‘… chance favours only the prepared mind’
– Louis Pasteur


Croatia and Montenegro

1-5 July 2015

google map: recommended restaurants and other facilities in Dubrovnik.

Wednesday. 6:30am flight meant we leave home past 3am to catch the shuttle :0 Left Dubrovnik airport around 11am after getting bus tickets from the Atlas counter. The Atlas shuttle goes past the Dubrovnik old town, but we got off at Gruz port. It was my first time to see gigantic cruise ships in person (no wonder Dubrovnik gets flooded with tourists as several of these docks every day).

Took a taxi to the apartment we rented thru airbnb. And we were met warmly by our host. He gave us a tour around the place and let us settle down. He walked us to the Old town to show us the routes and left us at the fish restuarant, Lokanda Peskarija. Lunch was a potful of fish, mussels, prawns and octopus. Most of it was good, but the mussels were overly salted and the prawns not very fresh.

Old TownWe’ve walked around the old town for a bit, but it was really hot and humid and we were already quite sleepy as we started quite early. Walked back up to the apartment, stopped at the bikers cafe to rest and to get some groceries next door, walked up the stairs some more and 30mins later, we’re back at the apartment feeling quite exhausted (200 steps uphill). Napped and changed clothes. I booked us at Prora Beach restaurant as I was quite disappointed with lunch. Prora Beach Restaurant is part of Hotel Excelsior. At 7:30pm, it was still quite empty. but they only had a few tables to fill by the sea. Some customers dress up. I asked beforehand and there is no dress code, so we came in shorts and flipflops. View was amazing, food and wine were good, service was excellent. Mosquitoes were hovering just above us but they disappeared every now and then. Plenty of scented candles to keep them at bay. A cellist started playing which added to the atmosphere (not all good songs, but we enjoyed them nonetheless). An expensive place – we paid roughly what we would have paid for a 3 course meal in London (minus the view). Walked back up, and enjoyed the view from the apartment. Old town at night

Thursday. Apples, instant coffee and cakes for breakfast at the apartment and we walked down to Hilton Hotel to be picked up for our Montenegro tour. I’ve booked thru viator – a recent discovery from a friend. Normally, we’d be looking for a local travel agent if I don’t feel comfortable booking online.

We were picked up via shuttle from Dubrovnik Old Town and boarded the bus. Bus wasn’t full and tour was done in French and English. Most of the morning was spent picking up other passengers and going thru the borders – exiting Dubrovnik (passports were inspected) and entering Montenegro. The guide says there had been times that the border police had collected all passports and scanned them one by one, so we were quite lucky.

First pit stop was at a cafe, just 15 mins off the border. The staff at the empty cafe were a bit overwhelmed serving some 20 people at the same time.

We drove thru Herceg Novi around Kotor Bay and into the lovely village of Perast. Boarded a ferry here to go to the man-made island housing Our Lady of the Rocks. Story has it that the island sprouted because fishermen had been throwing rocks at the same spot for centuries after a young man was miraculously healed of an illness. It’s a beautiful spot.

We were then taken to Kotor where a local tour guide took us around the city, a city said to be one of the best-preserved medieval walled dwellings on the Adriatic. Lunch was at Dekaderon, just off the Katedrala Svetog Tripuna. We had a huge grilled sea bream and it was deboned on our table (the waiter was so focused on getting all the bones out, I was worried the sweat on his brows would fall off into our fish). We’ve spent free time walking around Kotor egging each other that we should walk up the church at the top – it is said walking up there will bring you good health (as all the unhealthy ones would die before getting there!). a side note: the women here are extremely fit and are clad in designer clothes and handbags. i wonder if they get fit by going up the steps all the time?

Kotor Video

From Kotor, the bus crossed the bay by ferry and headed back to Croatia.

Dinner was the well-recommended ice cream near Pile Gate. Walked thru the old town and back up to the apartment.

Friday. Our host says there was going to be 1 cruise ship in port today, so it would be a good time to go up the walls. Check cruise ship schedules here.

But first, breakfast at one of the cafes by the main street.

Old TownWe had smoothies at the south side of the wall before heading down. And then back up again to Srd Hill via the cable car. We went for drinks at the panorama restaurant and signed up for the off-road buggy safari. The circuit takes you down the other side of Srd Hill with views of the ‘real’ Dubronik (where most of the locals lived) and the remnants of war. The fall of Yugoslavia in the 1990s and the horrors of the siege is still very fresh in people’s minds.

We had lunch at the Panorama Restaurant and made our way down via the cable car.

Dinner was at the Horizont Restaurant by the steps near Ploce Gate. After dinner, we wandered around looking for the famous Buza bar – part of the fun was trying to find it as the place is never advertised and they have no signage. There are 2 Buza bars – the one we found was the one serving drinks in real glass (the other place only uses plastic cups). So how to get there? We came in from the east side of the wall and walked south past the main street and the rectory and the harbour. Keep going past the Konoba Amoret restaurant and up the steps from there. Walk following the wall until you see an opening with grafitti saying ‘No Nudists’. Music was loud, drinks were a bit expensive. The view was great and the moon was just rising on the left side. A few steps down, people can swim during the day, but nobody will stop you if you want to take a dip in the evening. And I heard that in the other Buza bar, people jump from the cliffs down into the water – we didn’t see any of that even when we were peering from up the walls earlier.

entrance to Buza Bar

moon rising over Buza Bar

Saturday. A filling breakfast first at Lajk Restaurant in the northern part of the Old town that we haven’t been to before. Ulica prijeko runs parallel to the main street, just up the steps – plenty of restaurant choices here.

Walked around for a bit to settle our stomachs and we went to the Old Town harbour to book a panorama boat tour that will take us around Dubrovnik and Lokrum. Lokrum is quite pretty with plenty of swimming spots. The other side of Lokrum is a naturist spot.

Lunch was at Lady Pipi, i think so named because of the statue of a peeing lady that adorns the front of the restaurant. Food was ok, but we had to queue for a while to get a seat.

We’ve had a look at the War Photo museum to know a bit more on the story behind the fall of Yugoslavia.

Pizza in the late afternoon and took the rest home for dinner.

Sunday. packed and a quick breakfast and we’re off for the airport.

…we’ll be back again. I just wished Lake Plitvice is not so far away