On my way out of the barbershop I happened to notice a sign for sea kayaking – one of the activities on my list for the Adriatic – so I wandered down to the waterfront to inquire about the price and schedule. Though a tad on the expensive side, the tour was leaving at that very moment, and as the weather seemed to be clearing up I figured the timing was about as perfect as it would get.
…Until I paddled my way out into the water. Just outside the city’s protective cove, the typically glass-like sea was actually treacherously choppy, due to the wind. This meant that a trip which usually loops all the way around Lokrum island had to be cut in half, as we could only stay within its protection from the waves of the open water.
Oh well, at least I did it. I guess Mother Nature just won’t be on my side for this particular trip…
Halfway through the outing we stopped for a light lunch in a small beach cove where I survived yet another near-miss with disaster: when getting out of my kayak I foolishly forgot that I’d placed my (underwater) camera on my lap, until I stood on the sand and realized it was gone.
But miraculously, I was able to find it – bouncing around in the waves just beyond the shoreline, where I’d first jumped out of the boat. Because all of Croatia’s natural beaches are either rock or pebble, there was no sand under which it could be buried; I saw the silver twinkle of its metal case almost instantly, and guess I lucked out that the lens hadn’t smashed itself on a rock during the few moments it was tumbling under the breaking tide.
After we returned to the mainland I wrapped up my day with a brisk 50-minute climb to the peak of the mountain overlooking the city, for a postcard-perfect bird’s eye view of the old city and its surroundings. The effort was well worth it.
One thing I found particularly interesting about this little excursion was the fact that the castle at the peak – which *looked* from below like it must definitely be a major tourist attraction – turned out to be a falling apart, empty, abandoned pile of near-rubble. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t so much as mentioned in my Lonely Planet, but for something perched high atop a mountain overlooking the entire city, you’d think they’d capitalize on that prime real estate a bit more.
Also interesting were the remains of numerous wartime trenches scattered about the hilltop; now a beautiful field of daisies overlooking the sea on one side and the Bosnian countryside on the other, it’s hard to imagine that less than two decades ago this had been the site of a desperate fight for survival.
By the time I made it down the mountain it was somewhere around 7pm, and although the sun was still out, I was so pooped from the kayaking and the mountain hike and walking hundreds of stairs around the city walls that the mere thought of a 25-minute trek home seemed like more than enough – so I started back.
Good thing too, because as it turned out I had to walk down and up the hill *again* just to get to the ATM and withdraw enough cash for dinner; that kayaking trip wiped out nearly every Kuna I had on me. And since I was already down there, I took the opportunity to drop by the bus station and investigate tickets onward to Sarajevo – a decision that came in unexpectedly handy the following morning, when a little encounter led to my departure from Dubrovnik more than 24 hours earlier than planned.
But I’ll save that story for tomorrow.