as you can see the streets and squares are bustling but in a manageable way. My tip to a to anyone I thinking about a visit, do it now. Both Inited and Delta Airlines share starting non-stop service from the East Coast to the Perl of the Adriatic as Dubrovnik is lovingly called by locals.
Guided through the streets by our local expert Ana, we visited the Rector’s Palace where the mayor of town resided in what was the first term limited officer in history. The townspeople decided that this role would rotate every month so that no one could abuse the office with nepotism and corruption.
City walk completed, we embarked on a private yacht called the Prestige 460 for its 46foot length to the lovely island of Lokrum for great views of the old town and to enjoy a picnic amid olive trees.
My fellow travelers and I were treated to a picnic lunch by Piknik Dubrovnik which is organized a stellar gourmet experience for us with local delicacies artfully arranged under an olive grove complete with peacocks and local wines. This personal touch is one of the elements a travel advisor will arrange for guests to enhance any trip. Among the services offered by this local outfit is a dinner for two up in the hills above the city for sunset. Sign me up!
Stay tuned for more discoveries as the days go on.