Travel Log – Oct 2016

Day 1

4am!!! Seriously!

We have only just got to the point where Reuben is sleeping past 5 and have once again opted to go on a holiday that require us to get up at an unearthly hour!

Anyways – by 6am we were checked in and sitting down to breakfast and excitedly chatting about our holiday.

We were a little nervous about how Reuben would be on his first flight as he is slightly more feisty than Isaac and less inclined to sit still our fears were unfounded however as with a snack a movie and a snooze the three hour flight passed by stress free.

We landed with a bump at Dubrovnik airport and Reuben and Isaac charmed us swiftly through security and onto baggage collection.our bags were amongst the last out but this didn’t matter too much as it presented as another snack opportunity,

We hadn’t booked transfers to our hotel and instead had decided to make our own arrangements, this turned our to be cheaper and better as after a 10 minute drive in a very nice Mercedes taxi we were at out hotel.

10 mins after that we were checked in and in our room.

This was all going well – there had to be a catch!

But seemingly there wasn’t, everyone we spoke to was lovely and helpful the room was sizeable with enough beds wardrobes etc for us all and the balcony was at the rear of the hotel overlooking the garden and the sea!

We had booked all inclusive for ease with the boys and the dinner buffet didn’t let us down. A wide selection of foods with plenty of grilled eat and salads. Puddings were plentiful and the glasses of wine were bucket sized – lovely!

After lunch and still in a slightly bewildered state at our good fortune we set out for a walk to explore.

We found the small beach opposite the hotel and promised Isaac a swim and then walked around the nearest headland to check out the views and potential swimming spots. The Adriatic looked beautiful in the October sunshine and the hills and valleys around Cavtat were stunning.

The views are typical of what one would expect around the Adriatic coastline with brown scrubby hillsides inter spaced with patches of green cultivated. With the sun shining on the hillsides it looked every bit the summer holiday destination and we soon forgot that it was late October.

We returned to the hotel in time for a swim in the indoor dinner and now starting to feel tired after a very long day had a nice is a little rushed dinner (Reuben was now very tired and a little crotchety – as were the rest of us to varying degrees)

Then we retired to our room and within 20 minutes we were al fast asleep.

Earliest night on a holiday ever.

First impressions were good though, a lovely place and a very nice hotel. We agreed that it should be a very good holiday.

Day 2

The day started at 6am. Reuben sat up in his bed (first ever night in a big boy bed and it was a success!) and burbled to himself. We managed to get him to join us for snuggle for 20 minutes before he decided that his head would explode without milk.

Luckily the room had a fridge which we had stocked and so one beaker of milk later snuggling resumed.

Eventually Isaac woke up and we all got dressed and went for ?breakfast. We had decided that today was the day to go to Dubrovnik for a mooch about. We walked across the road from the hotel and straight onto one of the water taxis that did shuttle runs to and from Dubrovnik. The boys loved it and we passed a happy 40 minutes in the sun watching the coastline pass by as we cruised over to Dubrovnik.

Which was beautiful! We had not researched this holiday at all and just booked it on a whim. The town surprised us, it was a walled city with many alleys and narrow streets running in a grid with stairways and passages galore. There was also a huge number of inviting bars and restaurants (we got as far as sampling some ice-creams) and lots of information plaques to keep the biggest Z happy.

It is apparently where some of game of thrones is filmed and every corner had a sign advertising walking tours of the locations used in the filming. We had never got around to game of thrones so it meant little to us but there were many fans of the show geeking out happily.

We spent a few hours exploring (Reuben was less impressed and chose to snooze instead) then having decided to come back to take a cable car ride and maybe also a swim at one of the seafront bars, we got back on the boat and headed back to the hotel.

Isaac who has explored like a trooper took the opportunity for a snuggle and snooze but Reuben decided that his mummy should run through her entire repertoire of nursery rhymes and songs at least twice.

When we got back to the hotel the lure of the sea was too great, we had a light lunch and then hit the beach.

Isaac initially strode into the water but then became a little more reluctant as the cool water got deeper. It was the biggest Z who took the plunge first but in fairness Isaac and Reuben soon followed with Michelle finally giving in and having a brief swim. Isaac did some awesome swimming and even swam down underwater, he was thrilled to see fishes swimming around him.

Eventually however the bravado wore off and Isaac decided that it was time to head somewhere warmer.

The indoor pool was the ideal venue and after a little more swimming it was time for showers and dinner.

