Dubrovnik, Croatia

Touring with a colleague guide in Dubrovnik

Touring with a colleague guide in Dubrovnik

For time to time it happens that we have a chance to show our hometown to a traveler that performs similar activities in his own country. This is the story of my colleague Garvan from Dublin whom I had a privilege to arrange a tour as well as a surprise for his new bride for their honeymoon trip to Dubrovnik.

It was really hot June afternoon when I was boarding the boat for Lokrum island, carrying two boxes of fresh strawberries from Vrgorac (arguably best strawberries in the Croatian south) and a bottle of sparkling rosé wine from the famous Ilok region in the Eastern Croatia. The regular boat line to Lokrum only takes about 15 minutes from the Old Town port to get accross, but the time was of essence as the ice was melting and wine was getting warm and I had a true responsibility.

My colleague Garvan, a Dublin tour guide, hired me about a month ago to arrange a special treat for him and his Croatian wife for their first visit to Dubrovnik during their honeymoon. After a careful deliberation, we settled on doing the combined tour of the nearby island of Lokrum (which posed as the setting for Qarth, “the greatest city there was or ever will be” in the GOT season 2) and Dubrovnik’s historic center.

While the freshly married couple was enjoying their lunch at marvelous setting of Lacroma restaurant (which I previously booked for them), I made sure to pass unnoticed and get some extra ice (two large bags) so that the rosé and strawberries can hold for some extra time. The aim was to get to Fort Royal, an 1800-Fort from the Napoleonic wars, that is perched atop the highest peak of this pine fringed island overlooking the Dubrovnik’s medieval ramparts and the deep blue Adriatic Sea.

Once I finally climbed the steep path that leads to 91-meter (300-foot)-high peak where the Fort Royal is located, I started preparing the surprise for Garvan’s wife Vini, burying the bottle in ice and placing the strawberries in glasses. The ice was melting rapidly in the 33 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) so I gave signal to Garvan to get moving. Soon enough Vini and Garvan were at the Fort, feeling somewhat lightheaded from the climb and heat, but clearly happy to see the surprise.

After a few sips of wine, we shared the rest of treat with the curious passers-by (who have deserved it, braving the steep climb in the afternoon heat) and have set off on a tour of the island, exploring the exotic vegetation of Botanical Gardens and the ruins of the Benedictine abbey in the shade of 12th-century walls. When the heat died down, we returned to the Old Town of Dubrovnik, where I made sure to acquaint the freshly married couple with the rich history of the city and some of its traditions.

I was really happy to have had a privilege to arrange this customized tour of Dubrovnik for Garvan and Vini and to make their honeymoon visit to Dubrovnik special. They weren’t big on the Game of Thrones, so we focused on historic tidbits and the legends from Dubrovnik’s rich past. What also made the tour more interesting and dynamic was our exchange of intriguing facts about Croatia and Ireland. Garvan is an experienced guide and the wealth of knowledge about Dublin and Ireland and Vini is a Croatian from the island of Hvar, but has never visited Dubrovnik before so my task was to provide local’s perspective on various topics and I’m glad that I succeeded.

In the end of the tour, I was kindly invited to Dublin to experience one of Garvan’s tours from first hand. If you happen to be there, make sure to check out his Dublin guided tours. It takes one to know one, and he is definitely one of the best guides around.

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Heritage, history and the Game of Thrones!

Tomislav was an excellent guide! He explained a lot about the heritage and history of the city including all of the Games of Thrones information which made the tour much more interesting!
Louise Colquhoun,
UK

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