Being located in Montenegro now not only gives me the opportunity to get to know incredibly breathtaking views, stunning scenery and lovely little walled cities, but also the ability to catch a glimpse of the beauty to be found in neighbouring countries. So hurray hurray, Dubrovnik is just a two and a half hour drive away and I’m treated on a bunch of mouthwatering views while trying to get there. A little “King’s Landing” besides crystal clear blue waters transports you back into times long gone. – For the Game of Thrones fans between us. Indeed, Dubrovnik feels like walking around in Westeros, oh and wait a minute…yes, it’s one of the main film locations. – Terracotta-red splotches on top of creamy coloured stones. A look and feel that could be Italian, but clearly isn’t.
On my way to this so called ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, the road leads me to the famous Bay of Kotor, the Mediterranean fjord topping everyone’s ‘not-to-miss’-list in Montenegro. Crossing the bay on a ferry provides picture perfect views and a short break to enjoy the sun, sea and excellent surroundings while the wind is playing hide and seek with your hair. Roads and curves changing from greenery and rocks to tiny coastal village after village, trying to outweigh each other in being the most picturesque of all. Until you reach Dubrovnik, being the biggest and the fairest of them all. It feels a bit like stepping into a fairytale anyway, if you leave out the huge hordes of tourists flocking the city on hot summer days and the screaming advertising luring you into the more expensive eateries.
I must confess, I don’t really like huge tourist crowds. Dubrovnik might not be the best choice if you want to avoid being stuck in a small street, while five sweaty strangers stand skin to skin with you, waiting in line for a well deserved ice-cream on a hot summer day. Nevertheless, I was happy to visit it in low season, when you’re still able to roam deserted streets and discover the peace and quiet of tiny urban gardens. Even with too many people, the city stays beautiful, though a little bit overpriced. One of the nicest things to do in Dubrovnik is to take a walk on top of the old town walls, and so having a great view of the whole city, coastline and surrounding mountains. Popular, but pricey at the same time. Me and A., my colleague and compagnon during our expedition in Dubrovnik, decided to try and search our own picture perfect spots, trying to outsmart the overpriced walk on the walls. What we found, wasn’t what I expected in the first place, but we succeeded in finding the greatest view over the city without paying for it. One friendly local school teacher saw us struggling all the way up the stairs, heavy cameras around our necks, before he decided to show us the local playground. A modern basketball field, playing kids included, formed the decor of the picture perfect spot. One big open space, showing the panorama of the whole city. Together with an amazing contrast between old and new.
Our quest to find the prettiest, nicest and budget friendly places lead us to Mme Pipi. As a Belgian, I’m not shocked when I see statues of peeing people, so this quirky little bar left a huge smile on my face. – Sadly, the place wasn’t open yet. – Up to another bar, this time on the other side of the city, even at the other side of the thick old walls. Waves crashing down on rocks, wind providing a fresh breeze while sipping a cocktail, this place begs to stay undiscovered. Let’s try to keep it a secret.
One thing I can advise when visiting Dubrovnik, is go out exploring. In the corners, hidden out of sight, lay the nicest places. See the harbour, roam the streets, climb all the stairs. Look for tiny pieces of street art. Take heaps and heaps of pictures, and then a couple of more. Enjoy the sun on a terrace in one of the squares, eyes closed and just smiling. Eat ice cream on the stairs of one of the numerous churches. Dream away.