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Just like “Game of Thrones” …

Just like “Game of Thrones” …

… but nobody died.

Once we’d got ourselves sorted on Friday morning, we figured out the bus system and got ourselves to the nearest Libertas office to buy some 24-hour passes, then got the bus along to Dubrovnik Old Town; so much easier than walking!

We’d already explored a lot of the Old Town on the previous night, so we decided to head off the main street and explore some of the back alleys. The real “tourist tat” was seemingly kept to a minimum, but there were a lot of jewellery shops (featuring the local red coral), art galleries, plus the usual selection of bars and cafes. We found one that we’d read about that did fancy wine and local craft beer; as we ‘accidentally’ found ourselves wandering past it, we had to go in…

San Servolo craft beer (his 'n' hers)

San Servolo craft beer (his ‘n’ hers)

Our host had recommended a restaurant away from the main street (Stradun), telling us that the fish was very good, and the prices were much more reasonable; he wasn’t wrong. Plus, the view was pretty good too…

While eating lunch we’d noticed a lot of people appearing from round the back of Tvrđava sv. Ivana, looking like they’d just been swimming, so after we’d finished stuffing ourselves we waddled round the old harbour to have a look at where they’d been. A groyne and the path round the back of the tower formed a swimming area, complete with water polo ‘pitch’, covered in people both in and out of the water, and great views of the coast south-east of Dubrovnik, the nature reserve of Lokrum island, and the huge variety of passing large and small boats. We naively didn’t have our swimming costumes, but managed to find ourselves a spot on the edge that was close enough to the water that we could sit and splash our feet whilst soaking up the sun and doing some digesting.

Once we felt capable of walking properly, we heading out around the outside of the old town, and up to the cable car that leads up Srđ and provides easy access to Utvrda Imperial (Fort Imperial), built during the Napoleonic Wars. The mountain was the main site of fighting in the Siege of Dubrovnik during the 1991-1995 Croatian War of Independence; the fort itself now houses an exhibition detailing its events. Possibly slightly one-sided, but still very thought-provoking.

After exploring the fort (including access to the roof, which would contravene all sorts of H&S regulations in the UK), and having an unexpected encounter in the car park, we decided to treat ourselves to a drink at the imaginatively-named Restaurant Panorama, which has absolutely amazing views over Dubrovnik Old Town and the Adriatic Sea. This left us perfectly-timed for catching the sunset from the viewpoint near the cable car station, watching it sink into the sea over Dubrovnik, Koločep and Lopud.

We had a cunning plan for getting back to our apartment after this: the number 8 bus runs in a big loop, from the Old Town Gate, though ‘lower’ Dubrovnik to the port, then turning and heading back along the higher road (at the bottom of the steps to our apartment), past the cable car station, out east to Viktorija, then back to the Old Town Gate. Just get on at the cable car station and ride round the loop, we thought… well, almost. What we didn’t realise was the bus got to Viktorija and stopped for 20 minutes! We had to get off and stand around; couldn’t even admire the view, since it was dark by this point. Eventually we were allowed back on, and things proceeded as planned, including being smug at having seats when the crowds got on at the Old Town Gate. Little things…

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Posted by on Wednesday 19 August 2015 in Croatia, Travel

 

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Pizza!

We were planning on going for a curry tonight, and had decided to go to an Indian restaurant near the hotel that seemed to have some of the best reviews in Newark, but once we got there we discovered that it didn’t serve alcohol. Friday night, curry, without beer? It just didn’t seem right.

So we decided to have a walk to a part of Newark we hadn’t visited before, on the hope that one of the restaurants we’d found on the Internet turned out to be OK.

We found the pizza place first. It had a cheesy name (‘Love At First Slice‘), and looked a bit basic (you place your order at a hatch, then take your number and your beer and find a table), but the pizzas sounded nice, they had draught beer, and it looked like a band was just getting set up, so we decided to give it a go.

Probably should have taken the photo before we got carried away with eating…

To make the most of our expenses, we got one XL pizza, two pitchers of beer, and a plate of jalapeño poppers to share as a starter. We probably could have done without the poppers, and a slightly-smaller pizza would almost certainly have been enough, but somehow it all got eaten, and the beer all got drunk (plus a bit more). The bands were pretty good, too. Late Night District were the support act: guitar, bass, drums, sort of alternative-rock, American-style punk rock. Brolly were the main act, a bit more polished, vaguely like Radiohead-ish: two guitars, bass and drums, plus assorted other instruments and percussion depending on the song.

I’m not sure how, but I think I ate about two-thirds of that pizza. I really should know better by now.

Monterey tomorrow. That’s the plan, anyway…

 
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Posted by on Friday 9 November 2012 in California

 

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My turn now

It’s a weekday afternoon, and I’m sat in Newcastle Airport with a beer (well, Guinness, but it’ll do). I feel like I should be on my way to Copenhagen for a business trip, as that’s the only reason I’ve ever been here for the last few years, but not this time…

This time, I’m on my way to China to find out more about the beer that’s 27p a pint meet my beloved wife (ahem) so she can show me all the sights, sounds, and smells that she’s been talking about for the previous two summers.

I hope nobody looks too closely at my hold luggage, as they might wonder what I’m planning on doing when I get over there: chocolate, Marmite, cereal, Vitamin C tablets, coffee filters, and… umm… pipe cleaners! All by special request of the various teachers who are there already, who have been my offered my services (strictly for purchasing of requisites, I understand).

Nearly time to go for my first flight, and hope that the online check-in has left me with the seat I wanted. Not too much problem or the first leg, but I don’t fancy being stuck in a bad seat for the 10 hours or so of the final flight to Beijing.

I should stop wasting my battery now, and get myself ready for boarding. On my way to China, but first I have to survive… Paris!

 
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Posted by on Wednesday 1 August 2012 in China

 

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