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Report 1912: Spring Time in Croatia

By Letha from California, Spring 2011

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Page 6 of 10: Last Day in Dubrovnik and New friends - Tuesday May 3rd

photo by Oscar Saldanha

With the Rasmussen's and Momir Jelovac

This was our last full day in Dubrovnik. It was raining again so we abandoned our initial plans to take the cable car to the top of the hill in Dubrovnik. We still had a 24 hour bus pass as part of our Dubrovnik card that we had not used, so we thought we would see the rest of the old town and then take some random bus rides. We specifically wanted to see the old pharmacy and the Franciscan monastery. We also had that invitation to dinner from last night and we left it open saying that we would stroll there in the evening and see if it was ‘real’. We knew the dangers of accepting invitations from ‘strangers’ in a touristy place but somehow both of us had a good feeling.

I wanted to go to the pharmacy to pick up an ointment for an annoying lip blister that was refusing to heal, so I left Oscar to join me at the bookstore when he was ready. The book store on the stradun had become a haunt of ours and we had decided to buy "The bridge over River Drina" as a souvenir. Oscar was late getting to the book store and the reason was that he had bumped into the threesome whom we had met last night and they had reminded him about dinner! They did remember and very well, Oscar said.

We visited the Franciscan monastery, well worth it, and the had lunch at Konoba Ribar (Damjana Jude) also in the old town town that one of our tour companions had recommended (generally everyone was complaining about the food in Dubrovnik!). This was a better restaurant/food though I still hesitate to recommend it. We then headed to the bus stop, planning to use our bus pass for some random bus rides, but it started pouring again. So better sense prevailed, and we went to the tourist office to look for someone to give our bus passes to as we would not be using them. We found a British couple who had just arrived and offered it to them; they were initially a bit suspicious but were then just awed and said 'super' and took them happily.

We then went back to Villa Adriatica. I had rented a car from ‘Economy Rent A Car’ (a consolidator) from USA that was to be delivered the next morning; the local car rental agency was ‘HM rent a car’ not a multinational and with mixed reviews on line but they were cheaper and I wanted to help the local economy. We had use Economy Rent A Car previously in Greece and Spain and had no issues with them. It was a one way rental from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. I had exchanged a few e-mails from USA with the local contacts at Dubrovnik and Zagreb and had their phone numbers. We had not bothered to get a sim card this far for our GSM phone since we had Internet access at Villa Adriatica and did not really need a phone. So I had not called them since we got to Dubrovnik.

We went to the Villa Adriatica travel agency and requested to make a call and they were very obliging but the local contact did not respond to the phone number. We called the Zagreb number and got a response from someone that was not too helpful but said that he would try and contact his local counterpart but also reassured us that if we had booked a car, it would be delivered! We rested a bit and then decide to get a SIM card, which turned out to be very easy. Just round the corner, 10 minutes and 50 kuna ($10) later we had our phone working. I called the car rental guy again, and got him this time, and he said he had just left a message at the Villa Adriatica travel agency and would deliver our car at 9:00am next morning.

By this time it was 6:50pm and since our dinner invitation was for 7:00pm (we had picked up a bottle of wine in Montenegro and also had some Montenegron cheese from the market in the Bay of Kotor), we headed to the address, with the wine and cheese. It was just few minutes away in the old town in one of the alley off the Stradun. As we approached the address, we saw one of them waiting at the door; what a wonderful evening of food, wine and conversation we had!. So the trio was Mr. and Mrs. Rasmussen and ‘Momo (Momir Jelovac). Mrs. Rasmussen (Zeljka) is a Croatian, now living in Denmark, where Mr. Rasmussen is a pianist (Schubert being his expertise). Momo is Zeljka’s old classmate from Yugoslavia, a former Yugoslavian sports journalist of fame (mixed Croatian/Serbian/Montenegron ancestry) who fled to UK as a war refugee and now lives in UK. In summer they come back to this apartment in Dubrovnik that the Rasmussen’s bought just after the war of the 90s). It was just a wonderful evening. Momo cooked for us, and we had such an open dialog about the war, US policies, where the world is at etc. It was the kind of evening I dream about on vacations. We exchanged addresses, and Momo had sent em e-mail even before we got back. I have a feeling we will meet again.

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