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Monday, 22 July 2013
We have just spent 10 days in the fabulous "Radisson BLU" resort & Spa just outside Dubrovnik - Croatia. As a family of 5 ranging in age from 6 to 51 we had a wide range of needs and interests! The 4-year old resort is one of the most family friendly resort we have ever come across.
The hotel itself is a work of art and as my eldest son pointed out, looks like something out of a James Bond film - with its top heavy upper part and 'sweeping' lower torso. We didn't stay in the hotel, but one of the comfortable apartments within walking distance.
Our view from the flat was stunning, with views of the many islands in the sea, which our handsome taxi driver told us - "the cleanest sea in the world after Cyprus". We didn't argue with that!
The facilities were excellent with 2 swimming pools for families, complete with mood lighting and the usual fountains and slides. One pool was for adults only - with views of the sea.
The kids club was free and our youngest loved every minute of it. Open from 10 til 7, the supervisors were friendly and did proper activities, including taking the children to have tennis lessons, rock climbing, badminton and swimming, plus disco for the last hour. As Croatia has only just joined the EU, there were no silly health and safety rules! Yet.
The ancient town of Dubrovnik was a boat or bus ride away, which the hotel organised. We spent a couple of days in this gorgeous little city - you can walk all the way round it on the fortress walls. There is new cable car which takes you up to the highest point - where the famous cross stands (damaged in the 90's war, but fully restored). The city had no cars in the main parts, so it was a joy to meander around on the old flagstoned lanes.
(The walled city of Dubrovnik - view from the boat)
(One of the side streets in Dubrovnik - with view of the fully restored cross at the top)
We saw some evidence of the war, in the pharmacy - the oldest in the world - now a museum of antique ecclesiastical curiosities. A war missile had shot through the thick Franciscan monastery wall and through the inside wall. A miracle that no other damage was done.
Shopping was a pleasure, with local produce, such as the tiny olive oil deli doing free tastings on the pavement. My eldest son found the allure of the pretty girl selling them too much to resist and bought 4 bottles.
You have to climb many stairs in the narrow passageways (which have pretty cushions to sit on) - and we stumbled on a artisan T-shirt shop, where you choose the print to put on. They are called "Liberty" T-shirts, in memory of the end of the war. There was a little wine bar with wine tastings. We did the white wine and red wine tasing - Croatian wine is actually delicious!
The pilgrim site of Medugorje is a 2-hour drive away - again organised by the hotel and the men managed to find a bar where there was free wi-fi and listened to the Test Match. After the English Mass at noon (for the practising Catholics in the family), we all managed to climb the famous "Apparition Hill" which was quite a feat, with all the rocks and other obstacles. There is a statue of Our Lady at the top and some pilgrims were on their knees in silent prayer. Others wrote notes and left them by the statue. A priest was on a boulder with a prayer book. The views of the town were spectacular.
We need to exercise extreme caution with this 'apparition' site as the 'messages' appear to contradict Church doctrines. This by itself should be a red flag for anyone. Also, the Vatican issued a statement early 2014 saying they the 'seers' are not to publicly invite people to 'meetings' where they say Our Lady is going to appear. Be warned!