Monday, 26 May 2014
Dubrovnik's Old Port, cradled by the city walls and guarded against pirates and other enemy invaders by the bulk of St John's Fort, is wonderfully atmospheric. It is protected by two old breakwaters and they say that chains used to be strung across the entrance for extra security. These days the ships going in and out are glass-bottomed tourist boats and small ferries sailing to the nearby islands (like Lokrum in the background, now a nature reserve and botanic garden). In the past it must have been an amazing, noisy, bustling place filled with trading ships and galleons. The port was also where ships were built, in the Arsenal, now a restaurant.
Thankfully there is now another much larger port at the other side of the city and that is where the massive, modern cruise ships dock, those floating palaces. There were two or three moored there most days. You quickly learn to time your visits to the narrow streets of the Old City for before or after the peak for the cruise ships' tours (and - if you're me - you soon feel thankful not to be in a huge group all made to wear the same orange or pink baseball cap!) I'd far rather be a make-believe pirate on the galleon out there than a passenger on a cruise ship. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.