The ship arrived today at about 1pm. Usually the ship can dock right at the port and everyone can get off the boat nice and smoothly but some of the ports are small and will not allow ships as big as NCL to dock, so they have to anchor a bit further out and have small ferry boats bring groups of people to the dock. Today was one of those days so we got our ticket and waited for our boarding number to be called.
The city of Dubrovnik was very cool. As soon as we pulled up, we could see the huge fortress wall surrounding the city center. There was an opening where the harbor was and we could see people were walking up on top of the wall which was clearly where they used to look out for enemies. We went the opposite way of the city center first. There were herds of people so we thought we would take some time to explore other areas first.
We walked into a hotel to get a map and were told about a hike that would take us to the top of the city. First they told us to continue down the road where there were some small ruins and a secret swimming spot. We walked down the road and up the steps along the cliff and found the spot. Although we were in a city of many people, there were only a small handful of people here swimming and sunbathing…one without her top I might add. We took pictures of the small cove and stopped for a few moments to take in the view.
We walked back towards and past the city center… up the many steps and steep pathways until we saw the entrance to the hike. It was a rocky dirt path and it was uphill the entire time…zig-zagging back and fourth unveiling views greater than the last as we kept climbing. The sun was hot and we were glad we brought water with us. As we stopped to take a breath, we would also take a picture. We could see the whole city enclosed completely by the fortress walls with only the brick colored roof tops peeking out as well as islands throughout the landscape.
Once at the top, we reached the Fort Imperial-constructed in 1806, a symbol of defense for Dubrovnik specifically in their 1991 war. The building had a few rooms set up with information on the 1991 war…old weapons used, film showing some of the actual bombs and people could walk through what was left of the building. After we walked through and learned about what those people went through, we hiked back down to the bottom and over to the old center.
Once inside the walls, we saw the city and its huge streets, many restaurants, shops and tourists. We had to board the ship soon so were walking briskly through, admiring how beautiful it was with its shiny white stone streets and detailed architecture. We got lost in the crowd and back alleys and then made our way through the wall and to the harbor where we boarded the little ferry-boat to get back to the ship.
For dinner, we went to our favorite restaurant onboard…Le Bistro. It is a white linen French restaurant and the food is very good. The cover charge is $20 per person but well worth it. For starters…Giff had a mixed salad served with sliced duck and I had 4 baby cones filled with various salads…one was chicken, one duck, one veggie and one smoked salmon. Then we shared scallops with a tomato and pine nut relish. We followed that with grilled lamb chops for Giff and fillet mignon for me. And even though we should have said no to the dessert being we had so much food…we just couldn’t. They brought out homemade ganache chocolates, a chocolate hazelnut tort and a creme brûlée…yum.
Very full and content we made our way to the casino where we gambled before going to bed. Tomorrow is a sea day…no ports to visit.
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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One Reply to “Day 174 of 400: Dubrovnik – Croatia”
Hello GIff and Brandey…. This is where I have family … family name Mihaljevic…. How exciting for me that you are visiting there! My Aunt Dorothy traveled to Croatia many many times! Enjoy!! Love, ellen