The boys were dunked in a bath and scrubbed then decided rather than getting out they would rather spend 20 minutes playing in the bubbles and giggling hysterically.

Which allowed mummy and daddy a little time to catch their breath.

Once dressed in their PJs we took the boys for dinner and they both ate well, walking back to the room we were worried that they may not be tired as they were giddy little kippers however once little heads hit pillows sleep followed on quickly.

This left us with a dilemma, early night or read on the balcony, we chose to have some us time and after sitting under the stars on the balcony we snuggled up together in bed. Tomorrow we plan to go on a boat trip to visit three islands in the bay. Should be fun me give us a better snapshot of this part of the coast.

Day 3

Today was boat tour day, our Reuben shaped alarm clock woke us up by climbing into our bed for a snuggle.

Isaac soon joined us and we dressed and packed for our day out on the high seas. A hearty breakfast was the order of the day and after several sausages and eggs and cereal had been consumed we header to the boat pickup point.

The plan was for a water taxi to take us to the bigger boat that would be taking us for our tour. The boat was due to depart at 09.45 and as the allotted hour cam end went there was some grumbling that this wasn’t really on and we were going to be terribly late.

I made a quip that this was probably a very fast water taxi and as the seemingly ancient boat fired up it sounded surprisingly fruity. As it pulled away from the little jetty it soon became apparent that this was indeed no ordinary water taxi, the throttle was opened and the boat leaped towards Dubrovnik and our waiting cruiser.

We arrived in Dubrovnik to beautiful sunshine that would stay with us all day. Our ‘big boat’ arrived and we made ourselves comfortable and settled Down for the first leg of the trip.

Midway to the first island Reuben decided it was nap time and soon we were the only tourists with a sleeping baba! As his sleep took us to the first island michelle and Isaac got off to have a look around and Dami stayed with Reuben.

The report back was that there had been a small pretty wood with a path through it that led to a little harbour with turquoise waters.

When everyone was back on board we set sail for island number two and en route we ate a rather nice lunch of grilled fish or chicken. Isaac and Dami had the fish which was Mackerel and arrived complete with head and skin, Isaac wasn’t fazed at all and ate like a trooper. The Crewe dealt with leftovers in a novel way, they held the fish skeletons over the side where brave and opportunistic gulls flew in and grabbed ?the gull equivalent of a drive through.

We soon arrived at Island number 2 where we had 40 minutes to stretch our legs and bimble about Reuben (still asleep) was pushed around the harbour in his trolley by his big brother who wouldn’t let anyone else do the job.

Back on board it was time for a few drinks as we headed for island three.

This was the biggest island and the longest stop promising a beach where we could have a swim. The boys were very excited at the prospect and as soon as we docked we located a beach and headed into the water.

Once again the water was clear and teeming with fish. Isaac and Reuben loved how the fish swam right up to their feet in the shallows. Once again it took a little while to get everyone into the cool waters but in fairness we all enjoyed a swim and splash about. The sun shone and we played in the sea, perfect.

We got dressed and went for a stroll along the pretty waterfront spotting boats and fishes then back to the boat for a drink and the return trip to Dubrovnik.

Once at Dubrovnik we had a 40 minute wait for our water taxi back to the hotel, happily there was an ice cream parlour right next to where we were waiting . . . Well it would’ve been rude not to!

The sun was setting as we got on to the water taxi and headed to the hotel, Reuben had attracted the attention of two French girls who wanted a selfie with him and he happily flirted his way home.

Isaac was spotting stars and lighthouses and happily playing the humming game. It was a beautiful trip back with the stars coming out and the lights of various little towns and villages twinkling along the coast.

We arrived home in time for dinner and then headed back to the room where Isaac fell asleep immediately but Reuben decided that he wasn’t tired any more and as we sat reading on the balcony a small figure appeared through the curtains with a cheeky smile – maybe a cot would’ve been a better idea after all!

Day 4

Exploring day. The littlest Z was once again the wake up call but at least it wasn’t too early this time! We had decided that today would be the day we visited Cavtat old town. It was apparently a 20 minute walk but we had to factor in Isaac’s little legs (we needn’t have worried – he was talking about how fast he could run there!!) so 20 minutes later – there we were.

When we arrived after a picturesque stroll we were treated to a very pretty little town with a wide harbour and lots of seafront eateries and shops.

