Dubrovnik | Day 3 – A tale of two cities
It is a rare thing indeed to find a holiday destination with mixes both superbly intact historical treasures with a good old golden beach. One can only dream of taking a dip in the sea when sweating profusely around the dry old ruins of Rome’s forum; and in Paris, a manmade beach clinging to the side of the moderately filthy River Seine in the summer months is about as good as it’s going to get. But in Dubrovnik, Croatia’s diamond of the Dalmatian Coast, you truly get the best of both worlds. Not only is the city a treasure trove of historical beauty encased in a perfectly unbroken ring of ramparts, but immediately outside of those stone walls are long beaches and crystal clear cerulean blue seas. And what’s more, Dubrovnik has to be one of the only beaches in the world where you can lounge out in the sun and swim lazily in the shallow waters while being afforded a stunning view of one of Europe’s most unique medieval cities.
Charismatic old streets in the South of the city
Day 3 of our trip made for a perfect demonstration of this fortuitous combination. In the morning we undertook yet further explorations of some of the narrower “back” streets climbing up to the seaward extent of the walls, where streets form successively more beautiful labyrinths of plant pots and strung out laundry, and the steps get steeper and steeper as you advance towards the sea. This then led us to the city’s Domenican Monastery, a place which is not only the epitome of tranquillity with a stunning cloister whose stony silence is interrupted only be the gently dappling of the sun, but whose museum claims to hold the heart of St Luke the Evangelist himself, as well as a good few other body parts of the great faithful.
The Domenican Monastery
In the afternoon, by contrast, we made our way down the winding streets which lead Eastwards out of the city, beyond the protection afforded by the mighty walls, and onto the nearest stretch of beach to the city – a wonderfully golden expanse fringed by warm shallow waters and of course benefitting from that incredible backdrop of the city. As this was, ostensibly, a city trip and we knew that this beach day was likely to be a unique endeavour, we splashed out on hiring two comfy loungers and eating our way slowly through the menu of the beach restaurant ably servicing the many beach goers. And in that mode we enjoyed this second face of the city, plunging regularly into its incredibly warm and clear waters, gazing in wonder at the views of the city rippled in the almost still Adriatic waters.
The beach of Dubrovnik
As evening descended , it seemed only appropriate that our evening dinner should combine both facets of sea and city – and dining out on the visually spectacular terrace of the restaurant 360, positioned up on one wing of Dubrovnik’s old walls, we were afforded a view not just back to the old city, but also over its port where small fishing boats barely moved in the still air of this warm evening. The food was apt accompaniment to this eye-watering view: my crispy sea bass with spiced cous cous and a basil puree deserves particular mention, although star of the show was a bottle of Croatian red – Lasina (2011) – one of only 600 bottles ever made, and so deliciously complex and richly velvet that I wished they had made a thousand more. But then that’s Dubrovnik all over: a place of rare treasures unrepeated elsewhere in the world, and all the more enjoyable for it.
360 Restaurant and Dubrovnik at night
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