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DUBROVNIK - CROATIA | TRAVEL DIARY WITH TWO UNDER FOUR (PART ONE)



Brad and I have been together six and a half years and for the first nearly two years we spent pretty skint and just worked our butts off to afford to attend two years in a row of Bestival and that was really it. Then for the next three years we spent basically pregnant or with a tiny baby and a very kind trip to Disneyland Paris thanks to my lovely Mum and step-Dad. We then had a under a year of wedding planning with a tiny baby and we ended 2017 with our wedding and our honeymoon to Disneyland paris again. 
Thats when I realised that actually upon returning to work at the end of the December and bringing in an extra income we would do more with our lives and Brad was just as happy to jump on board that idea train. 

We could be learning to drive or getting a bigger property but in January we decided that actually that will always be there as an option so why not treat ourselves to some travelling this year, so that's exactly what we did. I booked Edinburgh for my birthday and Croatia for Brad's and it was the best decision, ever. The kids had the best time ever and now I want to make sure that whatever foundations are laid for the path our life may take that holidays are always going to be an option, even if we're left eating beans on toast for a month.


We arrived on the Monday around midday after twelve hours of travelling from home to Gatwick to Gatwick to Dubrovnik airport to Lapad but as soon as we checked in, our very basic and cheap, hotel we opened the curtains to the most spectacular view and knew instantly that we were in such a beautiful city and as much as I hate to give her credit and say she's always right... my Mum was right when she said we should go here.

We headed to local maxi-market which was about a 15 minute walk or so (but can be done by bus) and did a little food shop for the week. Now we're budget holiday goers, even for Disneyland we did the same, for Disney we refused to pay for breakfast as we didn't think it was worth the money last time and took our own instant porridge pots and brioches for the kids.
This shop included, plastic knifes, a loaf of bread, chocolate spread, a 6L bottle of water, some Lays, some Croatian dupe of pom bears and paper cups. apart from buying a packet of crisps extra if we or the children felt hungry at any point we were sorted for lunch for the week and we really were. I had already packed a box of mini gingerbread men and a box of minion biscuits for snacks for the littles and it really was enough.
We were half board anyway so breakfast was included and we had an all you can eat style dinner too so felt going into a restaurant every lunchtime wasn't worth it as we'd be going for a big dinner later on and we never felt we went without as thats the sort of thing the kids would have eaten for lunch at home.
The shop came to 85kn (about £10) so thats really not an expensive shop.




After the maxi-market we headed to sunset beach to have a look around and threw stones in the water and the kids had the best time doing that, we also used the park on the beach front and they had fun going up and down the slide and playing together on the see-saw was so sweet but the bags under their eyes from the long travelling meant we cut the day short around 5pm and headed back to the hotel for 2 hours of chilling out before dinner which started at 7pm.

The next day we headed for breakfast around 8am as the littles had slept in a little which was lovely but with the time difference being an hour ahead of Britain it was actually only really 7am back home.
Breakfast consisted of cheese, ham, croissants, sausage, egg, fruit, yogurt, cereal and toast and there was fruit juices and hot drinks too.
Lucas had a different fruit juice every day and they both ate really well in the Morning which was really good. Every meal time Lucas would chose a piece of fruit without being prompted which made me so happy as he is really good with fruit (not so much vegetables though).

After breakfast we headed back to our room to get ready for the day and we still didn't really have a plan on what to do that day but decided to hop on the bus that came from right outside our hotel and takes you straight to the old town. It takes about 15 minutes on the bus from our hotel (Adriatic) and it cost 30kn (for two adults) each way so 60kn (you cannot buy returns on the bus) which is about £7 so not much more expensive than what you would pay in the UK for a bus really.


As soon as you reach the old town you're instantly met with the most beautiful architecture I have personally seen in person. You feel like you've been taken back in time and can see why they filmed  parts of 'Game Of Thrones' here (Which we've never seen but are going to start) It's just amazing, and the backdrop behind these buildings is the ocean or mountains. You can take a cable car up but with the pram we didn't attempt it. That is a point I want to make too if you're travelling with a child I would suggest a carrier or to travel without a pram if you want to make the most of everything. There's a lot of steps (steep steps) that take you up to places that we didn't get to see and views we missed due to Iris being in her pram. At the same time we don't feel like we missed out as we just feel we saw everything from a different angle.
Lucas also got a photo with a man selling Dubrovnik medals for 10kn (about £1) and he was really proud of his medal and it's a great keepsake for him. 




We didn't spend long in the old town on the Tuesday as, as soon as we walked into the old port Lucas was desperate to go on a boat so how could we say no. We hopped on the Panorama boat tour after four different boat companies tried to sell us their boat tour but Panorama basically gave you a longer tour around the edge of Dubrovnik and Lokrum. The boat tour was 120kn for two adults (about £14) and once you arrived on the island it was 240kn for both adults (£28.50 altogether) I do believe we were conned ever so slightly, well more taken advantage of as I think if you get the official Lokrum boat it's included in your entry fee to the island but I would definitely wait for the Lokrum boat to see before you pay for one of the "taxi boats" The lokrum boat is bigger, looks a bit like a pirate ship according to Lucas, we may be wrong and it may just be free on the returning journey but I keep finding contradicting information online, some saying its free, others saying its 40kn one way so i'm not sure.

Either way we actually really enjoyed our trip on our "taxi boat" and Lucas spent the whole time looking through his binoculars or yelling "I am a captain" and "where's my hook" which was just the loveliest. Iris spent her time watching the waves and shouting "ooooh" and "wow" and yelling "fishhhh" which was just as lovely. The boat ride was probably one of my favourite parts of the trip purely for the their reactions.





The Island of Lokrum didn't disappoint either. Moments into arriving and starting our walk we were met by some peacocks, which make an almighty noise may I add. They are really blooming loud. Lucas was so good, he used some of his knowledge he's learnt at forest school and carefully and quietly approached them with his binoculars to his eyes and was the most, cutest little explorer.

The Island of Lokrum has so much to do on it, there's places to eat and drink and places to picnic too. There's olive trees, a game of thrones exhibition, botanical gardens, the dead sea, a play park and outdoor gym area and just the most beautiful views of the Adriatic sea. It was just amazing, we wandered for a while before setting up camp to have our lunch with our toes in the dead sea.



I'm going to do a separate post for what the kids wore in Croatia because they both had some gorgeous outfits on.

The best part for the kids about the Island of Lokrum was the wildlife and sea life. The fish and huge crabs in the dead sea were amazing and the peacocks and rabbits running around was just incredible. Iris loved the "Peppers" and it really was just beautiful everywhere you walked.


 



We headed back on the 2pm boat to get ice cream at Lucas' request and it couldn't be any old ice cream shop (the old town has a lot) but it had to be the one with the ice cream cone man outside it and Lucas also had to take a picture with it!
Iris chose Banana flavour, Lucas Strawberry, I had hazelnut and Brad had cookies. That sums us all up really. The ice cream at that shop was 12kn each (£1.40ish) but when we visited a different day we went to a different shop and we paid 10kn each (£1.19ish) so look around for ice cream.







We finished the day by going back to the hotel around 4pm and getting changed and heading to Sunset beach for an hour at 6pm to look at the fish, throw stones and to admire the setting sun.

Part Two is coming soon! Which will feature more of the Old town and Sunset beach (as well as new beach information that we missed out on)