It was still early in the morning when I got to Split, but there was a bus leaving soon, so I grabbed a pastry which was full of meat and deliciously filling. That meant I kept nodding off, but was up enough to enjoy the view, for the ride to Dubrovnik was a joy, much of it on a highway along the Adriatic Sea. Or rather, I should say, above, for cliffs ran down to the sea, with little villages dotted below, and vast expanses of blue bays, amidst endless promontories.

The bus station at Dubrovnik was by the post, a few kilometres from town, but a short walk away was a hotel with a fabulous view over the harbour, looking across to the hills opposite which provided shelter from the deep sea. They gave me a room with a balcony, on a day of glorious sunshine, and I decided that I would spend the afternoon there, on the balcony and in bed.

But first I walked along the shore to where it curved round, and found a restaurant at the narrow end, looking all the way down the harbour, for a beer and a pizza. I fear I fell asleep then, waking when the sunshine poured onto my bed, and then I watched the sunset and read, and contented myself with chocolate for supper.  

But I was up early next morning, for coffee as soon as the restaurant opened, and then a filling breakfast before setting out to explore. The old town was a short bus ride away, and I then wandered through the streets inside the walls though I decided I was too old to clamber up them. But I loved the main square, and looking at the clock tower I recalled in 1990 waiting with a student from the ship who had asked my advice about Dubrovnik to watch it strike noon. But that was all I could do for him, for I had to catch a bus to Sarajevo where I was to have dinner with Bogdan Rakic whom I had met at a Cambridge Seminar five years earlier, and with whom I had stayed in 1986 too.

I went then into the Rector’s Palace, which I am sure I would have seen on my first visit, but which I could not recall at all. It was a lovely old building, with lots to see, nothing spectacular, but nice pictures and statues and decorative art from all over the world. There was too a room to commemorate what the city had gone through during the civil war when Croatia had become independent of Yugoslavia, with the soldiers looking cheerful despite the suffering the city underwent.

I went to a couple of churches and the cathedral, all of which had fine pictures, and also looked at the city’s iconic Onofrio fountain and Orlando statue, before heading back. On the way I looked for the mosque, which I finally managed to find, a little room in a little house, but it was interesting that this survived and was registered as a sight worth looking at.

The first two pictures are of the coastline as we drove down, and then sunset on the first evening in my hotel. The other pictures are of the old city, a defense tower and the entrance and the clocktower and the fountain, with the next six pictures being of the Rector’s Palace including its outlet to the harbour. Then there is the facade of the cathedral, a street scene and finally the mosque.

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