The buildings were all stone with small alleys running between them. The sun was shining and it was a lovely place to stroll around. After a little shopping and a snack it was time for Reuben to have a snooze and after minimal resistance he was asleep in his buggy and we were exploring onwards. We found a lovely little jetty with steps leading into the water at the end of town and decided that we would return again for a swim here.

The water was crystal clear and there were huge shoals of small fish swimming right up to the waters edge.

With Reuben still asleep we headed back to the hotel for lunch.

Isaac wasn’t really hungry and instead ran about practicing his football skills while we ate and treated ourselves to a beer.

Isaac was fascinated with the table tennis and was invited to join a game with a couple from Bradford (what are the odds) he pretty soon got to grips with it and was getting the ball back over the net at least half of the time!

The only thing that could tear him away from the table tennis was ice cream and he happily told us all about his game over a couple of scoops.

When Reuben woke up it was time for a swim, on with the swimming gear and the sun cream and into the pool, them straight back put again – it was freezing. Even the normally immovable Isaac said it was too cold, “it’s warmer in the sea daddy” was quote of the day! So the afternoon was spend on dry land, with Isaac warming up on a sun lounger beside mummy and Reuben being cheeky to whoever was within range. Cheese and ham toasted sandwiches provided a great picnic lunch for the boys and provided the pick me up that was needed.

While chatting over the sandwich we asked Isaac if he would like a bit of a later night. So far we had only eaten at the hotel dining room but had seen a few nice places in town and had thought that we would try taking the boys out to tea if Isaac was up for it. He was, and swelled with pride at the thought of a late night walk home in the dark.

Bathti e was the usual round of helpless giggles which caused us so,e concern when they stopped we waited a few minuted and went I’m to find Isaac has lathered up the flannel and was washing Reuben who was delighted and kept pointing to his back so that Isaac would wash that again,

With two clean and dressed boys, a clean dressed daddy mad mummy looking lovely in a summer dress we set out again to Cavtat. By now Isaac knew the way and confirmed that he would lead us back even if it was dark. The sun was setting as we walked and the colours of the hills and the sea changed and shifted in a palette of blues and greys and as the lights began to come on we were once again charmed by the beauty of the coastline.

Once in town we found a restaurant and settled down a little anxiously for dinner. The food was lovely the highlights being a steak that appeared to have been hewn from a dinosaur and a local ‘stew’ which was a large slow cooked chunk of beef with a carrot running through it with a thick gravy and dumplings yum, Reuben ate and then amused himself with the cats that are everywhere here. Soon even the toughest looking tom cats realised that a Reuben is not to be trifled with and slunk away into the darkness.

The staff helpfully sorted out a makeshift baby change for us to get Reuben ready for bed, they out a towel and folded table cloth on a table in the back and allowed michelle to use that. It has to be said that when it comes to sorting out children no-one here can do enough to help.

True to his word Isaac showed us the way home happily chatting to his mummy and spotting stars mad aeroplanes in the clear cloudless sky. Once back he fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, Reuben, not so much!

Another lovely day, tomorrow Dubrovnik and a cable car ride!

Day 5

Today was the day we had decided to head to Dubrovnik to take a ride on the cable car. We had woken to a slightly windier than normal day and this translated to a slightly ‘rock n roll’ ride in the water taxi, the boys took it on their stride however, spending the trip colouring in and doing a sticker book while the boat lurched and swayed under them.

Once again the weather in Dubrovnik was entirely different,the sun was shining, and there the was the slightest hint of a breeze. It was hot enough to mean we quickly dosed up on sun cream and headed into town to get tickets for the cable car.

As with many things here in Croatia kids were free and so tickets in hand we set off for the cable car station. We marched out of the old town up the hill past groups saying how thrilling it was to be at Kings landing!

The cable car station was 10 minutes walk and Reubem decided that this was too much and nodded off. With him in his buggy we got to the station and after a short wait got on the upwards car.

The car whisked us upwards and to our delight the view exploded all around us, this is a truly brilliant way to get a feel for Dubrovnik as the entire town fills the view as though zoomed out like in ?a camera lens. From the top at the viewing platform we could see all of the town, old and new with the stone buildings and their red tiles roofs framed beautifully by the blue sea and sky. The town clings to the hill and the shoreline where the mountains tumble into the sea, it really was one of the pretties places we have visited. We decided to celebrate arriving at the top with an ice-cream and a drink. We agreed that there are few more beautiful places that we have had ice-cream, as a bonus the ice-creams were huge and very tasty. As we finished Reuben woke up which gave the perfect opportunity for some family photos with that stunning backdrop,

After a few shots were taken by friendly fellow tourists we headed for the down car. Reuben who had missed the trip up was very pleased with the trip down, Isaac as ever took it in his stride and even remembered the way back into town. We decided to take a detour and descended back into town down and old and quite lovely staircase, Isaac led the way skipping happily ahead while mummy carried Reuben in the sling and daddy carried the buggy.

