In Transit – Mostar to Dubrovnik
Bosnians seem to have a strange devotion to Hotel California by The Eagles. We hear it at least twice on the bus from Mostar to Dubrovnik as we sweep past vineyards and floodplain.
The queue for the border crossing into Croatia snakes back with drivers fatalistically settling in for an hours long wait. Our bus driver has no time for this polite but long-winded approach to border crossing so in true Balkan fashion he swerves out into the opposite lane, pulling over abruptly when there is oncoming traffic, only stopping momentarily before speeding off towards the border again.
This gets us to the border in no time and we have to go through the formalities of handing over our passports to one border guard, getting them back after half an hour the handing them over to a second border guard who stamps them and returns them another half hour later. A chinese girl gets taken off the bus for questioning and our impatient bus driver is in such a hurry to leave that she almost gets left behind but for the insistent shouts of her boyfriend.
As we approach Dubrovnik a thunderstorm closes in and the rain turns the landscape grey. The locals continue to swim in the sea, wallowing like seals, completely unperturbed by the inclement weather.
Dubrovnik distinguishes itself from the other places on this trip so far by being the first place that we have regularly heard British voices and also by the lack of pigeons. Two very niche observations but sometimes it is the small details that make all the difference between unfamiliar places.
Our hostel is on top of the hillside that slopes upwards from the sea and has excellent views over the city. It seems that almost the entire hillside has been converted into apartments for rent so if you do go to Dubrovnik and want to avoid the ridiculous prices in the old city then consider staying up there.
To finish off the day we make our way down into the old city to see what it is like at night. The answer is busy. A sea of couples are simultaneously searching for the most exquisite seafood dinner so we dodge them and get ice cream. The city is lit up beautifully and I can see why travel writers tend to wax lyrical about this place but I am glad that I am not travelling alone just yet because Dubrovnik is a terrible place for somebody on their own, there are couples everywhere!
We stay a while soaking up the relaxed atmosphere of the place before heading back to the apartment. Tomorrow we shall see how different Dubrovnik is during the daytime.