Oct 09 ~ Day #152
Budget to date
Total to date
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Current Location: On board the MSC Musica visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia
Today’s Total Expenses: $184.84
Cruise: 178.51 (cruise cost includes transportation, accommodation and food)
Transportation: $6.33 (€4.80 – bus into town and back)
Miles Traveled Today:
Sea Miles: 244 (212 Nautical Miles – Corfu to Dubrovnik)
For the first time on this cruise we actually got hot coffee with our breakfast. Fresh – piping hot – coffee!
Breakfast was the only time on this cruise that they would actually serve coffee in the dining room. However, it would invariably arrive at our table lukewarm, at best.
Geoff tried several times to get hot coffee but they just didn’t seem to get it.
One exchange seems rather humorous now. Geoff tried very hard to get them to understand that we wanted HOT coffee.
On this particular occasion he pointed to his cup and said, “not hot.” When he got a quizzical look, he pointed to his cup again and said, “cold!”
The light bulb seemed to go on but the response was, “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t serve chilled coffee at breakfast.”
Geoff’s response was, “Well, apparently you do!” but the sarcasm was obviously “lost in translation”.
After that we simply gave up. That made today’s surprise that much more enjoyable. I think we let them keep refilling our cups as long as the hot coffee held out.
One of the highlights of this cruise, for us, was the chance to visit Croatia. We’d heard it was kind of “up and coming”.
Even though they are not yet a member of the European Union, their application is in and their acceptance seems assured within the next year or so.
The cruise line had, of course, arranged for a shuttle to take passengers to the old, walled city at the cost of €10.00 each.
As is our way, we opted to look for local transportation.
Money, Money, Money
As Croatia has not yet converted to the Euro, we needed to exchange some of our Euros for the local currency – the kuna.
A ticket on the local bus would cost us about 10.00 kunas which translated to about €1.20. So, we purchased 50.00 kunas, enough for the bus for both of us with a little extra.
Their bus tickets work a little different than we’re used to. The price of 10.00 kunas buys you a ticket that is good for an hour, anywhere on the bus system.
Now that we had Croatian currency as well, we had with us FIVE different kinds of currency:
- U.S. dollars
- Canadian dollars
- British pounds
- Croatian kunas
Once we get back home we’ll have seven different kinds of currencies. To the above list we’ll add:
- Bahamian dollars
- Moroccan dirhams (we still have some left from a trip we took in 1990!)
Dubrovnik – The Old City
We located the local bus that was headed towards the old, walled city, bought our tickets and got on board.
It was about a 20-minute ride from the cruise port to the old city with lots of stops along the way.
The newer parts of Dubrovnik that we saw along the way seemed very modern and well cared for.
We got off the bus just outside the old city and stopped into the tourist info center.
The old city has a commanding view of the ocean and is protected by narrow gates set in very thick stone walls.
Inside the walls are cobbled streets lined with very old, very sturdy-looking stone buildings.
Apparently some of these buildings sustained significant damage during the war between Croatia and Bosnia. These countries, of course, used to be Yugoslavia before they separated.
However, any evidence of the war seems to have been repaired both in the old city and in the newer sections as well.
As is inevitable in any touristy locations, there were lots of tourist shops selling all manner of souvenirs.
Normally we are not tempted by such offerings but we were drawn to a display of local, hand painted glassware. Mostly wine glasses and decanters hand painted with colorful and intricate geometric designs. If our future plans weren’t so up-in-the-air, we would most likely have bought some. But, for now, we simply don’t want to add any new possessions.
After spending time exploring the old city we decided to explore the new sections by walking, so we thought, in the general direction of the cruise port.
Which Way Do We Go Now?
It was a beautiful day for a walk – bright and sunny. We stopped into a little roadside convenience store and purchased a large bottle of local beer, already chilled, for about 7.00 kunas. So, it was a good thing that we got a little more money than we needed for the bus.
We stopped at a little park and enjoyed the beer before continuing on.
Checking the time, we determined that we would have to get back to the ship soon.
We thought we were heading in the general direction of the ship and as we crested a hill we had a great view of it – WAY across the bay and much too far to walk in the time we had left. Not to mentioned that we were pretty much knackered anyway.
On top of that, my walking shoes had decided that they had outlived their allotted lifespan and were giving up their soles (pun intended!).
We found a bus stop enclosure that listed all of the routes, the times and the bus numbers. We just couldn’t make heads or tails of it at all!
We decided to get on the next bus and, hopefully, convey where we needed to go by pointing to the cruise ship that was easily visible in the distance from the bus stop.
After waiting for about 10 minutes a bus stopped and Geoff began to explain our dilemma by talking slowly and pointing to the ship.
To our amazement, and delight, the bus drive spoke perfect English. He told us the bus number we needed, said it would be along in about 10 minutes and that it would take us directly to the cruise port.
And, just as he had said, the specified bus arrived at the designated time and did, indeed, take us directly to the cruise port. We got back to the ship with plenty of time to spare before the “all aboard”.
Is This Standard European Entertainment?
From what we could tell from the announcer’s excitement – in all six languages – we were in for a special treat with tonight’s entertainment.
A somewhat portly and old gentleman took the stage and we waited with quite anticipation.
The, this entertainer produced two sets of bolo balls. You know, each set has two balls attached to long strings.
The music came up and he proceeded to bounce these bolo balls off the floor. Rat-A-Tat-Tat. While also swinging them around and increasing the speed.
He stopped to a crowed clapping wildly.
He then started again. And the speed and precision were impressive but it was still just bouncing tethered balls off the floor. We waited for something more.
After this set of Rat-A-Tat-Tat reached it’s crescendo the audience leapt to their feet, clapping, hooting and hollering and remained on their feet while the entertainer took several bows.
We sat there shaking our heads in confusion. A standing ovation for this? Really?
But it appeared that we were in the minority. Did we miss something?
Is this really what passes for entertainment in Europe?