Friday was May 7th, Ryan's birthday. I told him that we would do WHATEVER he wanted today. Being the smart young man that he is the night before he looked at the weather forecast for the rest of our trip. He saw that the weather looked the most promising on his birthday. A wonderful gift for him. So he decided he wanted to stay in Dubrovnik rather than go on another excursion.
We got up in the morning and had cereal for breakfast at our hostel. Going grocery shopping was a great idea. And then headed down to walk around the Lapad Peninsula on the walking path. It was beautiful. The entire walk was right along the water and with the sun out the water shimmered like sapphires. All along the path were random stairs down to rocks that had been cemented over in spots to create flat places to lay our a towel. A couple rocks had ladders from the water to crawl out of the water after a swim. I sort of liked it because it would be hard to get a spot packed with people like beaches typically get. I would imagine in the summer you just need to show up super early to claim your spot.
The picture below is the pools at a nice hotel along the peninsula. They were laying a new deck down that looked very nice. We weren't sure if the pools were open for swimming, but we did discuss poaching them (going swimming even though we weren't guests). They also had a roped off area in the sea in from of the pools for swimming.
Our goal on the walk, besides just having a pleasant morning stroll, was to find the Copacabana Beach. Although the Barry Manilow song was probably written about one of the other few Copacabanas in the world we still thought it would be cool to say we'd been to this one. When we reached the end of the walk I guess we were at the Copacabana. It was just a rocky beach in front of a big nice hotel, which I think is the only all inclusive option in Dubrovnik. We didn't feel inclined to stay for long, so we headed back. The picture below is from the Copacabana.
After we got back to the pedestrian street in Lapad we decided that we had to go swimming before we left. At this point of the day we weren't sure what the weather was about to do, but we didn't care. We were not leaving Dubrovnik without swimming in the Adriatic. So we went to the beach there at the end of the street and walked a ways down it. Stripped down to our bathing suites under our clothes (we were prepared) and waded in. And the dove the rest of the way under. Ryan was a little bit of a baby and thought it was colder than it was. I thought it was refreshing. But we didn't stay long and as soon as we got out and dried off it started to rain. Although that was short lived too.
From there we walked to the other end of the pedestrian street to the bus stop and waited for quite some time to get the bus to the Old Town. Once in town we went to lunch at a Kebab place. Ryan thought his kebab was good, but not his favorite. I had a salmon sandwich. They called it smoked salmon, but to me what it was was lox and it was good. Then we went and each got a gelato cone before heading to walk around the city walls. The walls around the old town are about a mile long and give you and incredible view of everything. They better with the amount the charge you to do it. But we were up their for at least an hour I'd say so we took our time to get our money's worth.
This picture is from standing on the wall.
Here is Ryan looking cute on the wall!
These were the first ruins I saw in Dubrovnik from the war in the 90's. They had a diagram of the old town showing buildings that were hit or completely demolished. Very few buildings survived, which showed up how much has been built and renovated in the last couple decades. But this picture gives a little perspective of what the entire city would look like had they not gone to work rebuilding.
In the upper left corner of this picture is The Fort of St. Lawrence where we went later in the day. You get to go for free if you pay to walk the wall. All that is really there is a good view, but it was worth the climb up to it for that.
Another shot from the wall looking over the rooftops out to the Adriactic.
This was toward the end of our walk around the walls. We look down below to a courtyard area and see this gilateen. Now what in the world was this doing here?
This picture shows the old old roof tiles that have been places on top of new ones. Dubrovnik is very proud of who they are and have been for centuries. So many people removed their roof tiles before buildings were destroyed in the war and when things were rebuilt put the old tiles on top of new ones to give the same look and feel the city used to have pre war. Of course not every building has the old tiles, which makes the city very unique to have such variation in their roofs that I've never seen anywhere else.
By the time we finished walking the walls out gelato was long gone and we were very hot. The day blessed us with incredible weather and being up high on those walls with nothing covering us made us realize the only thing left to do was go for a swim. We saw a little swimming symbol right on the other side of St. Lawrence Fort, so we headed in that direction.
It took some work, but we found the cove and it was wonderful. It was also very dirty and there was a ton of liter, but we loved it. And since the locals all still think that it is too early to swim we had the place to ourselves. There was a little bit of a beach there, but we laid our towels out on the cement at the far end of the cove with a perfect place to jump into the water and some old cement stairs to help us climb back out. Both Ryan and I tell people that this was our favorite part of the whole trip. The water felt great, the sun was out, what more could we have asked for? Well now that I think of it a pina colada or maybe a strawberry daiquiri could have hit the spot, but at the time our set up was ideal.
Here is a picture of Ryan jumping in the water to show you just how much fun we had. Click on the picture to make it bigger if you can't see the excitement in his face. :)
We finally decided it was time to pack up, which was to the benefit of another couple who had just showed up and immediately took our prime spot as soon as we left. We found our way to The Fort of St. Lawrence after this and my next picture was taken from there. The view is really cool because you can see the walls and the old town. The view from the walls was great too, but it was nice to see what you were standing on from this vantage point. Like I said though all that St. Lawrence had to offer was the view, so after we snapped our pictures we headed back down.
We went to the tourist information center in the old town to ask for a dinner recommendation. There was one place we new the location of in Lapad, so we thought we'd go there. When we got back to Lapad we first went to our hostel owner's house to sign up for the excursion to Montenegro the next day, then we each showered and changed and headed back down the hill to the restaurant.
As it turned out it wasn't our favorite restaurant. Although I did have a very good octopus salad. We came here because the seafood was fresh and I do believe that it was, but I think both our meals included too many large shrimps that where still in their shell bodies and we just aren't fans of having to figure out how to get the meat out. But the view was perfect. We sat outside right on the waters edge hearing the waves lap against the rocks and seeing the lights come on as the evening grew darker. That was our favorite part of dinner.
So at the end of the day I think Ryan would tell you all he had a great birthday. And that was what mattered to me.