Trip Report
A visit to Dubrovnik, some sailing in Croatia, & an Octoberfest Party on the way home.
Sunday October 15, 2017 9:29pm
Heidi & I were invited to visit the walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia & then go sailing for 7 days through the coastal islands Northwest of Dubrovnik with 8 "old" friends in mid-September.

It seemed like an adventure, even though the climber-friends that put the trip together, told us there would be little climbing, but a lot of sailing & hiking.

After a long day one getting there, we toured the walled city of Dubrovnik the next morning. It's quite a scenic place & a Unesco World-Heritage site, but still a "living-city," where the locals deal with hoardes of tourists, no cars, & steep stairs on most side streets. Dubrovnik is also known to fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones, as King's Landing, so that brings in still more tourists. There were a lot of tourists, but the "old-town" is pretty amazing for folks that like history.

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The history of Croatia & The Balkans is convoluted & somewhat dark, but one of the later dark chapters was when Croatia was fighting for independence from what was once Yugoslavia in 1991. The remainder of the Yugoslavian army besieged & bombarded greater Dubrovnik & the old walled city. Our 70- something tour-guide lived through the siege & told us stories during our tour about the destruction & suffering the residents lived through. Towards the end of the story, she smiled & said "it was the skinniest I have been, since I was a teen-ager."

When I looked up the history of that nasty little war, the big bombardment day for Dubrovnik recorded this:
The heaviest bombardment of the Old Town started at 5:48 am on 6 December. The Old Town was struck by 48 82-millimetre (3.2 in) missiles, 232 82-millimetre (3.2 in) and 364 120-millimetre (4.7 in) mortar shells, as well as 22 wire-guided missiles

The war is over, Croatia is still mostly Catholic, English is the second language, everywhere we went folks were friendly, & everything was clean & tidy. Croatia has also joined the European Union & is a NATO member. It's a great place to tourist about.

On day two, our group hiked endless steps, then a pleasant trail, up to a Napolianic fort above the city & a great view.

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Late that afternoon, we left in our chartered 45' catamaran for 7 days of sailing & hiking, with an occasional swim or snorkal along the way.

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We enjoyed exploring islands along the way & always found friendly locals that spoke English & liked our money.

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On Lastovo, our friends did a 12 mile hike that included hiking the summit of the highest mountain on the island. Heidi & I broke off, did some group grocery shopping in the island center town of Lastovo, hiked up to a windy high point, & only achieved about 6 miles & 1,000' vetical. It was Ok, since my old left knee had been hurting for the last 3 weeks from geriatric overuse.

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Looking down to the town of Lastovo.
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We had anchored in a small harbor at the scenic small port town of Zapopatika.

A fair number of boats backed into the shore there, so their passengers could party in the town, but another 10 or so boats anchored in the bay, for free. That of course, included us, since we like free. Just before dark, a French-flag catamaran parked a little too close to us, but at the end of a big day, Captain Daniele just muttered about those fukers, & didn't do anything.
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Heidi caught the French boat in her twilight photo.

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About 4:00 A.M. in a windstorm, the French boat dragged anchor & drifted into us. There were some impressive crashes as its stern hit our bow. We all rushed on deck & found our irate Captain trying to rouse the French Captain to action. After our bow put some impressive holes in their stern, without doing significant damage to our boat, the French finally moved away. We too motored out to open water in the dark, since a minor storm was building.


Did we sink or survive? Stay tuned for more!

  Trip Report Views: 1,393
Fritz
About the Author
Fritz is a trad climber from Choss Creek, ID.

Comments
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Oct 15, 2017 - 09:36pm PT
Just before dark a French-flag catamaran parked a little too close to us

What could go wrong? You shoulda boarded the blighters.

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Oct 15, 2017 - 09:38pm PT
1000' of gain, nothing wrong with that.

nice TR
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Oct 15, 2017 - 09:41pm PT
Late afternoon, a Russian flag much bigger boat parked a little too close to us. After Captain Daniele gave them stink-eye for an hour, the skipper finally waved & moved to the other side of the harbor.

I think Captain Daniele (who is quite the Italian sailor) was out of bile, until the French boat hit us. Then he generated more bile.
crankster

Trad climber
No. Tahoe
  Oct 15, 2017 - 10:31pm PT
Nice, Fritz. Was there a few years ago...the Dalmatian Coast is awesome. As you know, it was the playground for the ancient Romans, so much history at bargain prices.
Bargainhunter

climber
  Oct 15, 2017 - 11:04pm PT
"We... always found friendly locals that spoke English & liked our money."

