We set our sights on visiting Trsteno Arboretum, so after enquiring at the local bus stop in Lapad, we headed to Dubrovnik Bus Station and awaited the next bus* to Trsteno which is about 20km north of Dubrovnik. We didn't have to wait too long and enjoyed another beautiful scenic journey. Trsteno is a wonderful little picturesque village overlooking the Adriatic.
We were dropped off along a roadside in Trsteno and noticed a nearby sign for the Arboretum next to a huge oriental plane tree. The sign directed us down a steep path which continued to decline until we came to the ticket booth half way down. The entrance fee for the gardens was 50 Kuna.
We headed towards the glorious pergola first, which was used as the Red Keep palace gardens in Game of Thrones. Deeper into the gardens you will find the baroque fountain filled with large water lilies, bullfrogs and gold fish, which was also used as a location for the gardens of Kings Landing.
The Arboretum stretches to approximately 6 metres, with over 300 different species of plant. The garden has a renaissance feel about it, and an array of plants from lavender and rosemary, to fuchsias and bougainvilla, a towering bamboo forest and a large palm collection. Though there were some landscaped parts, the wildness of the garden stood out to me and the whole place felt almost like a secret garden, tranquil and quiet. There were also the remains of an old grape and olive press which was fascinating to see.
I made friends with a beautiful little cat who kept trying to play with my shoelaces. One thing that struck me about Croatia is that there are a very large number of stray cats, which as a cat owner, I found quite upsetting. It was heart wrenching to see so many thin cats scrounging for food and some looking unwell. There is an organisation aiming to teach the population about spaying and neutering their cats. There didn’t seem to be a cat shelter close, I just wanted to bring them all home and care for them (being the self confessed cat lady that I am!). I know that when I hopefully return to Croatia again, I will be packing lots of cat food with me!
We left the Arboreteum and walked back up the hill and saw a sign towards the harbourside. We followed the lane back down another hill past lots of beautiful houses with vegetable patches and a little area where somebody was making their own olive oil. We also spotted more stray cats, but this time I was happy to see that they looked well fed and watered by the local residents.
The harbour was a lovely place to sit, we saw only one other person and it was very peaceful indeed, small and quaint and rather wonderful. There appeared to be a coastal walk from here, but facing the steep climb of the hill to catch our return bus back to Dubrovnik, we decided to pass on more walking.
Back in Dubrovnik we headed for a drink at the quirky Art Cafe. Here seats had been replaced with bathtubs sliced in half, and we enjoyed reading the menu full of band-named cocktails.
We had noticed cable cars ascending up towards the top of Mount Srd, which we could see from our apartment in Lapad, and so one smoothie later, decided to catch a ride to see the view for ourselves. A round trip cost 150 Kuna. The views from the top were staggering, overlooking Old Town and the Elaphiti Islands.
After taking numerous pictures of the mountains, we descended back down the hill and headed back to our apartment for a rest and a cold shower!
*To get to Trsteno, catch local bus 12, 15, 21, 22 or 35 from Dubrovnik Bus Station