Back in the old town we meandered past groups of tourists back to the harbour where we waited for the water taxi back to the hotel.

While we were waiting we spotted fish in the clear waters of the harbour.

The trip back to the hotel was much calmer and the boys coloured and snickered and marched up and down the boat, there was even singing! When we got back to Cavtat the sun was beating down and whilst it was still breezy it was lovely and warm. Isaac had wanted to take a pedallo out all week and we figured that now was as good a time as any.

We excitedly raced back to the hotel room and then having got our swimming togs on we headed out again for a bit of pedal powered nautical fun. Isaac was so excited that he nearly burst, he sat in one of the pedalling seats and Reuben plonked himself behind the steering wheel. Mummy was told to sit in the back and relax. The pedallo had a tall slide fixed to it which allowed occupants to slide into the warm blue waters of the sea, or as was the case here the cool blue waters. After a period of pedalling around (despite his feet not reaching the pedals Isaac was determined to keep trying!) the time came for the slide to be tried out.

Isaac pulled on his goggles and climbed the steps, after a brief pause at the top he hurled himself down the slide and into the water, we held our breath but needn’t have worried, he surfaced and swam beautifully to the side of the boat where he was helped out and back into his seat “that was cold but soooo awesome” was his view on the experience.

Naturally Reuben wanted a go and so daddy had to get in to catch him (we are a bit responsible) this left the controls unmanned and the good ship Z soon began to blow away in the breeze. Queue the comical image of biggest Z in the water swimming to deeper water towing the pedallo while mummy Z tried to get Reuben to the top of the slide and Isaac valiantly steered and pedalled!

Eventually we were in place and Reuben duly slid into the water, got the shock of his short life and was handed back onto the boat.

Isaac then went down again!! Once again showing how good his swimming is and how brave he is.

After their dunking the boys were a little chilly so we headed back in and went to the indoor pool to warm up.

After a swim we went to the room to get dressed for dinner.

Because everyone had been so brave and superbly behaved all day we decided to have a treat tea, we took advantage of the hotels superb ‘pizza corner’.

The day ended with a couple of drinks back in the room as the boys slept.

We discovered that the hotel stocked ‘Rola-cola’ and that there are no optics so the bar staff simply slosh what they think is a decent measure into a glass and then add a mixer. This made for a very bracing G&T!

Day 6

We had decided that our last days would be local days. We had a light breakfast and grabbed our swimming kit and towels to put in the buggy. We had seen a lovely spot for a swim earlier in the week when visiting the old town and decided that now would be a good time to go and try it out.

We walked around to the old town with Isaac leading the way and telling us facts about tides and the sea. Once in the old town we tried to find the Hotel Cavtat where Michelle’s parents had stayed some years ago. We found the hotel and were going to go and get a photo to show them but it was up a hill and many steps so we decided against it.

As we walked back to town Reuben nodded off so with hi installed in his buggy for a snooze, we headed to the swimming spot. Initially we paddled and checked out the shoals of fish swimming right up to the sea wall. Eventually Isaac decided that it was time to get in so daddy and Isaac got changed and got in. The water was initially cool but clear and as we swum out the views were lovely. The old town was even prettier from the water.

Isaac was fantastic in the water, the dived down the the bottom (about 3m) and was happily bobbing up and down watching the fish swimming around the rocks.

He then hitched a ride on daddy’s back and we swam together around the harbour jetty and along the coast.

Isaac loved it, chattering about the fish and how deep the water was. Eventually his chatter was replaced by the chatter of his teeth and we swam back to shore and to mummy waiting with a warm towel and a snuggle.

Dami went back out for a swim and Isaac and Michelle sat in the sun warming through and listening to music. Once Reben woke up we set off back to the hotel, about half way back Reuben decided that he wanted mummy and Isaac to sing to him and demanded ‘sleeping bunnies’ be sung many times over.

We got back in time for lunch and all of us ate well and decided on what to do for the afternoon.

We decided to stay around the pool and play a little football. We also found a large adventure playground at the back of the hotel with a huge spiral slide both of the boys had great fun climbing up (Reuben needing a little assistance) and then sliding down full tilt.