Ha! Cool trip. Dubrovnik looks amazing. Thank you for sharing.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Oct 16, 2017 - 01:01am PT
I hope that knee doesn't give you more trouble than it already does, Fritz.

Dubrovnik is a very special place. I hope you were able to find some pleasing local potables.

Thanks for the trip and more pics, if you have 'em, would be nice.

Hello, Heidi!
zip

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
  Oct 16, 2017 - 03:56am PT
Nice tr. thanks.
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Moab, Bozeman, the ocean, or ?
  Oct 16, 2017 - 07:31am PT
Best! What a great adventure!

Susan
Q- Ball

Mountain climber
but to scared to climb them anymore
  Oct 16, 2017 - 08:51am PT
Thanks for the trip report! I have always wanted to see that part of the world.
Q
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Oct 17, 2017 - 04:23pm PT
We had some rough seas on our way to the island of Korcula, but other than Captain Danielle, everyone got some sleep. I finally couldn't take the pitching of the boat in our small cabin & shortly after daybreak, I went up to the main cabin, where trip co-sponsor Pete & our cook & logistics manager Statia were mostly not sleeping.

I settled in, started feeling a little nausous, & finally borrowed a Dramamine from Statia. Happpily, no-one on the trip ever got seasick.

The rising sun revealed a dark & threatening sky.

By the time we reached the Northeast side of the island & approached the port city of Korcula, the seas had calmed & we stopped for some breakfast. After that we motored up to the scenic walled city of Old Korcula.

Our Captain dropped us all off at the municipal dock & the group set off around the bay with another ambitious hike in threatening conditions planned. Heidi & I dropped out after a while & returned to the walled city for exploration & lunch. Most of Korcula, inside the wall, is off limits to vehicles, but is still a "living-city" with narrow streets, lots of steps, & drying laundry hanging above the streets. It is also much visited by tourists & although there are bunches of restaurants along the top of the city wall, they were crowded. We found a table at a pizza place & enjoyed a great lunch for a reasonable price.




After lunch we hiked around the city some more, then spent a while in the town museum, & discovered the island had a tough time of it in WWII. The Italians invaded in 1941 & left in 1943. After a brief period of self-rule, during which the local partisans became the island army, the Germans invaded & took the island in a bloody fight. Along the way, the island & city were bombed heavily by the English, Americans, & Germans.

It then rained heavily, our friends returned from their hike, & we found everyone for an afternoon round of spritzers, then we were off to our boat, a nearby anchorage, dinner & celebration.

Our friends:

A fine dinner of Statia's homemade meatballs in olive oil, pasta, vegies, & crispy bread, along with some red wine was a nice ending (we thought) for the day.


That night, a storm hit at about 3:00 A.M. & we dragged anchor. The most experienced hands, Danielle, Stuart, Pete, & Kim went on deck to deal with the situation, while the rest of us tried to hold onto our bunks. After several anchor raises & lowers, there was a loud BANG when one of the bolts holding the anchor chain to the capstan sheared. Happily, there was a back-up bolt.

After a rough night, the waters again calmed, but a new crisis arose when Statia discovered we were out of propane-gas for the stove. The conclusion was reached that the boat-rental folks had not fully filled either of our 5-gallon canisters, since if there was a leak in the system, we would have noticed it when the boat exploded.

We headed to the nearby port-town of Orebic for gas & hot caffinated drinks, which we all needed after the rough night.

Stay tuned for more adventures folks!
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Oct 16, 2017 - 11:03am PT
Sweet Trip. I've had several friends visit over there. One of the best places in Europe.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 16, 2017 - 11:58am PT
This is awesome Fritz🍻
Glad to see you and Heidi still getting after it!!
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Oct 16, 2017 - 02:45pm PT
Nice, keep it coming.
johntp

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Oct 16, 2017 - 07:51pm PT
Nice! My heritage is part slovenian; need to get out that way soon. I'd love to see the slovenian alps.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Oct 16, 2017 - 06:29pm PT
We spent a couple weeks in Croatia this time last year...nice!

Looks like a fun trip!
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Oct 16, 2017 - 07:44pm PT
Thanks all for your positive posts. I have a 90 mile drive tomorrow to see a highly recommended physician about my old left knee. I intend to post more updates, but it may be on Weds.

Re wine drinking questions. Our group immersed themselves in Croatian wines, & some outside Prosecco, beer, Gin, etc. The white wines went down fine, but the red wines fought back.

