Not much time. I’ve been wandering about for two days, discovering the walled city of Dubrovnik, but must catch an overnight ferry to Bari, Italy in a couple of hours. Dubrovnik: Fascinating/ heartbreaking /sad that such a hugely fortified city could have been almost completely destroyed, not once, but twice (earthquake 1667, bombing 1990s). But they keep on rebuilding, and for that I commend the strength of the people and their determination to keep their beautiful city “the pearl of the Adriatic”. I’ll be out of touch for a bit as I’ve no clue where I’m going or what I’m doing right now…..catch you on the flip side, in Greece. Dubrovnik update: seems so long ago…I’ve been in two other countries since this update! I should have entitled this entry “Here a palace, there a ruin, everywhere a palace-ruin”…as gorgeous as Dubrov was, I was getting palaced- and ruined-out. The more you visit, the harder it is to keep some perspective. To ensure that what one is looking at or visiting or experiencing doesn’t lose its significance, it’s essential to change one’s perspective. View it from a different angle. Look higher. Look lower. Not just in travel, but in many aspects of life. So I climbed up on top of the wall and viewed Dubrovnik from there. It worked. Later on I met up with my cool new California friends TJ and Veronica (even their names are cool), whom I first met back in Korcula. I hopped on a taxi boat out to Lokrum Island for a couple of hours in the afternoon…hoo-ahh!!! Had I known it was so stunning I would have dedicated a whole day to it. Forest, olive groves, peacocks!, jagged cliffs plunging down to crashing waves (like a 007 movie, seriously), remains of a 14th century monestary (ya more ruins!), even a nudist beach. I mused about fashion at this point (nothing to do with the nudist beach, honestly)….as charming as the little old ladies can be when they’re renting you a room to sleep in and you’re about to line their pockets with some cash, the second you’ve got one eye open in the morning they’re pushing you out the door. Hey, at $20 a night, it’s all about turnover. Anyway, you’ve got little or not access to your belongings for the rest of the day and are therefore stuck with whatever you tossed on that morning as she was chasing you out of the room. So that smart dress with silk scarf and leather flip flops that works so perfectly for a stroll on the main promenade at 9 am proves to be something less than functional when creeping precariously across a jagged, steep ridge of razor-sharp rocks on a deserted island at 3 pm. Maybe this is what happened to all those people back at Plitvice National Park…. I got back to Dubrovnik just in time to say a quick goodbye to the Belgian Brigade, who were heading back home, and then run to Cafe Bruza to meet TJ and V for a cocktail and sunset viewing (got there just in time!). And just like that, I was off to the ferry dock to float away to Bari. The overnight ferry ride was interesting….essentially, when you book a “deck” seat it means you sleep anywhere you can find an empty space that’s not a bed. A chair, bench, floor, whatever. So there I was in a huge lounge/bar/ seating area thingie, getting ready to hunker down for the night. I can’t add photos from this computer I’m on, so will entertain you with that image at a later date. I shared my bench with Shannon from California, a smart, cool girl. Half a Gravol later, I actually slept kind of decently. The sea was calm and the bench was…well, better than a chair. At 6 am a huge group from Italy filled the seating area, shouting back and forth animatedly as they waited to file in to the breakfast room. Nobody seemed to care/notice that there were two straggly backpackers trying to sleep. Maybe one noticed, as she did come over on her way out to hand us two meal tickets, saying “mangia!” and pointing to the breakfast room with a smile. We must have been a sorry sight. We stepped off the ferry at 8 am in rainy Bari, Italy. Will update Bari entry with those details.