Shifting our itinerary slightly to avoid the larger cruise ships in the area, we spent the day anchored off the magnificent walled city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was heavily bombed in the wars of the early 1990s but has since been reconstructed. Some of us opted for an early start to climb up the medieval city walls with Zrinka, our Croatian guide. We enjoyed sweeping views of the sparkling seas and of the city below from the walls. Others opted for a more leisurely start to the day on a walking tour, carefully timed to occur before the crowds arrived on Stradun, the city’s main street. The tour explored some of the city’s fascinating side streets and ended at the peaceful and secluded Franciscan monastery, which boasts the oldest pharmacy still in operation in Europe.
With tenders running to and from the ship throughout the day, we could choose our own schedule, although many opted to return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon swim in the refreshing Adriatic. On the Lido Deck, Zrinka offered a presentation on the complex history of Yugoslavia in the twentieth century, including personal aspects of her family’s experiences during the turbulent 1990s. Once the heat of the day began to fade, we returned to the old city for a private performance of traditional, a capella klappa music by the group Klapa Ostro. Following the performance, many guests returned for dinner on the ship, while others took advantage of the cooler evening air to stroll Dubrovnik’s medieval streets. The day’s busy program concluded with Max, our photo instructor, leading a night photography walk around this intricate city.