Today, Howard and I have been like ‘Busy-Bees’ in preparation for our house guest tomorrow. After buying in supplies from the supermarket, we set about getting the van ship-shape. Whilst I emptied and cleaned the fridge, Howard washed the outside of Oscar. It’s just like getting your house cleaned and tidied up before visitors arrive, but with a space the size of a small dining room table. The problem is – we have so much stuff! Slowly accumulated over the three previous countries – we have the olive oil made by our lovely campsite in Sierra da Estrela in Portugal, we still have packets of odd biscuits left from Spain, we have Limoncello from Positano and we have beautiful ceramic oil holders from Taormina in Sicily. None of this stuff takes up much room per se, but when it all adds up, it has basically meant that the van, which was full when we left the UK, is now overflowing.
So we have been puzzling where to put poor Edward! We implored him not to bring a hard suitcase, and I suspect he will end up having to sleep in the pop up tent we brought with us – so hopefully it will all work out.
Yesterday we spent a few hours in Dubrovnik Old City. It is a changed place from when I was last here nearly ten years ago. It is very much up and running again after the terrible conflict in the early nineties. More shops and restaurants are open, and the place was humming. As with everything, commercialisation has crept in – you now have to pay to walk round the old city walls, and can only walk in a clockwise direction. We will save that treat for Edward later in the week. It was Good Friday, and the entire side street housing the Synagogue in the Jewish portion of the city was filled with Jews lining up to celebrate the Passover. I took Howard to see the exhibition of the defenders, mostly young men, from Dubrovnik who were killed in the awful siege of the city from October 1991. The city survived without water and electricity for over a year, being under constant bombardment from the hills above by the joint Serbian and Montenegrin forces. The damage to the city was immense, with barely a building left standing without shell damage. It is a real testament to the people of Dubrovnik, not only that they survived this horrendous ordeal, as the world sat on their hands and watched, but also had the strength and determination to re-build their beautiful city from the rubble. Everywhere we walked yesterday, you could see evidence of where the shell damage and bullet holes had been filled in on the mellow golden stonework. Today, Dubrovnik is the jewel in the crown of Croatia, and rightly so.
We plan to spend more time there once our ‘cuckoo’ arrives. Hopefully he will love it as much as I do.
Today marks the 80th day of our trip. In that time Jules Verne travelled around the world, so in comparative terms, we have not gone that far. But we are starting to feel a little travel weary, being constantly on the move. So we are going to use this coming week as a bit of a rest, and slow the pace down a little – partly because we feel it would be good to relax a bit more, and partially due to practical reasons. Edward would never have the stamina for the schedule we have been undertaking! He only wakes up at midday for starters. So with that in view, I am going to park the blog for a view days whilst we are entertaining, and will resume once we are on the move again.
Howard and myself would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter – hope you all have fun.
P.S. Apologies for the huge photo of Howard – I don’t know what happened there. Scary!