A Dubrovnik wine shop proprietor prescribed two bottle of the local high alcohol red wine, a Dingac. It was about 15.5% alcohol & when I mentioned I liked high-alcohol California Zinfandels, she leaned in and knowingly replied: "Yes, your Zinfandels, came from our Dingac vines."

It was pretty yummy, but after a while, had a slightly bitter aftertase. We bought more though, at about $10.00 a bottle.


Otherwise, the other local red wines, mostly Postups, didn't have much bouquet & were on the acidic side, but on a sailboat, who really cares?

Here's Wikipedia on Dingac & the other local wines we mostly consumed.

Dingač is a wine growing region on the Pelješac Peninsula in the Dalmatian region of Croatia that is part of the larger, Coastal (Primorska) Region. Situated on the southwestern facing slope of the Zabrada mountains between the small villages of Trstenik and Podobuče, it is a highly regarded area for growing the autochthonous Croatian red wine grape, Plavac Mali.[1]

Like the neighboring Postup region, the land is very rugged karst with little top soil. This attribute, in addition to the level of sunlight (2800 hours annually), 45 degree slope, and weather make for ideal red wines growing conditions which are planted from sea level up to 300 m.[1] The wines derived from this area are eligible for a "stamp of geographic origin" if they meet a series of strict requirements[2] and can reach upwards of 17.6% alcohol
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Oct 17, 2017 - 07:48am PT
Nice, fritz, really nice.
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
  Oct 17, 2017 - 03:47pm PT
Yet another excellent TR, Fritz!

Thank you for bringing us along with you and Heidi.

BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Oct 17, 2017 - 04:08pm PT
Cool, looks like a fine adventure!!
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Oct 18, 2017 - 04:57pm PT
After paying to park our boat at the marina in Orebic, we tourists found a pastry shop for our hot caffinated fluids fix & a yuumy or two. Then we sauntered back to the boat to find that our bosses had recieved new propane & made more coffee.

The hikers were off to climb the mountain that looms over the port, Mount Ilija, with a planned round-trip of about 12 miles & 3,200 vertical feet.

Heidi & I decided on an alternative hike up to the Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Angels, from the 15th century, which sets on the edge of a cliff a couple miles above the port & Captain Danielle thought that hike was about right for him. We walked the local malecon for about a 1/2 mile, cut through a hotel, & found a steep trail that took us up to the little-used road to the monestary.





After paying to tour the monestary, the attendent bustled inside & brought us a bowl of local grapes as a welcome treat. There is a small maritime museum there with models, photos, & paintings of ships that plied the local seas. Since Orebic sets on a long peninsula that connects to the mainland, it has a long maritime & ferryboat to the islands history.

There is some sport climbing on limestone in the area & on our hike back to our boat, we noticed some small crags that were developed, just above the town.

We made it back to the marina by about 1:00 PM & the Captain went off in search of lunch, while Heidi & I ate the lunch we had packed for the hike, at a shady bench. Then we hiked around the small town, Heidi got to enjoy shopping, & we ended up at a nice grocery store which had more of our favorite Dingac wine, which is produced nearby.

After the mountaineers returned, it was decided we would stay the night in our berth & not have another adventure at sea. No-one argued & we all adjourned to a nearby bar for a round of spritzers to celebrate, before dinner on the boat.

The next day we took off early for our return to Dubrovnik with a favorable wind at our backs. Danielle shared the wheel, with Katie, Lisa, & Heidi, but only Heidi lasted at it. She sailed us for a couple hours while Danielle took a lunch break & exclaimed that we were doing 10.5 knots.


We stopped in scenic coves twice for swimming, & snorkle breaks & made it into the Dubrovnik marina just at dark, had dinner & one last night on the boat. The next day, we left the boat behind & for our last night we settled into a nice hotel with a concrete beach. Coastal Croatia is somewhat short on sandy beaches & Dubrovnik beaches are stony or concrete like these.

That evening we bussed into Old Town for a "last supper" at a busy restaurant, just outside the impressive city walls. A cello & keyboard duo entertained the crowd & we were amused enough to tip them, when they played a nice rendition of the Game of Thrones theme-song.

The next day our group of friends parted & Heidi & I flew off to Munich for the big Octoberfest party.

Stay tuned for the final part!





Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Oct 18, 2017 - 10:29am PT

Ahhh.... the goood life....
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California, now Ireland
  Oct 18, 2017 - 12:11pm PT
Coolaboola Fritz. Now I have to dig up some photos of Paklenica National Park, great limestone, I only bouldered there as Jennie doesn't climb.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Oct 18, 2017 - 03:02pm PT
Cheers!!!!
--Dingnac WineToast
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Oct 19, 2017 - 11:14am PT
Heidi & I had a 5:30 PM flight out of Dubrovnik, so we rose early on our last day there, caught a bus to Old Town & paid to walk the city wall. We were early enough to beat most of the crowds, the day was pleasant & the views inspiring.



