Croatia

Cavtat  Dubrovnik
We left Sydney on Tuesday evening at 9.30 pm, (Emirates), travelled via Dubai then Rome and Dubrovnik and finally to the Hotel Croatia in Cavtat overlooking the Adriatic. Mark and I had matching 3/4 bags, his arrived, mine didn’t. Luckily it was mine, not Mark’s (or Ann’s or Sue’s, colleagues who were on the same flights.)  Hotel staff said: “Always from Rome…” Beautiful, crazy Romans! Anyway, it arrived on Saturday and in the meantime, I was able to spend $300 on clothes, on insurance. 
On one side of the hotel was the sea, on the other, the harbour.These photos are typical of the beauty of Cavtat, the starkness of the grey rocky mountains surrounding it, contrasting with the picturesque old world charm of the village.  Add to this, the yellow wildflowers, the  dark green cypresses, the pure blue of the water and the softer tones of the sky. On walks around the water’s edge, I came upon Roman ruins, art galleries and a mausoleum on the top of the hill.
There was not much in the way of dress shops in Cavtat, [part of its charm], so this necessitated a trip to Dubrovnik by bus. While there, I walked around the walled city, took about an hour, high up above the sea like a fortress from the Middle Ages. The last time I was there was in 1968, just after the student demos in Paris, when I bumped around in a broken-down French ‘deux chevaux’ car and slept rough, often in camping grounds. This time I was doing it in style. The tipping culture was  a bit of a challenge, with service people on one side of the class divide, guests on the other. 
This is still an emerging nation in many ways, so I didn’t feel bad about having to fork out money on tips; it was hard to know how much, and how often; nobody tells you. From our balcony on the 7th floor, you looked down onto the peaceful sea, hardly a ripple, and white rocks that fall away to the water; no sand; nude bathing sections. 

Back at the hotel, a huge seagull, size of an albatross, came and perched on our railing when we were eating out there on the balcony. The sunsets are late, long twilights: red sun on the horizon. We were invited to a cocktail party by the Australian Ambassador in Zagrev. I only attended one of the conference papers, and was free to roam around and go on excursions to the islands and swim and lie in the sun. I did attend the Conference cocktail party as I knew a lot of the people coming to the Conference from the States, London, Canada, Italy and Australia, also a couple from Paris. Mark had organised the whole thing, with help from Suzanna a Croatian clinician. She took him and a couple of others to a little restaurant up in Bosnia Herzegovina, but I wasn’t back in time from Dubrovnik. I planned to make a special trip to Montenegro, but ran out of time.

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