Our first port of call on the cruise was Dubrovnik, Croatia. One of the secrets to a good cruise, in my opinion, is to do your own thing. Use the boat as your ride and your place to stay but don't do their excursions. We only took one excursion from the boat and really wasn't that great. Research where you are going, find out what you are interested in seeing, book a private guide (often the same price as a huge group tour on the ship), or just have a basic plan and figure out the details once you land! Doing this makes it feel much more like an exploration than being part of a herd of cattle.
The four of us really lucked out because a friend had taken a cruise similar to ours the year before with many of the same port cities. He told us what he had done, recommended some things to see and what not to see. The city walls were the "must-see" in Dubrovnik so after we disembarked and converted some money, we were off to the Old City. (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) I must say, the city inside the walls is not so interesting from the ground but once on the walls the stucco, tile roofs, steeples, and turrets all stand out. It's amazing the difference it makes to be in a different vantage point.
The walls of Dubrovnik are anywhere from 4 to 6 yards thick and completely surround the city. They were, of course, built to protect this seaside town from invaders starting in about the 7th century (They have had major additions, reconstructions, etc since this time.) and were never breached. The highest wall is about 82 feet and the walls are around a mile and a half long. It is always so amazing to me to walk in places with this much history. Being an American, we really don't have anything that old to see. "Old" in the US is 300 years and in Europe I am constantly surrounded by things that are over 500 years old. As the French would say, "C'est incroyable!"
Coming into the port at Dubrovnik. The old city is over the hill on the left.
Don't you love this bridge?
Oh, when we arrived a rally car race was going on the road to the left side of this shot. I thought Dad was going to stay on the boat to watch it for a while..
The port of the old city. It was very very windy the day we were there and right after I took this picture we went around a corner. I thought we would end up in the sea because the wind was blowing so hard.
First shots of from the wall. The water was amazing blue.
Loved this lady. I took a lot of pictures of her..
Next port of call- Kusadasi, Turkey!