25 August 2012 – Saturday
The day consisted of two parts: a very pleasant swim in the sea and a rather worthless trip to the city. Actually, we only needed to change money, buy some stuff, and eat out for a change.
In the morning we rushed right to the beach immediately after breakfast. The sea here was unusual for us, in the sense that it wasn’t a strip of sandy beach, where you could walk into the sea from anywhere and paddle in shallow water until you reached the depth that was suitable for swimming. Here the shore was rocky, there were only a couple of places with pool ladders, where one could get into the sea, and right at once it was so deep that we couldn’t even touch the sea floor. But it’s almost impossible to sink (hopefully!), because the water is very salty, or at least, it seemed so to us in comparison with the moderately salty Caspian. Anyway, swimming in the sea is an enormous pleasure!
For those who can’t or don’t want to swim in the sea, there were swimming pools – two with salt water, and one with chlorinated fresh water. The beach area was purely civilised, with sunbeds and towels provided to hotel guests.
We indulged in this ‘dolce far niente’ twice today – in the morning and evening. In between, as already mentioned above, we went to the centre of Dubrovnik.
Impressions: hot, huge traffic jams on narrow streets, a hell lot of people (more than in Beijing, it seemed!), the complete absence of any shops (for decency’s sake, let’s say that we might have been brought to a wrong place), so that we were only able to buy souvenir refrigerator magnets. If there was a bright moment in this whole journey, it was eating outside at a terrace restaurant by the sea. So it turned out that we drove for such a long time, stuck in the traffic, only to have lunch. Well, never mind.
Also, as always when we arrive somewhere, we tried to book some guided tours. So first of all, tomorrow, we are visiting the Old City, on Tuesday we are doing the three islands tour, on Thursday we are going to Montenegro and on Friday – to the island of Korčula. We had to worry a bit about the trip to Montenegro: the agent described the tour along the Bay of Kotor as something incredibly magnificent. But as we became totally excited, we got turned down: she was told on the phone that Azerbaijani citizens needed a visa. We tried to argue that we had heard on TV about the temporary cancellation of visa regime for this summer, but we were told – no, we can’t sign you up for the tour, go on your own if you want. We were terribly disappointed, but decided nevertheless to clarify this on the Internet. We could find a couple of news sites, confirming our original idea, although on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro it was really stated that a visa was required. We made a second attempt to talk to the agent in the afternoon. We barely started to explain the situation, when she happily interrupted us: it turned out that their staff had already checked everything and confirmed that we could go! So, we are going, hopefully the border guards are also informed about the visa regime relief for summer!