Monday, July 21, 2014

Walking the Walls of Dubrovnik

The night we leave Venice, there's quite a storm -- thunder, lightening, the whole bit. Maybe that's why there was flooding on the Venetian waterfront. We don't really feel the storm here on the Azamara Quest. But we can see it, through the windows, and it lasts all night. In the morning, there's an announcement. The storm has damaged our radar guidance system. (Perhaps we got hit by lightening) So we won't be going to Korkula, as scheduled, but straight on to Dubrovnik, for repairs. We've had tours every day, so this afternoon in Dubrovnik is a "day off" for both of us and we enjoy a leisurely walk along the marina, watching people fish.

Just as well, because the next morning, we tackle the walls of Dubrovnik. The brochure warns that there are 150 steps, and we've been practicing at home, walking up the stairs to our condo instead of using the elevator. This, I tell Xingxing, will be a piece of cake.  We make it up the first two long, steep flights. Just like I said, a piece of cake. Then I realize they lied. After those first 150 steps, there are at least 500 more.

The walls are worth it. The view from up here is amazing. Much more so than in the Old City itself, you get the feel of what it might have been like to live in a medieval walled city during the Middle Ages. You look down at the hundreds of houses, huddled together along the narrow streets within the walls. Seeing everything from above is a whole new perspective. But the walls follow the lie of the land, so you are constantly going up and down, and up and down. Many, many steps. Xingxing trots gamely along. Good thing we're doing this while you're still young, I tell him. 

Halfway around, there's a way down. But we've come this far, and it seems a shame not to completely circumnavigate the walls, having made such a noble start.  So that's what we do. Carefully. Taking our time. Somehow, we've become separated from the rest of the group. We've probably fallen behind. So what? It's not a race. We soldier on, and eventually find ourselves back at the starting point. We make our careful way down the steep, steep steps. (Going down is actually more difficult than going up) We've done it! Three cheers for Xingxing, who is probably the only Shih Tzu in the world to have walked all the way around the walls of Dubrovnik! And three cheers for me, too.

We sit in the shade beside the big fountain, catching our breath. A kindly English family brings Xingxing a cup of cold water. It feels so good to sit down that we stay here for rather a while, watching tour groups come and go. Our guide appears, flustered. She was worried about us. Apparently, we'd somehow gotten ahead of the group. Never mind. Everything's fine. And now we can truly and honestly we've walked the walls of Dubrovnik.

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