A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about beaches

Venice compared to Croatia

Our experiences in both

rain 22 °C
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We’re in Basel now and it’s raining, so I figured I’d write a bit more. I was just thinking about our trip, and I have to say that Venice was all really beautiful, but I found it a lot less enjoyable than Croatia in some ways. The prices were one thing, but you can over that if you know what to expect. We knew Venice would probably cost us more than all of Croatia, and anyone planning on going to Venice is probably not going because it’s a great cheap place to visit. There were just a lot of other little things that took away from the atmosphere of the city. I’m really starting to understand what people mean when they say “don’t go there; it’s too touristy”. I never mind the other tourists – that’s all we are! – but there were a lot of little things about Venice that made it feel like the whole city was just a giant tourist trap rather than a functioning part of Italy. It’s not the same visiting a place where it feels like there’s absolutely no one who actually lives there. In Croatia we saw people every day just going about their lives – in the grocery stores, on the public transit, in the cities. It was always really obvious who was local and who was a tourist. In Venice though, it seemed like there were no locals – we especially didn’t see many Italians.

Another big thing was that there were ads and graffiti all over all of the things you would want to see in Venice. In St. Mark’s square there were building-sized ads for clothing stores and other things hanging, there was even one on the basilica! There were also ads hanging on both sides of the Rialto Bridge and it was covered in graffiti – not nice street art, just white letters and symbols everywhere. It kind of ruins the city when you can’t see the characteristic buildings. I couldn’t imagine seeing a billboard ad for Hugo Boss hanging over the edge of the Dubrovnik City Walls.

Another thing was the “souvenir” stands. There are always tons of gift shops in a tourist city, but in Venice there were stands loaded with kitschy T-shirts, cheap masks, Chinese glass, crappy scarves, and everything else, every few metres! There were also tons of people selling knock-off sunglasses and purses and various children’s toys on the streets, just with sheets laid out and all of their merchandise on the ground. And all over the place, on the sides and in the middle of the road, on the bridges, steps, in the alleys – everywhere! It was really difficult to escape it. Anyway, we knew it was “touristy” before we went, but it was touristy in a different way than Korcula or Dubrovnik. Most of the time in Croatia there only a dozen or so people in the museums, shops, squares, or tours, even in Dubrovnik.

We saw some good artists selling their work on the streets, though, and I appreciate the paintings of Venice a lot more after visiting it, because there are no people or ads in the paintings. I think it would be impossible to get a decent picture of St. Mark’s basilica, or the Rialto Bridge, but the artists paint such beautiful paintings, you can kind of imagine what things looked like before they became full of garbage and tourists.

Anyway, we’ll definitely be back to visit the rest of Italy, but I would think twice about going to Venice again, and certainly never go in August if you can help it. It wasn’t too hot – that would be the only reason I wouldn’t go back to Croatia this time of year – and the accommodations were probably cheapest because you can camp, but there were just so many people, and so many vendors. I’m not sure what it’s like at other times of the year, but it’s really hard to enjoy and appreciate a city as unique and beautiful as Venice when there’s garbage, ads, construction, street vendors, and loud tourists everywhere.

Posted by kmclean 20:11 Archived in Italy Tagged beaches venice tourist croatia souvenirs traps Comments (0)

Last day in Dubrovnik

What an amazing city

sunny 35 °C
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It’s our last day in Dubrovnik. It feels like we had enough time – there’s nothing here I really wanted to do but couldn’t, but this is such a beautiful city I wish we didn’t have to leave. Today we went sea-kayaking in the morning. It was well worth it. We left from a beach right in the old town and then kayaked around the island of Lokrum, which is very close to Dubrovnik. It took us a little over an hour, I think, and then we stopped at a cave beach. It can only be reached by boat, so it wasn’t crowded at all. The water was so clear, you could see everything. Our guide told us that’s an advantage for Croatia, because nobody can use submarines to attack since they can be seen up to 50 m down from the sky. I find that the people here talk about the war a lot more than in other parts of the country. They’re always mentioning how defensible Dubrovnik is, and how well it has been restored – which is absolutely has. It’s just interesting. From here we’re flying to Zagreb, and we’re about half way done our trip.

Here are some pictures from our last day in Dubrovnik.

Posted by kmclean 19:56 Archived in Croatia Tagged beaches kayaking summer croatia dubrovnik Comments (0)

Montenegro

A day trip from Dubrovnik

sunny 35 °C
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On our second day in Dubrovnik we went on a day trip to Montenegro. We got to see Kotor and Budva, which are both very nice. Kotor is a lot like the other towns we’ve been seeing, very old and fortified. We only had a short time there, but there’s a fort at the top of 1600 stairs that we’d love to go back and (try) to see. We were also in Budva, which is a beautiful city on the coast. It also has an old section, but it’s not as big as any of the other towns we’ve seen so far. The city walls are also not as prominent, but it never gets boring wandering through thousand year old stone alleys. I still find it weird that there are just cafes and shops in these old forts, some of them are thousands of years old. I guess the buildings needed to eventually get re-purposed. We also had time to get to a beach in Budva, which was amazing. It was a little more crowded than the ones in Dubrovnik, but not so bad you couldn’t get out for a swim.

After Budva we headed back to Dubrovnik. It’s only about 100 km, but the ride takes almost 3 hours because the roads wind up and down mountains, or don’t exist in some parts. We were driving on an unpaved gravel road for about 20 minutes, but the driver assured us that this “new” road is much better than the old one, which is only one lane through the woods, but not one way! The ride was pretty crazy in some places, there are lots of roads on the very edge of cliffs where you can look over and see the rusted remains of cars. Luckily we made it back safely though and then headed out back into the old town in Dubrovnik after getting cleaned up. We went to the same restaurant where we were on the first day to listen to another jazz band and called it a night.

Here are some pictures.

Posted by kmclean 19:52 Archived in Croatia Tagged mountains beaches croatia dubrovnik montenegro Comments (0)

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