Whoops, another two weeks later. So it’s high time for a new blog post.
Before Dubrovnik we spent another night with part of the cyclist gang from Split between the olive trees next to a cemetery. Little glorious but cozy, and full of mosquitoes… The cyclists left us in the morning and we were again just the two of us.
So on October 4th we went to Dubrovnik. No sooner said than done. Via Park4Night we found a free parking space somewhere on a hill in a residential area. It was about a 30-45 minute walk from the historic center and seemed quite safe. We walked towards the historic center and passed a bakery to buy a fresh Burek. Once we got close to the old city gate, it quickly became clear to us that using Dubrovnik as a set location for King’s Landing from Game of Thrones has benefited tourism, although we can’t judge how popular this destination was before this series conquered the world.
We walked through the city gate and were welcomed by a guitarist in medieval attire and ditto seller of some kind of medallion for the benefit of a good cause, or so it was written. Anyway, the tone was set, but through the crowd we saw that Dubrovnik deserved all those people.
On our left we saw the entrance to the walk over the city walls, for a paltry 250 kuna (approx € 33) per person. So we let that pass us by and we quickly hit the small alleys to find some peace and the real Dubrovnik. We strolled through the narrower streets between restaurants and souvenir shops…
After an hour in the historic center we decided to call it a day. We walked back to Nigel and wanted to drive to an abandoned hotel a little further down the road where we had agreed to meet Amber. Due to a traffic jam we took a wrong turn and drove out of Dubrovnik. We pulled over to the side of the road to call Amber… We were lucky, a little further was another abandoned hotel, a much bigger one! We drove there and despite a stray ‘no motorhomes’ sign, many campers and vans were parked here. What a cool place!
The five hotels of Kupari
We had arrived at the ruins of a mega resort in Kupari. In the 1960s, five hotels were built here that served as a holiday destination, especially for the top and elite of the Yugoslav army. 1600 guests could stay here at the same time and there was also a campsite nearby where another 4500 holidaymakers could go. I read somewhere that it was not officially intended for the army, but that it was so popular that you needed connections if you wanted to spend your holiday there. The army would even be behind the financing, or at least spent a lot of money. Even the dictator Tito himself reportedly had a holiday villa in Kupari.
When the war of independence broke out in Croatia in 1991, the hotels were looted and systematically destroyed by the Yugoslav army, probably under the guise of “if we can’t have it, neither can you!”. In the years that followed, almost everything of any value was taken and pulled from the walls, pipes, toilet bowls, marble tiles… everything is gone. What remains now is the soulless, concrete carcass of what was once an icon of the socialist regime from Yugoslavia.
Camping in the ruins
We eventually parked ourselves amongst a remnant of what must have been a beach bar. Here our cycling friends could set up their tent and stay out of the wind. While waiting we already lit the table barbecue and not much later Amber, Alise and Antoine arrived. It was a super fun evening with a few pints and glasses of wine…
The next morning the cyclists left us again in the morning because everything goes slower on the bike. We decided to ‘urbex’ and used our imagination to visualize what this resort must have looked like… Take a look at this link for photos from before the war .
We spent an extra night on the other side of the bay, where there was more sun, and then it was time to leave Croatia and enter our first non-EU country: Montenegro.