We woke early and packed for our 9 a.m. departure. I was delighted to find Olivier & Michelle, Sue & Shaun and Michael & Joycelyn in the breakfast room…..with big hugs and heartfelt farewells, I bid adieu to these wonderful people who had not only shared this journey with us, they added so much to it.
We rolled our suitcases off the boat and over to the taxi stand for the short ride to our next destination, Hotel Bellevue on Boninovo Bay in Dubrovnik. This 5-star hotel was a definite splurge, but it’s right on the beach and we knew that after spending a week sailing these beautiful waters, we’d want to spend some time swimming in them.
Our taxi pulled up to a non-descript one-story building on a mundane street. “Is this it?” we asked. “Yes,” replied our taxi driver as he opened the trunk and pulled out the suitcases. As we walked into the lobby, our jaws dropped…..inside this ordinary building was a wall of windows facing the most beautiful bay we’ve ever seen!
We were early….check-in was listed as 2 p.m……but a room was ready for us and we were quickly escorted to a glass elevator for a ride down to our room….yes, down to our room. The hotel is built along a cliff facing the bay so the lobby is the only room at street level. We opened the door to our room….it was spacious and looked comfortable, but it couldn’t compare to the private terrace overlooking the cerulean blue water. Ahh…..sometimes a little luxury is a good thing.
I started unpacking for our 2-night stay…..clothes in closet, toiletries in bathroom, computer plugged in on desk, camera cords….camera cords….camera cords….hmmm.
“Craig, where are the camera cords?”
“In the computer case.”
“What’s your second guess?”
“They’ve got to be there.”
“Do you remember packing them?” (an oxymoron of a question…..Craig never remembers anything).
“No, but I’m sure I did.”
“OK, you find them.”
Rummage, rummage….stomp, stomp….rummage, rummage.
“They’re not here.”
“I know they’re not here…..where are they?”
“I don’t know….I’ll go back to the ship and look in the cabin.”
“Are you sure you didn’t pack them?”
“I’m not sure of anything.”
I glanced longingly at the azure waters….so near and yet so far. We trudged down the hall, up the elevator, over to the lobby, in a taxi, through Customs and over to the ship. Carole was on the ramp with other crew members loading provisions onto the ship. “Bonjour!” she cheerfully called out. “Why are you back?”
“I think I left something in the cabin” Craig sheepishly replied.
“I’ll check,” said Carole. She returned with bad news, “Nothing’s been turned in….would you like to come and check your cabin?”
“Yes” said Craig as he quickly boarded the ship. I waited on the dock, watching case after case of water bottles being loaded on the ship, bucket-brigade style. Before too long, Craig returned triumphantly….with two camera cords held high above his head.
Once again….down the dock, through Customs, over to the taxi stand, into the lobby, down the elevator and back into the room. Sheesh! Why couldn’t I marry a man with a memory?
That evening, we walked into town for dinner….stopping first for a drink at one of the Buza’s…..outdoor bars clinging to the side of the cliffs outside the town walls. After wandering around a bit, we finally found the small sign (“cold drinks”) that led past the wall and out to the rustic terraces that cascade down the cliff. We ordered wine (screw-top with plastic cups) and sipped slowly as we watched the moon rise over the dark sea and the cruise ships set sail for new ports. It was exquisite….million dollar views for a few euros.
With mellow moods, we strolled back into town in search of dinner….finally found at a small restaurant next to the marina where we shared seafood risotto and octopus salad with a bottle of chilled rosé. Delicious and only 150 kunas ($30).
We slept well and woke refreshed….this was to be the day we tackled the ramparts of city wall. We stopped at the TI to buy our tickets and I, feeling some trepidation, asked about the stairs up, down and around the wall. The very polite response from the Dubrovnik native was “I don’t know, I’ve never been on the wall.” We all laughed while Craig bought our tickets. According to our guidebooks, the wall was lower by the sea so we walked to the other end of town in search of the back entryway. We found it, but the stairs were old, worn and steep….and the morning was getting hotter and hotter. According to Shakespere, “The better part of valor is discretion” and, after one look at the stairs that led to the stairs to the wall, I decided to be discrete. I gave Craig the camera and a water bottle and told him I’d meet him in two hours. While Craig walked the walls….seeing some magnificient scenery….I did what any woman would do in this circumstance….I shopped! I found homemade Croatian treats (glazed almonds & sugared orange rind) at the open market, hand crocheted lace made by an elderly lady, handmade jewelry, chocolates….this small city was a mecca for careful consumers!
We were both hot and longed for the cooling waters of Boninovo Bay. We walked back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day on the beach….swimming, sunning and watching local boys climb the cliffs to jump in. One young man was there with his younger brother….too young for such danger, we thought. Mom must have agreed because before too long, we saw her swimming over, calling her boys and giving both of them a good cuffing as she motioned to the cliffs and shouted words that transcended the language barrier.
We decided on room service for dinner…..and an excellent choice it was. The food was delicious….absolutely delicious, but sitting of the terrace in our bathrobes, with a full moon shining down, watching the boats and ships glide by….that’s a memory we’ll hold near to our hearts.
“God gave us memories that we might have roses in December” ~ J.M. Barrie