Following Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, and Ljubljana/Bled, I finally (somehow) made it to the final destination of my backpacking trip: Dubrovnik, Croatia!
The trip getting here wasn’t easy, but after two (very long) FlixBus rides and even a few country border crossings, I finally made it! I walked nearly an hour from the bus stop to my hotel after an overnight bus ride, and once I made it, I could finally relax in my own paradise.
I was truly amazed by the Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. Because I visited during the winter (off-season) just a couple of weeks after the reopening of the hotel, I got an incredible deal that included my own room, balcony, and bathroom, breakfast and dinner daily, and access to the indoor pools and sauna. I guess you could say it was a bit different from the 9-20 euro/night hostels that I had gotten used to!
The first thing I did upon arrival was take a long shower, followed by a very long nap. Then, I watched the sunset and enjoyed dinner in the dining room.
I had no idea what to expect from the food, especially because there were so few guests here, but I was thoroughly impressed. Throughout my stay, I tried a variety of dishes at the main restaurant, including shrimp and asparagus risotto, beef carpaccio, vegetable spring rolls, caprese salad, and, or course, chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.
Later on that evening, I spent some time relaxing and planning the rest of my stay in Dubrovnik.
Saturday morning, I enjoyed a delicious brunch at the hotel and then headed into the Dubrovnik Old City. After waiting for a walking tour guide that never arrived, I decided to venture out and do some exploring myself.
I began with a promenade along the Walls of Dubrovnik. This is a must-see attraction for all visitors to the city, as it gives you gorgeous views of the entire main town, as well as the surrounding beaches and water.
Once I had seen everything from above, I decided to return to the ground and wander some more. I did some shopping in the area and visited the bell tour, port, monastery, palace, and other attractions in the area.
I followed this exploring with some lounging on the nearby Lapad Beach before grabbing some gelato for lunch and returning to my hotel.
At the hotel that evening, I enjoyed a wonderful massage at the wellness center, as well as some authentic Croatian wine and a long night’s sleep.
While I had originally planned to do a day trip to Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina during my third day in Dubrovnik, instead, I chose to embrace the feeling of a true vacation and relax at the resort. I ate brunch, watched a few too many episodes of Love Is Blind, went for a swim in the indoor pool, and read a bit of my book, all with the amazing view of the Adriatic Sea right in front of me.
That evening, I packed my bags and reflected on what an amazing adventure the past two weeks of travel and adventure had been.
My final day in Dubrovnik was a travel day, so after getting breakfast and checking out of my hotel, I headed to the airport. After successfully reserving and making it to 8 buses, 3 hostels, 3 flights, and 1 hotel, however, something had to go wrong on my trip…
My early afternoon flight from Zagreb to Frankfurt was delayed, making me miss my flight from Frankfurt to Paris and therefore keeping me in Frankfurt overnight. While the airline was helpful enough to book me a new flight for the next morning, as well as a hotel for the night, I was definitely less than pleased by the poor transportation directions I received, as well as the lack of vegetables (or really anything other than frozen pizza) available at my accommodation.
Finally, on day 5 of this leg of the trip and day 13 of the overall adventure, I made it back to Paris! Going on such a complex trip to unfamiliar places with different languages, currencies, and cultures definitely brought its fair share of stress and discomfort along the way, but overall, my time in Eastern Europe allowed me to take time to learn more about these unique places, as well as what I value when it comes to travels and vacations.
While the Vacances d’Hiver had come to a close, I was satisfied knowing that there were plenty more adventures coming up soon! Stay tuned to hear about how I spend the end of my 2021-2022 TAPIF contract and school year in Paris.
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