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Trip Report Back from Dubrovnik, Split, Montenegro, Florence and Venice

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Back from trip to Croatia, Florence and Venice.

Half the fun of going on vacation is planning for the trip itself. Seeing the hotels, sights and attractions and comparing them with the mental images during the planning process is fun. So we finally made it. We started in Dubrovnik and ended our vacation in Venice.

DBV airport is small and easy to navigate. Immigration line was long ( could be because we were there in peak season in the first week of July) but everything else was fast and efficient. Just outside the airport are the buses that whisks arriving passengers into town in about 30 minutes. We took this bus and were dropped off just outside the Pile Gate which is a mere few hundred yards from our home for the next 4 nights - the Grand Imperial Hilton. From the bus stop, it was a slightly uphill 3 minute walk to our hotel.

The Hilton is well located and we are very pleased with our accomodation, the service as well as the free breakfast and early evening hors d'ouvres offered. We booked using Hilton points, and definitely great value for those points. The free breakfast as well as the evening hors d ouvres saved us quite a bit as we only had to eat out for lunch. In all of the 4 days, the lunch ( usually pasta, some seafood and risotto ) was heavy that we only wanted light snacks for dinner. The unlimited Coke light was also something to look forward to at the end of a busy sightseeing day.

After a short nap, we headed out to the old town by around 6 pm. We had the benefit of long days for sightseeing during our visit, the sun didnt set until past 8. On the other hand, summer travel brought huge crowds into the city. The stradun was packed with tourists and cruisers on day trips. Somehow, we managed to enjoy the old town and its offerings. The first thing I noticed was how shiny the pedestrian-only streets are in the old town. I could imagine how slippery they must be when it's raining.

Our first stop was the old well just as soon as we entered the Pile Gate. Then on to St Blaise's church where there was a costumed choir practicing. They are giving a free concert at 8 pm so we made a note to return around that time. I couldnt help but notice how well they hold up to the heat and humidy. They are all dressed up and made up and have no visible signs of sweat and here we are, in shorts and t shirts and all sweaty.
We sat near Onofrio's column to admire the clock and the tower and the surrrounding architecture. There are several tour groups with guides explaining the sights in various different language. We climbed the clocktower for a nice view of the stradun and the shiny marble street.

We returned to the church to listen to the hour long concert. The choir sang religious songs a capella (sp?), similar to evensong at churches in England. By the time we stepped out of St Blaise, a live band was playing at Troubadour Bar, just to the right of the church steps. Tonight, they're singing songs by the Beatles. We sat down and ordered some cold drinks and the band continued to play and sing English songs.

Our first day is going very well but we decided to walk back to our hotel to prepare for a busy sightseeing day tomorrow. There will be lots of stairs to conquer tomorrow ...

to be continued...

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