The boys were starting to flag and so we headed back to the room for a hours chill out time. This was surprisingly appreciated by all and afterwards we got dressed for dinner and headed to the dining room.

Reuben decided that he wasn’t hungry but the rest of us ate well and after picking up the mandatory couple of drinks for in the room we head edge back to put the boys to bed.

Isaac was a superstar as ever at bedtime and was asleep in minutes with Reuben putting up an admirable struggle but only for 20 minutes! We then chatted and read and drank our drinks until sleep was all we could do.

Another lovely day spent doing blissfully little!

Day 7

Our last full day on holiday and we decided to fill it. We started with a full breakfast, Isaac picked his own and loaded his own plate in true big boy style and then polished it off, Reuben was less keen on eating but drank his milk and settled for a banana for breakfast.

We had decided to walk back to the old town and go swimming again on our favourite jetty. Isaac was very excited by this and chatted happily all the way over. Reuben fell asleep and so the same scene as yesterday day unfolded with mummy sitting in the sun keeping warm and having a read while keeping an eye on Reuben, daddy and Isaac swam about in the sea making videos and chasing fish underwater.

Isaac was getting better and better, he was happier swimming out into deeper water and then equally as happy swimming down as deep as he could to look at a fish or try and pick up a pebble from the bottom. He was thrilled at the idea of a water piggyback, swimming along on daddy’s back while looking down into the water and spotting fish.

His best spot was a bright red starfish which was hiding in the rocks, Isaac asked for a video to be taken as he swam down to get a closer look.

Very proud of himself for his spot we swam back to shore and mummy’s waiting towel and warm hug.

As Isaac warmed up and Reuben slept daddy swam about in the water and swap out to where the sea bed dropped away sharply, even with a concerted effort and bursting lungs the bottom remained a little out of reach – but it was fun trying!

Drying out and warming up in the sun we chatted about our next course of action, this was to get a snack, we had been told about a local bakery that did fantastic donuts and soon found the establishment and set about choosing what favour to have. This being a difficult decision we opted for one of each which doesn’t sound much but these donuts were the size of Reuben’s head. Having refuelled the boys had a good play in a little park and then we walked up and down the front, as it was a treat day we grabbed and ice-cream and watched a large police patrol boat set off from the dockside. The boys waved and the crew took a break from looking mean and moody to smile and wave back.

We set off to walk back to the hotel for a snack and an afternoon playing. On the way we found a restaurant for our last night meal and then headed up the road, Reuben decided that the song of the day was once again sleeping bunnies and so the locals were treated to the singing family Z’s repeated rendition of the same.

Back at the hotel we retired to our room to relax for an hour and pack our bags to make the morning less stressful, mission accomplished we headed out to the pool for a final swim. Reuben insisted on trying the outdoor pool in the vain hope that it had somehow warmed up, disappointed we grabbed a drink and headed to the indoor pool where the boys happily swam, jumped in and floated about to their hearts content.

After the boys had largely worn themselves out we headed back to the room wash up and head out for dinner. As the clocks changed today we planned to stay out later than normal with the boys to make sure that they weren’t up daft early. The boys played their part well and both seemed pretty lively as we bathed showered and danced around the room to tunes from mummy’s iPad.

Eventually we were all dressed and ready to go. We set off for outer final night meal with the boys quite chipper despite the time. We easily found our restaurant of choice and were given seats near to the patio heater. The menu had boasted something called a ‘meat story platter’ – we had to really – and weren’t disappointed, the platter had all kinds of meats charcoal grilled and served with grilled veg and chips. The boys had a fish fillet with chips, well Isaac did, Reuben resolutely refused to eat a thing – luckily the kitchen had a healthy supply of milk!

With full tummies we headed back to the hotel, Reuben fell asleep in his buggy and Isaac fell asleep on daddy’s back. Wg chatted about the holiday, the fantastic location and the fact that we had barely scratched the surface of the surrounding area, never,ind the rest of the country. We enjoyed the evening views and the clear starlight night sky as the lights from the hotels and boats shone and twinkled on the water ?idyllic is a an overused term ?but here it fitted perfectly.

This little corner of Croatia had provided us with a wonderful break, the boys had played, swum and laughed all day everyday and we had relaxed more than we thought we would, the views had been beautiful, the weather brilliant, the towns picture perfect, the people we had met, friendly and helpful and we had enjoyed some much needed family time. Lovely holiday and lovely memories.