On our way to Dubrovnik, we had a 20-hour layover in London. We booked a room at the Gatwick BLOC Hotel in order to be close to our early morning departure gate. We landed at 11:30 am after an overnight flight and were able to check into our room early. We had a bit of a rest and then took the train to Westminster Station. In London, one can now simply tap a credit card when getting on and off the train, which is convenient.
We had visited Westminster Abbey previously on a bank holiday weekend, and it had been so ridiculously crowded crowded that I'd had to leave. I couldn’t see a thing over everyone’s heads, anyhow. This time was much better. It was relatively uncrowded, and we were able to have a good look around, seeing all the tombs and memorials, the gardens, and the Coronation Chair. Afterwards, we stopped for a bite on the patio at St. Stephen’s Tavern nearby. The meal was good (I had steak pie and DH had fish & chips). We then took the train back to the airport, picked up some bananas and pastries for breakfast, and were in bed by 8 pm. Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/pRmN7j92ts7zpPNb9
The next morning, we were up at 4 am for our 6:25 am EasyJet flight to Dubrovnik. The airport wasn’t too busy at that hour, so it didn’t take us long to go through security. Our flight to Dubrovnik was quick and uneventful.
Rain was forecast for our first couple of days in Croatia. Indeed, it was raining as we landed. By the time we exited the airport, however, the rain had stopped, and the weather for our entire visit to Croatia was lovely and summery, with only a couple of brief showers.
We had booked a driver through our apartment host to take us from the airport to our accommodation, so we were at our apartment by 11:30. We were able to check-in right away, so we got settled, after admiring our fabulous view of the Old Town, harbour, and Lokrum Island.
We unpacked and changed and then headed to Old Town. The air smelled heavenly as we walked down our street toward the Buza Gate. The bitter orange trees were in bloom, and their heady perfume surrounded us. Upon entering the Buza Gate, we started down the many, many stairs. We were really hungry by this time, so we stopped on one of the cross “streets” at a restaurant that had a shady, outdoor patio. This was the Meditaraneo Food and Wine bar, and it was a wonderful choice. We learned that it had been open for only ten days! DH had the calamari and fries, and he wasn’t that taken with them, but I had the lamb chops, and they were seriously the best lamb chops I’ve ever had. I still think about them. The service was excellent, too.
After lunch, we made our way down the remaining stairs, stopping for a photo with a statue of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) outside a Game of Thrones shop. We ended up at the Placa, which was once a canal but is now a wide concourse. It felt baking hot in the old town, even though the temperature was in the low 20s (70s). We went through another gate which led to the harbour, where we walked around the fortress, stopping to pet a dozing cat and ending up at a little “beach”—a rocky area along the edge of the wall, with steps leading into the water. Kids were splashing and playing here. Of course, we were taking lots of photos. The Adriatic is so beautiful here—a brilliant turquoise—and so picturesque against the rocks and the old walls. We headed back inside the walls, wandering up and down the charming old streets, and ended up unintentionally at Buza Bar, where we stopped for cold drinks overlooking the sea. We then explored some more, petted more cats, and went to the TI near the Pile Gate to buy Dubrovnik Cards. We left the old town via the Pile Gate and walked uphill from there to skirt around the Old Town and take photos. On the way back to our apartment, we picked up groceries, so we had dinner at “home” while enjoying the gorgeous sunset views. Already, I was smitten with Dubrovnik. (To be continued.)