Irish playwright George Bernard once proclaimed: “Those who seek paradise on Earth, should come to Dubrovnik!”
Back onto the coach, we continued our journey northwards through the Balkans region, stopping in Bar for lunch and to browse the local markets. The Montenegro coastline provided some spectacular views for the remainder of the day’s drive as we headed to the coastal city of Dubrovnik.
After dinner, we took part in an in-depth walking tour of the city which was simply stunning. Dubrovnik wasn’t high up on my excitement list, but I completely fell in love with this city!
This was followed by a Topdeck bar crawl which was pretty full on. My favourite place was Galerie Bucket Bar which made cocktails in sandcastle buckets, which is as great as it sounds. Jess and I got so busy talking to a new group of people that we didn’t notice our group leave. Ah, we panicked. We knew that they were heading to a club beginning with ‘P’ so we kept asking locals until someone pointed us in the right direction. Oh, the relief when we saw them again! And then the feeling of stupidity that we’re 21, of course, we don’t need the rest of the group for security, but on this kind of tour, you do unfortunately get stuck in that group mentality.
Later into the night, Jess came down with intense stomach pain. I hadn’t seen her for a couple of hours at this last club, but I had assumed that she was off somewhere enjoying herself. All I remember is having fun one minute, and then being grabbed and thrown into a taxi the next. Here, I suddenly found myself with a medical degree and promptly informed everybody that she most likely had appendicitis. Fortunately, it was ‘just’ a food intolerance.
The following day we had a free day to explore this gorgeous walled city. Lily and Georgia joined us for the morning to walk around the town again, which is just as lovely in daylight. I have talked about this place far too much since my return, but I really did like it here and I can’t wait to go again for longer.
We then came across a war photograph museum. The exhibition we saw was a series of photographs documenting the aftermath of war and violence in the daily lives of people living in dominantly Muslim societies. The aim of it was to capture the loneliness and the determination of people trying to carry on after their lives had been torn apart. It was an extremely powerful exhibition and I recommend that you look at some of this photographer’s work – Ziyah Gafiae.
That afternoon, Jess had to sort out her university enrollment so I joined the other tour members for cliff diving. We did this from the outside of the Old Castle walls into the Adriatic Sea. There were three cliffs; small, medium, and large. Walking up there, I was completely confident that I could handle every size, but once I was up there, I had to mentally prepare myself even on the small one. I successfully conquered it though and made my way to the medium one. This cliff was a death trap to climb, so much so that I felt like I had achieved something just by reaching the top. I must have frozen up there for a good 10 minutes, but Richard climbed up to jump with me on the count of three. Well he jumped, I remained firmly on the spot!
Finally, I jumped, and I’m so glad I did because it was such a great feeling. Although I got slightly battered against the rocks in the tide trying to get out, I jumped a few more times to prove to myself that I could do it. By this point, half of the Topdeck crew had joined us, and it rolled into a highly dangerous competition. None of the girls were game enough for the large cliff jump, but a few of the lads did, and they resurfaced in major pain so I decided to give that one a miss! However, it’s on my bucket list to jump off that cliff one day.
Zadar was next on the agenda, though we stopped in Split for lunch where we found one Euro pizza slices the size of our heads. On arrival in Zadar, we checked into the hostel and then ventured out to have a look around the city. We came across the world’s only Sea Organ while walking along the promenade. It’s a wall with holes in it next to where the tide comes in so music plays by way of the sea waves. It was very peaceful and harmonic there; I could have sat there and listened for hours. Nearby was the Greeting to the Sun, which was made by the same architect. The sunset we watched here was the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen, so although tonight was quiet and calm, it was definitely one of my best.