Dubrovnik, Croatia and visiting a Croatian family

On December 12 our ship the Athena (we were on a Grand Circle Cruise of the Adriatic Sea) departed Hvar, Croatia, after a late dinner to Dubrovnik, anticipating a long, eight hour sail. Almost immediately we were into rough, then rocky seas. Turned in about 10:30, fearing seasickness, managed to avoid that malady, but we were still motoring along at 6 AM. Got into the newer Dubrovnik harbor about 7:45 AM. Breakfast, then a bus tour up to the old walled city of Dubrovnik at about 9 o’clock would follow.

Main entry in walled city of Dubrovnic, Croatia.

Dubrovnik was founded early in the seventh century, upon the fall of nearby Epidaurum during the Avaro – Slavic invasion. The town was originally protected by the Byzantine Empire, and during the Crusades came under the sovereignty of Venice. Then it became part of the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom. It reached its zenith as a free state in the 15th and 16th centuries, with a large merchant and warship fleet.

Inside Catholic monastery museum, note she'll hole on wall from long siege in 1991-92 war.

Dubrovnik grew to the largest and most prosperous of all ports on the Adriatic coast. Between the 12th and 17th centuries, it fortified it’s old city with the main wall 6400 feet long, almost as wide with parapets, towers, bastions and fortifications to protect itself from both sea and land invations.

It was absolutely stunning this day, with sunshine and temps about 65°. It’s an ancient city dating back several thousand years; inside the walls from 800 to 500 years of age. We toured a Roman Catholic monastery – one of their display rooms displayed a hole in the wall from the missile attack in 1991 when Yugoslavs, Serbians and Montenegrins attacked the old city.

On left, Darko, our wonderful GCT tour guide and Bestrice and her grandson Antonio, our dinner hosts for the night.

Home-hosted visit: tonight we bussed about 6 miles inland where we were hosted by Beatrice and her 16-year-old grandson, Antonio (home-hosted visits are a special feature of Grand Circle Cruises). The family resides in their home that was destroyed in the 1991 war and subsequently rebuilt. They have a separate smokehouse, large separate dining room for entertaining up to 16, and the rebuilt, limestone home.

The family makes almost everything. We had pickled red peppers, cheese, bread, prosciutto, creamy mashed potatoes and cabbage rolls made with veal. Dessert was akin to Creme brûlée – delicious, and all homemade!

We discussed life in Croatia, getting input from Antonio, whose English was better than his grandmother’s. He noted he was strongly anti-war, reflecting on the conflict of 1991–92. He hopes to go to college in two years in Zagreb, to major in history. In this country, 18 years of age makes one eligible to vote, drive and to drink alcohol (Antonio is looking forward to driving!).

For more information: Grand Circle Cruises, GCT.com; for best deals, go to “Ways to Save”, then scan “Last-minute Deals” (we saved about 1/3 from regular rates).

Contact Tim Viall at tviall@msn.com; follow him at recordnet.com/travelblog.  Happy travels in your world!



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