Oct 8, 2017 – Happy birthday to my dear friend Charmayne! 🎂🎉🎂
No schedule today, so I woke up without an alarm and was still the first one for breakfast. I thought either I was early or everyone was gone before me.
Today we decide we will take a 2 hour sightseeing tour of Dubrovnik. The bus stops just outside our hotel and off we go. The tour was very interesting and we saw a fair amount of the city. There are only 50,000 permanent residents so it is not a very large city.
At times there are 3 or 4 large Cruiseship’s in port (today there are 3) which makes for large crowds. We found this out when we got off our tour at the Pile (pronounce Pee-lay) Gate at one of the entrances to the Old Town. The throngs of people were almost unmanageable and once inside the walls we immediately aborted our idea to walk the walls. We have tomorrow and will come back early in the morning.
We breathed a sigh of relief when we left the area and decided to walk back to our hotel in the Lapad area. It is around 3km and was a lovely walk. We decided to head down the promenade and stopped for ice cream and cappuccino, a wonderful combination. The small cafe was empty when we arrived and before long was full as we kept saying to passers by, it is excellent ice cream!
Back to the hotel eventually and we rested before heading down to the dining room for our buffet dinner. We are staying three nights so the hotel provides one buffet dinner. It was very good!
Oct 9, 2017 – Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃🦃🦃
Today is the day we walk the walls of old town Dubrovnik. We left the hotel shortly before 9am and waited for the bus that never came. I finally went and inquired at the front desk and found out that the road has been closed and we needed to walk to the Main Street to catch the bus. This we did and we arrived at Pile Gate around 9:30am.
There is only one small ship (300+ passengers) in today so there are not too many people on the wall – yet. It is a total of 2km but it took us two hours to complete as there were photo ops at every turn. As we were nearing the end of our loop, it was getting much busier and hotter and we were happy to be finishing. We walked through the town and chose a cafe for a nice cool sparkling water and lemonade.
Doris & Caroline have booked a kayak tour for 1:30, so they make their way to the meet spot, Ellen decides to walk the Lapad peninsula and Lois & I do a bit of shopping. We don’t find much but enjoy the leisurely pace. We decide we have had enough of Old Town and walk back to the hotel.
When the ladies return from kayaking we head out to Peppers Restaurant, just down the street, for a lovely dinner. Sadly this is our last night in Croatia, and although I am feeling weary, I will really miss the group, the camaraderie and Europe!
Oct 10, 2017 – and a happy birthday to my dear friend Nancy 🎉🎂🎉
Up before 7am and my alarm, we do the final pack and head downstairs for breakfast and are ready for our taxi service to the airport. We are half an hour early and are first in the check-in line.
We are not able to check our bags through to Vancouver as we are landing in London Gatwick and departing from London Heathrow (less than 4 hours later). This has been a source of some sleeplessness and worry and I was hoping we could at least have boarding passes for all flights. Not going to happen, although we did get priority bag tags so our bags will hopefully get off first.
Checked in and bags away, we go through security and passport control which both take an interminable amount of time. Finally through we are plopped into Duty Free – hooray! Here we find all sorts of lovely Croatian food items – perfect for home. We are happy campers.
Our flight is a few minutes late departing and then poof we have landed at Gatwick airport. It seemed to take no time. We walk as quickly as we can to passport control and ugh, a huge snakelike line-up. It moved quickly, however we were about 1/2 hour late for our transfer service. Thankfully I had called him to let him know where we were.
Doru, our driver, had a thick Romanian accent, and was quite the character! Once he got it sorted with his office that yes, there should be four of us and not one, he picked up the pace. I was on pins and needles as I wanted to get to Heathrow as quickly as possible. He had a lovely VW Sharan SUV which fit us and our luggage perfectly. Finally, we are on the motorway and he becomes Mario Andretti! He promises to have us at Terminal 3 by 3:35pm – it is 2:55pm. Wow, that would be a mere miracle.
The M25 can be as fickle as the Lions Gate bridge or the second narrows so I was holding my breath. Ellen was up front, encouraging him and on photo camera duty – hilarious. He was very funny and was a fantastic driver. He was thrilled that we were in a hurry as he loved to drive his car fast. We weaved in and out of traffic and thankfully today was a light traffic day. Although the road signs and his GPS pointed one direction for Terminal 3, he knew a better way. We headed to Terminal 5, made a detour and arrived at Terminal 3 seven minutes early at 3:28pm. Absolutely amazing, and with great humour and lots of laughs – a very pleasant journey.
Ok, now for the check-in and security! We have just under two hours so we should be ok, let’s just pray for short lines. Someone is definitely watching over us (I know Fero has asked God to watch over and I am sure Mom & Dad are helping as well!) as there is a very short line-up at the British Airways counter and when we head up to security there is literally NO line up!!! We can’t believe our eyes! I commented to the security fellow – “where is everyone?” His reply was “shhhhhh, don’t jinx it”.
We whizzed through and to our gate and before we knew it, we were in the air and on our way back home to Vancouver. What a glorious month it has been!!!