Five Days in Croatia (Part I): Lots of Firsts

15 Feb

[sorry to email subscribers who received a draft version of this post last week. speaking of which–you should subscribe via email by typing your email address in the box to the right so you never miss the kefi… or any of my snafus!]IMG_4468

After a crazy weekend of wedding events (go to: the beginning, the ceremony, the tearful roastings, the dancing, the prancing, and the details), it was time for the Ndjatou World Tour.  My beloved MrKef and I had taken lots of mini trips together but never a full-fledged vacation, so we were both ready.to.go. after a weekend high on fun and low on sleep.

We chose Dubrovnik, Croatia for a few reasons: 1) it had ample opportunity for both beach and non-beach things, which is key for this Greek-Cameroonian couple 2) neither of us had been there before 3) Game of Thrones is filmed there, so I knew MrKef would be in rare form, and 4) we could make a stop in England on the way back, where both of us have family members who weren’t able to make the wedding but that we very much wanted to see. It turned out to be the perfect choice–we had so much fun together that just picking pictures for this post gave me a joy spurt that should last til next week (or at least through this wintery week–boo). Hope y’all like pictures and captions–’cause that’s what we’re going with today.

Inspired by Monica and Chandler, we told anyone who would listen to us that it was our honeymoon. Sadly, we didn’t get any first class upgrades (the danger of taking budget airlines on your honeymoon, I guess!), but people were excited for us and did what they could.

A very lovely flight attendant gifted us wine and chocolate:

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And an absurdly helpful man at Gatwick racked his brain trying to think of a way to help us celebrate and came up with this, um, Premium Security Pass:

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After a couple of flights and a long layover, we were finally in Croatia! We landed at night but were lucky to find our sweet little AirBnB without problem. We dropped our stuff, showered, and headed right out to explore Dubrovnik! Here’s out first look of this magnificently-preserved Old City:

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MrKef wasted no time getting down to business, and is pictured here with his first-ever miniglass of cordial.

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It was the middle of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and the Croatian Symphony was kind enough to have orchestrated a dress rehearsal  to coincide with our first night:

 

Once I found out that food in Dubrovnik is heavily influenced by the city’s age-old ties with Venice (read: tons of pizza and gelato), I decided that if I wanted some  ice cream while on my honeymoon, I would have it–evils of refined sugar be damned.

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In other news, we both got a good giggle out of this flavor, because well… these are the things that give us the giggles (just ask JetSet about that time he played Cards Against Humanity with MrKef).

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After a stroll and an ice cream, we headed back home. This would be a good time to discuss what it meant to get to and from the Old City from where we were staying. We chose this specific AirBnB because it was cheap ($68/night!), boasted beautiful views (we’ll get there) and was, by far, the closest to the Old City for that kind of price (only 700 meters from the Old City gate!). What the AirBnB description failed to mention is that it is 700m straight up 379 stairs! Somehow I never got a good shot of allllll the stairs, but here’s a little peek into what quickly became the bane of MrKef’s Croatian existence.

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Anyway, after a 24 hours of traveling and a trek up those stairs, we slept like babies. When we woke up, we got our first real look at Dubrovnik. It did not disappoint:

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This would be the first an only time that MrKef would rush down those stairs– he just couldn’t wait to explore.

We spent most of our first full day just poking about, planning out the next few days, and taking a billion selfies:

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And then it was time for another first: some random people came up to MrKef and gesticulated something about a picture. Because MrKef is a lovely human, he assumed that they wanted him to take a family photo. Turns out that they wanted to take their picture with him because he’s black.

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It’s possible that they are just huge Extra Black Gelato fans… but probably they are just from an insular part of the world. Diversity is an asset, people.

Anyway, after a yummy pizza lunch we took the Dubrovnik Wall tour. This is a good time for a quick history break: Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th century and was an important port for the next 1,000 years. It was settled and conquered a few times, was a de facto outpost of Venice for much of its history, and still is comprised largely of building that was completed in the 16th century. Despite some high profile damage in the 90s, the  city remains nearly perfectly preserved/restored. The wall tour takes you around the city from the perch of 10-meter-thick fortified walls, and was definitely a highlight for us–not to be missed!

This was so beautiful that I could not choose only a few shots, so I will just post a whole bunch:

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Please notice all the trek up the wall stairs!

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Not exactly regulation, but major points for commitment to the game!

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After that tour, MrKef fulfilled a fantasy: sitting on the Iron Chair!

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Later that night, we had a romantic drink at the Troubador, Dubrovnik’s live jazz spot.

 

And because he’s a romantic at heart, we slow danced in the street when the band played “What a Wonderful World,” which got all those children you can see jumping around in the video pointing and laughing.

To end our first full day, another first:

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Yep, that’s right: mojitos to go!

IMG_4565That seems like a note as good as any to end on… and it’s past my bedtime, so come back next time for some day trips, manspreading, and funiculars!

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