After our breakfast with a view we made our way into the old town. We were very annoyed at the extremely high parking prices and were debating what to do, and just kept getting more frustrated. But as I drive back out, I drive past a hotel that had parking for 1/3 the price of the cheapest one we had seen!! I stop on a pin and somehow manage to back the car up the hill and park. This find mage the day so much better!
We then walked into the old walled city and I made my way to the Jewish quarter. The Jewish ghetto is a tiny street in the city. Jews came to Dubrovnik from Spain and Portugal in the 14 and 15 hundreds because they were kicked out of their respective countries. In Dubrovnik has the second oldest synagogue in Europe still existing (second to Prague, which I have also seen). In the museum next to the synagogue, they had torahs from as early as the 13th century! I really liked seeing the old torahs, it shows how far back my culture goes, and while society and technology change, there are some things that connect us to our ancestry. I went into the old synagogue and thought it was beautiful! It has a nice arc, with a bimah in the middle because it's Sephardic. The ceiling was blue with Star of Davids. I thought it looks great but also distinctively like a synagogue and not a church. I'm the synagogue, I met a nice younger lady who is a part of the current Jewish community in Dubrovnik. We talked for a long time about what it's like to be in the community there and I found it so interesting. 1/3 of the community in WW2 was killed because Yugoslavia was conspiring with the Nazis. Currently the community is 10 families, 55 people. It is a tight community but very liberal. They don't have a rabbi, but are visited by a traveling rabbi from Zagreb that comes and teaches the kids. This weekend, a family is coming from the states to have a Bar Mitzvah in the old synagogue! I was quite inspired by this visit.
After lunch we went under the city to visit an archaeological site that archaeologists only found recently (2005 - 2008). The remains are of a metal factory and we learned all about how they made cannon balls and other metal items. The employee gave us a personal tour of the site. He really knew his stuff! I think for the first time in my life I truly understood what each thing in an archaeological site was for. We saw the furnaces, the molds and the casting sand. He taught us about how they conserved the sand and how the put a cannon ball together. The details were so interesting, the tour was certainly worthwhile. We ended the tour with seeing the pottery and other items found in the site.
After the tour we got ice cream! It wasn't my favorite flavor but had an amazing texture. We brought our ice cream out of the city walls and ran into a movie filming. They were in the middle of filming Knights Walls and I could even hear the director yelling action and watch the actors in the scene. There were quite a few explosions, both in the water and near the walls of the city. It was very cool to be near the scenes, and I'll have to see the movie when it comes out!
We ended the day by walking around the old port. We had a beautiful view of the island and walked by the water. It was a great way to end an amazing week with Nicole and Dan. Because now they took off on a ferry.
For a quick sidenote, it's a very interesting time to be in Europe because just a few days ago, a British referendum was voted on to leave the EU, and it passed! Meeting people from England has been interesting because most of them are so upset to be leaving. There has also been a few terror attacks while I've been in Europe, including one in Orlando at a gay club, one in the Istanbul airport and then of course the one in Tel Aviv while I was there.
From there, we drove to Lapad and walked down a pedestrian mall with lots of little cafes. We then walked around the waters edge along a trail. I must say, we got along so well! It was so fortunate to have met her! We even stuck our feet in the water because I couldn't resist. There is a famous cave bar that we went into for a coffee and hot chocolate. The cave was so interesting. I loved seeing the bar in there and it was nice and cool. There was a room that you could look both up and down and see cave! It's so hard to explain. It was a great morning and hopefully I'll stay in touch with Sarah!
We then headed off to the airport. I'm so excited to see Bettina! Next stop, Budapest!!!!