Just Do It
It’s been pretty much a whole month since I last wrote anything. That isn’t because I haven’t done anything; but between not having my own phone for photos and being pulled one way by Netflix and the other way by schoolwork, I just couldn’t catch a break…
Actually, last week I started writing a blog post. It had a title (Moving Mountains) and a date for it to be posted (April 23), but clearly that didn’t happen. So, a week later, I am here to try again.
Two weeks ago, which was the weekend after my last post and also Easter weekend, a few of my roommates and I finally decided to climb Mount Srđ. The mountain is 412 meters high, and you can reach the top by: taking the cable car; driving; or hiking up the zig-zag trail with the story of Jesus and the cross depicted at each turn. We hiked up and then took the cable car down the mountain. At the top of the mountain, there is Fort Imperijal and a museum you can walk through; I think it has something to do with the war in the region. You can also pay and do the Buggy Safari tour, which I was highly recommended to do but haven’t.
The day we went hiking was a perfect day for it, but once you get past the forest part of the trail, you are completely exposed to the sun. When we reached the top, we explored a little bit of the land, raided the gift shop, and enjoyed the views from the top. At the top there is a restaurant, but we didn’t eat there. There is also a large, white stone cross. I don’t know much about it, but I found an article about it here if you are curious.
The following week, for Wines of the World, our professor took us to D’Vino Wine Bar. We tried a sample of three red wines from the region. Up to this point, I haven’t really enjoyed red wine, but the ones we tried changed my view. Then, on Thursday of that week (April 20) for my culture class (the required, no-credit course for study abroad students), our professor gave us a tour of the Old Town. Although we had already been in Dubrovnik for over three months, it was the first time we learned about the history.
I remember a few interesting things. First, the main gate used today to enter the old town is Pile gate; but originally the gate on the other side of town, Ploče gate, was the main entrance. The town is strategically set up because of this fact. On every government building, there is a St. Blaise statue above the door. The first government building you see when entering the building from the old main gate has the only sideways facing statue that looks towards the gate. The building use to be a salt mill, which was very valuable so the sideways facing St. Blaise, as my professor said it, is to tell visitors to keep walking because there is “nothing to see here”. If I remember correctly, the next section use to be the quarters for the soldiers, followed by the executioner’s house. Fun fact: the executioner’s house is the only one with no direct neighbors in the town. Overall, the feeling one should have gotten as they walked through the town during the should be intimidated and if they planned to do something bad, they should just turn back now. Apart from this, everything else is just un-pieced snippets of information EXCEPT – the last thing I remember is that the tax to enter the town was a stone, which was to be proportional to the person entering – a large man must pay a large stone, a small child must pay a small stone.
Now that we are nearing the end of the semester, the stress levels are high because up until now I have had basically no work to do, and now I have three big projects, one small project and one presentation. But, at the beginning of my study abroad adventures, my uncle said, “Don’t let schoolwork interfere with your education.” And maybe zip-lining isn’t an educational experience that should allow me to postpone working on things, but it is an experience I don’t get to have every day. So, I took the day off (I only skipped one class; I went to my 8:30am class) and went zip lining with some of my roommates. It was a 2.5 - 3 hour drive there and it took us 3 or 4 hours to finish, but it was incredible! For 400 Kuna, which is just under 60 USD, we got to experience eight different lines off the mountains, through the trees and over the river.
Trip to Montenegro
Now that I am all caught up, yesterday was our last study abroad trip arranged by the school. We went to Montenegro, which isn’t a terrible drive from Dubrovnik but crossing the borders took about an hour both on the way there and back. This trip was a group tour arranged through an agency, so we were part of another group – six other people, but our bus was boomin’! For the first hour of our trip, I was so hype about the bus because it was like 10 times fancier than the usual bus. It had light tan leather seats, suede ceiling, and hardwood floors. AND there was a pull-down tray on the backs of the seats.
It rained all day until we were on our way home and the borders were a huge burden, but overall the trip was good. Our first stop was in Perast; it was only a 40-minute stop but some people took a boat to see the island of Our Lady of the Rock while the rest of us (myself included) just walked along the water.
Then, we headed off to Kotor, where we had close to two hours of free time. A couple of my friends and I, walked along a small part of the wall of the town (the entire wall of this place is so cool – gives me a Game of Thrones vibe), then walked into St. Nicholas church. We also ventured into a view souvenir shops, which are really great compared to the super tourist/commercial shops in Dubrovnik. Then, we stopped in a café – mostly for the dessert – before we headed over to St. Mary’s church, where people come to pray to the body of Blessed Osanna of Cattaro.
Lastly, we stopped in Budva, where we had just enough time to eat before heading home. I got Spaghetti with Seafood; it was so good! I have been trying to acquire a taste for seafood, and maybe its only the seafood around here, but I think I like it more. I still don’t like peppers no matter how hard I try to like them, but I can eat tentacles from an octopus and only squirm a little in my head.
When we finally got home, I Skyped with my boyfriend and went to sleep. This morning I got up and ran a 5K, but I will talk more about that tomorrow.
Also, SHOUT OUT to my roommate Liz for taking pictures for me while I remain phoneless!