Five Days in Croatia Part II: Something For Everyone

17 Feb

After all that indulging on our first day of our honeymoon, I was ready for a run. I went through the Old City and followed the main road around the coast, which mostly was filled with very beautiful views, like this one:

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But when I got to the end of the road, I found myself in the opening scenes of The Walking Dead:

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Apparently, this is the old Hotel Bellevue. Prior to the war, it had been the grandest hotel in Dubrovnik. During the war, it acted as a main battlement due to its strategic location on the cliffs of the Adriatic. After the war, it was closed and a rebuilt a few kilometers away. I’m not quite sure why the building pictured above hasn’t either been remodeled or leveled, but I was glad for the natural turnaround point… I wasn’t getting any closer to this creepy site!

Moving right along, we spent our second full day on the island of Mlijet, which is a large island National Park about 2 hours from Dubrovnik. Of course, we took a ship named after MamaKef:

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There’s all kinds of stuff to do  on the island– a few villages, two saltwater lakes, and a bunch of opportunities for tanning and swimming. In other news, it has lots of nicely-graveled paths, so don’t do what I did and waste a perfectly beautiful run on the Walking Dead when you could be running with this as your view:

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We opted to head to the Isle of St Mary for a chance to visit one of Europe’s oldest monasteries… plus it’s an island ON an island, which was too meta to miss.

… but not before we found a snack that would suit MrKef’s needs (“All Cameroonian men love peanuts when they travel,” quoth he. Good to know.).

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Once we were properly fueled, we set sail–and were immediately rewarded with more incredible views. Can I say without being obnoxious that, while this scenery was obviously amazing, it was made much moreso because I was with my incredible husband? Time with someone who makes your heart sing is truly one of life’s experiences to be treasured.

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The parts of the monastery available for touring are small, but man–the details are impressive:IMG_4590

After we got some history, it was time for some swimming, sun and (more) selfies!

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MrKef was ALL about the salinity, and eagerly waited for me to be finished with my swim to take advantage of the goggles I brought along (a triathlete is always prepared for an Open Water Swim!):

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The vegetation on the island was really interesting, and included these cute little bananas AND BabyKef’s favorite plant, aloe!

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After a swim, we headed over to the only restaurant on the island for some lunch. MrKef was ready to buy the island when he realized it was totally acceptable to drink a liter of beer for lunch while on a European honeymoon. We took this to be Croatia’s homage to HomeBrewKef.

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I couldn’t decide whether to be in heaven or hell when I realized the only vegetarian option on the menu was ALL THE GLUTEN (not even a salad…talk about insular parts of the world). And then my pizza came and it became clear that the Kingdom of Heaven was mine:

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The trip back was even more spectacular than the one coming. First of all, we came across this dapper gent along the way:

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And then we were met with this sunset as we pulled back into the port:

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Pas mal, no?

This is likely the night when we were too tired to trek up the stairs to change for dinner and then trek back down again, so we sat down at a yummy-sounding restaurant only to realize that entrees were ~$45 each, and then told the waiter we forgot our wallets and ended up slinking around the corner to Buffet Zvonik, where we gorged ourselves with all this food for a quarter of the price. Mmhhhmmm. IMG_4618

Then we headed to what would become our Croatian Cheers– La Bodega.The nightlife scene in Dubrovnik consisted of a European MegaClub filled with British teenagers or hotel bars with older Germans just off their River Cruise… neither were quite our speed. And then we found La Bodega in the main square, a perfect blend of lounge and bar with great music and people watching for the ages.

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Sooner than we wanted, it was the next day and we were off to the very top of Dubrovnik, via the Funicular!

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So far in this post we’ve seen a boat named after MamaKef, a national endorsement of HomeBrewKef’s favorite past time, and BabyKef’s favorite plant… in the mountaintop museum we stumbled across a photo of what JetSet would look like if he were ever unfortunate enough to find himself in a war zone (may God forbid it)– blazer on and wine bottle in hand (NB: this is not a photo of someone suffering that I am making light of– this was in the happy part of the museum).IMG_4634

In addition to the stunning views, I FINALLY found just a plate of vegetables up on that mountain. Food in Croatia is good, but not varied– pretty much everywhere had some iteration of a sign that un-ironically read, “Light Lunch: Risotto, Pizza, Cheeseburgers.” It felt fun to be forced into junk food for about a day, but by the time the third day rolled around I was more than willing to pay $8 for these 8 slices of vegetables (not kidding).IMG_4640

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We headed back down the mountain, and took a walking tour of Dubrovnik, where we learned the hilarious story of this graffiti from 1597 that reads, “Peace be with you, but know that you must die, you who play ball here.” Apparently, a curmudgeonly priest was none too pleased that the alley outside his bedroom was a makeshift soccer field, and took the time to etch his grievances into the wall. College ChefKef is jealous of that guy’s gumption. Yikes.

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After the tour, we split ways– MrKef went off to do a Game of Thrones tour, and I headed to over to Buza Bar which puts the term “hole in the wall” to new meaning

It’s nearly impossible to find, but I knew I was onto something when I saw this:

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Needless to say, I strongly preferred the words on this wall to those scrawled by Father McMeanie. Twice as needless to say, the views did not disappoint.

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I met back up with MrKef, who was grinning from ear to ear like a Lannister who, um … does whatever Lannisters do… after his GoT tour, and we enjoyed some scenes of Dubrovnik by night :

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And soon enough, it was time for a nightcap at La Bodega for me and some ice cream for MrKef!

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Next time on the Ndjatou World Tour, we head off to Montenegro (which is where the previously-promised manspreading adventure came to pass) and then to a haunted island… oo la la.

2 Responses to “Five Days in Croatia Part II: Something For Everyone”

  1. 1world2feet February 17, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    Nice photos!

    • cookingupkefi February 17, 2016 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks- it was such a fun trip with amazing scenery!

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