first impressions

I seem to have escaped jetlag thus far; I fell asleep last night around 9 or 10pm local time, and was awake at 7. Had a glass of Coke Zero (no diet coke to be found here, it seems), and a delicious croissant with marmalade filling, and then tackled figuring out the bathroom. It’s a tub with a handheld shower attachment, so it looks like I’ll be switching from showers to baths while I’m here.

After my bath, I spent about an hour getting Alex’s phone configured with its new SIM card. We now both have working Croatian phones, with 1GB of data each. The SIM cards cost 100kn (a little over $17), and came with 100kn prepaid credit. 70kn went to the 1GB data plan, which is good for a month, but can be topped back up if we run out. Money gets added by buying vouchers and entering the code; the vouchers can be purchased at the larger local grocery stores (and probably other shops, too).

Then I headed out to explore the city, because despite the threatened rain (which did happen overnight), the skies were clear and the temperature was a delightful 54F. My first excursion was to ACMT (RIT’s Dubrovnik campus). The simplest route there is currently blocked by significant construction on the street below our apartment, so I had to take a slightly out-of-the-way approach that adds a few minutes to the walk. (And I have to walk along the ripped-up road for a few hundred yards, which is the only unpleasant part of the walk.) I took photos all along the way, which have all been uploaded to Flickr.

Once I’d found ACMT, I wandered from there to the Old Town, with a few stops along the way to appreciate the incredible beauty of the waterfront. I’m really glad I’m here during the off season, so that I can enjoy this without huge crowds all around. The “season” doesn’t really start until Easter (the end of March), so I’ll get a chance to learn my way around before things get crazy.

coastline

I only did a short walk through the Old Town, and didn’t explore it much–I was starting to get hungry, and wanted to get back to see if Alex was awake yet. So I returned to the apartment, stopping at a nearby bakery to buy a delicious cheese strudel, which I ate on the terrace of the apartment.

Alex showed no signs of wanting to get out of bed (unlike me, he seems not to have reset his internal clock yet), so I set out solo again after I ate, this time heading in the opposite direction, towards the harbor and cruise ship port. My goal was the bus terminal just past the port, but I also wanted to check out the bigger grocery stores. There were three along the way–a “Maxi Konzum” that’s only a ten minute walk from the apartment and has a pretty good selection of food, a very large Tommy that Gordana (our landlady) took me to last night, and the Super Konzum near the port, which has a range of household goods as well as groceries. I bought a good corkscrew (the one in the apartment was nearly unusable), some inexpensive wine glasses, two umbrellas, and a few snacks. At the bus terminal, I purchased bus passes for me and Alex–150kn ($26) for 20 rides, which is much less than the 12kn per ride we’d pay on the bus. On the way back, I also stopped at a store called EuroShop, which seems to be the closest thing to a department store here. Two floors, and a variety of household goods. I managed to find silicon muffin cups for baking, so now all I’m missing for muffins is baking powder–which seems quite difficult to procure here. Happily, my colleague Mike is flying out later this week, and he’s going to bring me a can of baking powder to round out my supplies!

I finally got back to the apartment at around 4pm, just as Alex was dragging himself out of bed. Once he’d bathed, the two of us went to dinner at Sesame, a restaurant right next to the ACMT building. The food was very good, and while it wasn’t cheap it wasn’t outrageously priced, either–we paid a little over 300kn ($52) for two entrees, two coffees, two desserts, a glass of wine, and a bottle of water.

From there, Alex went off to explore the Old Town, and I came back here to upload my photos from the day (which stop around mid-afternoon, mostly due to fatigue and from carrying items that made it hard to grab the camera easily), write this blog post, and download the rest of the files I need to finish grading this evening. Then it’s bedtime. Tomorrow? More exploring, this time probably walking the circuit of the walls around the Old Town.

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