We arrived in Dubrovnik to much improved weather. We had a basically warm, sunny day here. Very busy, people everywhere. In the midst of summer it gets very hot and the tourists flock here. It has been good to come earlier in the season.
Dubrovnik is a major filming location for the Game of Thrones (GoT) and there is GoT memorobilia at almost every turn. It is the setting for Kings Landing, the capital of the seven kingdoms. Some of the cafes and restaurants have GoT menues to consider. Khaleesi’s delight (capon liver pate caramelized with dragons breath), Ayra’s needle (honeyed chicken with cold potato salad) and Cersei’s salad (gorgonzola, grapes ,greens and pecans). If you are wondering what ‘capon’ is see later in this epistle. The town’s great attraction is its city walls, red topped roofs and narrow alleys. The footpaths are all paved with stone, no dirt or grass anywhere, except in ‘back yards’ of some of the housing. You gaze down into these from the walls.
The Viking Star berthed at the newish port terminal and we then boarded a small local vessel to cruise around the walls of the city and enter the old port, surrounded by walls and a small flotilla of boats. Just the way to do it. Reminded me a bit of the Battle of Blackwater in a scene from GoT.
Following the boat trip we were off on the now usual town tour with the local guide. There are the old churches and architectural oddities from history. A few locals wander around in traditional dress. There is little talk though about Croatia’s independence war in the early 1990s. Dubrovnik was heavily shelled by Serbian forces and many properties were damaged, particularly the roofing. This is why Dubrovnik’s roofscape has so many red roofs. They are the new ones rebuilt after the war, the older roofs are that grey and greeny brown colour.
One of the things that Allthego had checked out prior to the tour was the location of another one of the restaurants mentioned in Rick Stein’s cook book. Kopun specialises in traditional Croatian food and is in an out of the way location up some steps in a little square away from the main drag of cafes and bars. In particular they cook a capon dish. Now capon is castrated rooster that is especially bred for its meat. It is very traditional and the Kopun promotes its dish as being based on a 16 th century recipe. Allthego and Homealone couldn’t resist trying it, there were two variations. Homealone settled for the ‘Dubrovnik Capon’ which consisted of stewed meat, with figs, peaches, raisins, sour orange marmalade, honey, white wine, vegetables and barley. Allthego took on the ‘Capon in porcini mushroom sauce’, stewed meat with dried plums, forrest berries, mushrooms, red wine, vegetables and barley. Hmmmmm it was pretty good. Allthego is tempted to try it on some unsuspecting guests back in Brisbane. Got to track down some castrated roosters first. Maybe a bush turkey would substitute?
After lunch we strolled off to do the ‘walls’. Doing the walls is 200 Kuna each. The Croats use Kuna not Euros, it is about $A40 each to wander around the city walls. It is not a short walk. Allthego thought the top of the walls had quite wide walk ways, after all the base of the walls were metres thick. But this is not the case, the walls do get quite narrow and the rails are not always as high as one might appreciate. Great views though out over the town, harbour and the people labouring up and down the steps to get around. Homealone got a bit edgy up here and didn’t really appreciate the ambience of the situation. She graciously allowed Allthego to continue the stroll after about half way and she descended back down to ground level. All up it took about 2 hours to get around the circuit. Great experience.
Although the ship didn’t leave Dubrovnik till 11.30 pm we headed back around 5 o’clock to recuperate and ready ourselves for the next day in Kotor, Montenegro.