When pulling into a port, it's always fun to watch the process, as professor Steve Breese finds. This is true even in a very quiet, calm, small port such as Dubrovnik. This is the first port city we've visited with a population under a million (and the first one with a decreasing population, too)! Gary's book says 49,000 but our tour guide said recent figures are 47,000.
We found the surroundings to be quite attractive, green, and resort-like, in contrast to the industrial nature of most of the dock areas we've experienced. Everyone's mouths dropped open as they looked at the view toward the southwest.
Pivoting just a few degrees toward the northwest is another gorgeous view.
This is the first port that docked in a quiet, picturesque place. Hong Kong was as picturesque, but certainly not quiet. Here is the docked ship as we took the long, long walk to the gate to get some money and buy some lunch rather than eat free on the ship. We did find two types of cheese and some wonderful Italian bread (9.3 on my 10-point scale), then we ordered drinks and ate the bread at a table of a tavern! Actually, I did get a small plate of excellent (and free!) stew back on the ship to complete the meal.
Troy Smith, Christy, Caitlin Harris, and Genevive LeBaron pose in front of the ship. This was a Kodak Moment, as just about everyone burned up a little film in this beautiful area.
Lauren suggested this pose, which worked for Pyramids, too!
One of our first "duties" was to take a tour which included a stop at a panoramic spot over Dubrovnik. This is what we saw from that panoramic spot.
It's always nice to get people in the shots, too! Here are Christy, Elizabeth, Lauren, and Carole posing at the panoramic spot.
What was the tour we were on, you ask? Well, it was a 1.5 hour walk around the Old Town of Dubrovnik. That 1.5 hour stretch is not on land, but up on a fairly high wall that protected the residents of the 13th century from attacks (built in 1272).
Along the way were houses, shops, steeples, and more.
At every twist and turn, a novel view blended with interesting shapes and features of the wall, sky, and sea, and even live creatures joined us from time to time.
Around to the southern side, there was a harbor that had the appearance of a country club.
A great ending to a great tour. OK, so I have a page now that holds the rainbows and sunsets shots. So why do I include this one here? Because it's a shot of part of Dubrovnik, and it seemed to fit here. To cover all bases, I've also placed the same shot in the rainbows and sunsets page!
Another day another tour! This one was a visit to Medugorje, organized at the last minute, which is actually in Bosnia. We drove northwest up the coast of Croatia, seeing breathtaking, blue, beautiful scenery all around. This is a retouched photo (I removed the rear view mirror from the top left) taken from the second row of seats on the bus, and, shows the second of three buses in our group in front of us. Looking around made it obvious why Peter Polak told me that Dubrovnik was the "jewel of the Adriatic Sea," and obvious why Dubrovnik is known as the vacation spot in Eastern Europe.
It was interesting that Croatia is in two pieces, and that the most direct route dictated that we drive out of Croatia into Bosnia, along the coast, then back into Croatia, and then we headed east into Bosnia once again. It makes perfect sense when looking at a map. Incidentally, this shot of a sign pointing to Sarajevo (still about 75 miles away) was taken about halfway (from a speeding bus, of course!) to Medugorje. We didn't visit Sarajevo, but it sure was strange to see a road sign for it!
When we drove through Bosnia, we saw more than a few buildings that were bombed in the 1991 conflict, and not yet repaired. As usual, I had to take pictures from the speeding bus.
When we reached Medugorje, which is where millions converge from all around the world in the summer, we attended mass at "the" church in that area--St. James. The bus guide told us that 300,000 people each day move through here during the summer.
While the rest of the family shopped (no, they were not at an orphanage), I backed up a long way and zoomed in so that the mountains could show in the background.
This location is world famous among Catholics, though the Vatican has neither affirmed nor refuted the story of Medugorje: On June 24, 1981, a group of children who were tending sheep saw and heard the Blessed Virgin Mary in a cloud, and to this day the apparition is said to repeat on the same hill on many occasions in the early evening (about 5:45). Unfortunately, we were there near noon. Anyway, here was the sign pointing up the hill.
We climbed the hill, which was extremely tricky because of jagged rocks all around and along the path.
This shot was taken at the site of the original apparition. Nobody realized that a miracle did happen to us--all 49 of us on the bus managed the rocky crags without falling.
We spent about 15 minutes at the top of the hill in nearly total silence as some prayed quietly. Only occasional camera shutters, motorized film advances, and whispers broke the silence.
I was struck by the scene of Kelly Metzger (left) and Miranda Nighbor (right) during this silent period.
Coming back down, we had an appreciation for the scenery. The snow-capped mountains looked majestic in the background.
Because our early morning breakfast was well-burned by our bodies by the time we climbed back down, we went to the small "N.N. Pizzeria" recommended by our tour guide. Christy and Lauren were ready for pizza. Note: the close proximity of Italy has bestowed a great deal of influence on the food here, and pizza is everywhere.
We ordered various personal (picollo)-sized pizzas. Christy's Hawaiian Pizza included pineapple and -- believe it or not -- kiwi fruit! Here's the proof!
On our last day in Dubrovnik, we took the long walk for nearly the last time from the ship to the gate. Looking back, I could swear that the distance was even greater than it was on the first day. This was one loooong stroll--that white object centered below the group of clouds was our ship! All I can say is: No shuttle bus! Sore legs!
On our last day, the two families (except Christy) hired a boat from the guy on the left to go about 2 miles across to an uninhabited island called Lokrum. The guy took us over there alone, but picked us up with a friend, who might have been a collection agent if we were not going to pay the asked price (300 Kuna)!
On the way, Lauren asked to take some video and got her mom & dad riding in the back of the boat. (Photo by Lauren)
When we arrived in Lokrum, we sat on a rock and had a bread, cheese, and paprika potato chip picnic.
The kids sat under a fig tree far away and had their own private picnic.
We had a great view of the Adriatic Sea, spanning between Italy on the west and Bosnia, Croatia, and Greece on the east. The sea is a bit hard to see because the camera was pointing toward the sun. But this is our view from our picnic rock.
On our way back through the Old City of Dubrovnik (the Walled City shown above), I ran into this gang of Semester at Sea students enjoying some coffee. From left to right are Joyce Binham, Kelly Moline, Carrie Beauvais, Chrissy DiPaolo, and Amanda Goodman. Notice the shine on the marble street! This quaint area was a lot of fun to wander.
Did I say too many times that Dubrovnik is picturesque? This is where the ship was docked. See the home page for a panoramic view and click on that shot for an explanation of my trek alone to the Lapad area for the photos of the ship.
During the last hours of our stay in Dubrovnik, we went to the Postar restaurant near the ship, only to find Semester at Sea people streaming in to fill nearly every table. Here are two of my students, Galen Hollins (who reminds us very much of Andrew Crawford) and Minh-Chao Nguyen.
The restaurants served excellent food, but nearly every one we visited seemed to have the same dishes! We always saw spaghetti in two versions: milanese (with ham and tomato sauce) and bolognese (with hamburger sauce, no tomato sauce); pizza in a cheese-only and one other version, calamari (squid) with rice, sometimes black and sometimes with tomato sauce, and this dish, my favorite of all. This is octopus salad, which included chunks of octopus and onion, and seasoned with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, parsley, and lemon. Christy was surprised that she liked it!
After our dinner, we took the long twilight walk back from the ship. Croatia is one of many places I'd certainly like to come back and visit sometime!

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Photos copyright 1999, Dennis F. Galletta