Chihiro and I decided to tag along to the orchestra's music seminar in Dubrovnik this week, even though there were no classes available for bassoon and horn. The deal was about $200 for 6 nights in a four-star resort hotel on the coast of Croatia, with breakfast and dinner included... kind of hard to refuse! So on Monday we piled in the car with Arvida and Admir to drive the five hours to Dubrovnik.
The opening concert was with some of the faculty at the seminar, and the violinist was definitely my favorite. She played a solo piece by Prokofiev, I left the program upstairs and I can't remember what it was but she was incredible. She's the violin professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
The hotel we're staying in is called the Hotel Grand Park, and it's amazing! Croatia has a huge tourism industry, and Dubrovnik is a very popular destination in the summer. We're here in the off season, so some smaller businesses are closed for the winter, but we can see everything without big crowds and enjoy the views regardless. The food here is excellent, there's a local seafood dish every night and delicious sausages in the breakfast buffet. I also had a back massage at the spa, it was only $20 for 30 minutes and it was awesome. There's a Jacuzzi and sauna as well as a pool filled with sea water from the Adriatic.
Edo found a piano in the hotel cafe/bar and serenaded us on the first night with some traditional Bosnian tunes.
Our room is on the 4th floor (or 5th in American terms, they don't count the ground floor as a number in Europe) and we have a great view of the sunrise every morning.
It's 8am and we're ready to PARTY!!
Old Town Dubrovnik is about 4km away from our hotel, we took the bus once but it's really not too bad of a walk. Plus when we walk we can enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean and the architecture of the more recent (read: 19th century) buildings in the city.
The DM here has the biggest gluten-free shelf I've seen in this part of Europe!
On our way to Old Town we can see a bunch of small inlet beaches.
Almost every city in Europe has a love lock fence apparently.
I climbed down a steep trail to get closer to the ocean, but I could only go so far without actual repelling gear. Chihiro stayed up on the wall so if I fell in she could call someone.
The University of Dubrovnik has a beautiful stone building. I went to the wrong college!!
The streets of Old Town are almost 1000 years old. The Republic of Dubrovnik was established in about 1100 AD.
I still think it's funny that the Croatian/Bosnian/Serbian abbreviation for the USA is SAD... especially next to our sad exchange rate.
There are a lot of stray cats around, not as many dogs as Sarajevo.
Chihiro really likes taking pictures.
This was the best cappuccino I've had in a long time. The hotel cafe is incredibly delicious.
The breakfast buffet is delicious, and the view is incredible! Unfortunately we only have the view for breakfast, by the time dinner starts the sun has gone down.
I went running and found this.
Admir and Arvida are the cutest couple alive. We had a lot of fun taking pictures on the pier in Old Town.
We tried to ride in the cable car, but the high winds kept it from running. We're going to try tomorrow, so hopefully it will be open!
Dubrovnik was attacked by the Yugoslav army in 1991, and they have maps and memorials all over the Old Town area. A number of important cultural monuments and institutions suffered damage.
There are still a lot of beautiful statues and sights in the city, and the damage has been repaired for the most part.
Sleepy kitties are everywhere!
We visited the Rector's Palace and found the special dungeon for extra dangerous criminals.
Arvida played a beautiful piece at one of the night concerts, and this little guy went on right before her. He's the youngest participant at the seminar, he played a piece from memory at only 8 years old!
Chihiro has been harassing Admir for love story part two, but he's managed to escape for a couple meals.
The breakfast here is SO. GOOD.
The view for practicing isn't half bad.
Chihiro thinks this sign is hilarious because the guy is showing you how to run down the stairs and escape.
We visited this store in Old Town, and Chihiro almost blew all her money. The watches were about 600Kn, or $125.
I love the old signs pointing to the different sites in Old Town.
I took a video of Arvida's performance, and it took us awhile to figure out how to use DropBox.
We saw the Maritime Museum today, and it was awesome how much stuff they managed to procure. I'm kind of obsessed with nautical stuff anyways, and this just fed the addiction.
We walked the city walls on the way to the Maritime Museum.
Chihiro loves being a tourist.
We saw this at DM... only in Croatia.
The sunset was beautiful tonight.
We also have a full moon to enjoy!
I brought my umbrella to make sure it didn't rain. Because if I hadn't brought my umbrella, I can guarantee it would have rained really really hard.
It's been an amazing week, so relaxing and fun. We've gotten to hang out with Admir and Arvida a lot, and it's been great to get to know them better. My Bosnian is improving, I learned how to ask/tell the time and I can almost remember how to say good night. (Baby steps, people) I can't believe we have to go back to work on Monday. How rude.