The town has a few areas of destroyed buildings near the wall, perhaps from the 1991 bombardment?

A very-few streets did not look inviting.

The boat harbor was busy.

And the cats were all content, knowing that they were secretly in charge.

We got to Munich late, bussed to an airport hotel & in the morniing took the train into the main station, the Hauptbahnhof. Our Mercur hotel was only a couple blocks away, conviently located in the slightly seedy station district. Oh & we made friends on the train with a fellow from Denmark, who had just spent a bunch of Euros on his Lederhosen & was ready to party.


We had done some brief research on the main Octoberfest party, which was conviently within walking distance. We strolled to it with crowds of jolly party-goers, with many men sporting lederhosen & checkered shirts & many women wearing dirndl costumes, which were also for sale in lots of stores.

After walking past security, who were checking backpacks on folks who looked suspicious, there was a line of cops backing up security. As we were trying to orient ourselves, the cops descended on a group of teenagers who didn't look right to them.

Inside, the party looked like a very-large state fair, with carnival rides & food shops, but the livestock barns were replaced with a number of large beer halls, which are mostly sponsored by local breweries & are called tents. Even on a Monday afternoon, those were crowded & reservations, made well in advance are recommended if you want to sit down for some serious beer drinking & eating & of course polka music.


There were a number of beer wagons along the streets for photo ops for the dirndl wearers.

Heidi & I wandered for what seemed like miles & finally started looking seriously for a venue where we could get some wine. We did resist several chances to get that favorite snack, fish on a stick.

After being told reservations only at 3 party tents, we finally found a small restaurant that wasn't crowded, served wine & spritzers, & had flush toilets. We were pretty happy too then.

Thus inspired, we wandered around some more looking at all the happy & in some cases fun people.

We resisted buying souveniers & went back to a German restaurant near our hotel for a delicious Schnitzel, with some frites & slaw.

The next morning we found our English-speaking tour group & hopped a train south to the Austrian border & mad King Ludwig's fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein. It was a scenic trip through the Bavarian country-side.


We bussed into the busy parking lot below the castle, had a quick lunch, then hiked up a mile or so to the castle, where we had tickets that got us in at precisely 2:20 PM. It was a pleasant fall day & the castle was spectacular.
Para-gliders, flying from the top of a nearby tram, added to the fun.

The tour was somewhat hurried, but interesting & did allow some nice views out.
We hiked up a little higher after the castle tour for a view back at it.


By the time we got back to Munich, we didn't have much energy left, so instead of going farther afield for an eatery, we returned for more Schnitzel.

The next day we hiked to the Marienplatz, the main downtown square. Heidi got to shop & blessedly only found chocolates, cookies, & wine to take home to friends. We did visit a quaint Toy Museum.

During our visit to a supermarket, we were starting to carry more stuff than was comfortable, so I went in search of a shopping cart & discovered you had to pay a coin to get a cart. It makes sense that the Germans would invent something to punish you for buying more items than you could carry.

We made it back to our room, packed for an early departure the next morning, & didn't eat Schnitzel for our final Euro dinner.

Lollie

Social climber
I'm Lolli.
  Oct 19, 2017 - 12:52pm PT
Dubrovnik is on the bucket list. Have only been up in the mountains of Croatia, but everyone says Dubrovnik is fantastic, and it sure does seem so from your report. Thank you for posting it.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Oct 19, 2017 - 08:56pm PT
Thank you all for your positive comments on our adventure. They are much appreciated.

As always, it was a long flight to Boise, where we over-nighted with Heidi's sister, before returning to Choss Creek.

I dropped to my knees after collecting our bags, & once again exclaimed to all: I'M NEVER GOING ANYWHERE AGAIN!! (this is part of my recovering from international travel.)

This week my knee problem was diagnosed as a meniscus tear, & I get it fixed next Wednesday. (hopefully).

Maybe, someday, I'll go somewhere again?? I'm thinking fondly of Maui this winter.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 19, 2017 - 11:38pm PT
Fritz , please post up any pictures of you in your Lederhosen 😜,
Sorry to hear about your knee 👊
Thanks for a great TR
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Oct 20, 2017 - 07:04am PT
Love this trip report Fritz.
I always found steering a sailboat to be easier with an auto-pilot;-)
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