We first visited Croatia 5 years ago, when we were planning for a summer/autumn vacation (and doing it a little too late). It was around June and we weren’t yet sure where we’d go for a seaside vacation. After seeing some offers for Malta and Greece, our eyes fell on a picture with a Croatian seaside resort and we thought ‘why not?’. Even if the picture looked amazing and the prices were pretty decent, we couldn’t shake an uneasy feeling: the entire country was recovering from a war and we were expecting a lot of problems, especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which we’d have to drive through to get to Croatia.
After a short chat with few of our friends we found out that these were just folk tales, that many of them had already vacationed there and drove there with absolutely no problems. No rackets, no fake policemen, nobody robbed them. Some showed us pictures from their vacations and we were clearly sold on the idea to try something indeed new for us: a holiday in Croatia.
After setting our eyes on the wonderful Dubrovnik area and knowing that we do have our car with us (so we don’t have to get accommodation right in the city), we chose to look for a place on a 10 mile radius. This way we got to stay in a small fishermen village called Cavtat. Booking.com allowed us to read many reviews and weigh our options nicely, so we were really pleased with the villa we had to stay in. So pleased that we have been 3 more times there and plan on going back there next year, after our daughter is born.
The villa is right by the sea, separated by the water by a one way street and a very small parking lot. If you’d want to throw an apple from the terrace into the sea, it wouldn’t be too hard, you’d probably hit one of the small fishing vessels ‘parked’ there.
In order to get to the cemetery that (weirdly enough) represents the topic of this article, we have to walk by the sea and then go up the small hill that appears in the above picture.
What you can see in the pictures is the amazing color of the sea and what you cannot (unfortunately) smell is the amazing pine perfume that makes you wonder if you’re really at a seaside resort or somewhere in the mountains.
The Cavtat seaside area is made up by 2 gulfs, the one appeared in the first picture, this other one is used by bigger yachts. This is the old village, with century old houses and churches, all made from limestone. The buildings are amazingly elegant and yet modest, not detracting your eye from the natural beauty of the gulf and the water.
And now it’s uphill for us. Don’t expect some very steep or long mountain trekking, it’s just a nice path over the very small hill. You can admire the buildings from here, while the pine smell is really strong and fresh.
And now we’re up the hill, to the cemetery where many of the old Cavtat people are resting for the eternity. The cemetery is continuously expanding, but in a very elegant way. The view from it is astounding. While most of us will probably rest in some regular city cemetery, the Croatians here will ‘see’ Dubrovnik, the neighbouring islands and the sea. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.
The cemetery is very clean and well organized. There are trees and flowers to make it even more beautiful.
New resting places, as the cemetery keeps on expanding.
Limestone is the main ‘ingredient’ here, as it is in most buildings in Cavtat.
There is a big white building in the cemetery, which is the Racic family mausoleum. It was erected almost 100 years ago (1921 to be more precise) and has one nice particularity: it was built without any wood or other materials except for bronze (and of course the limestone). If you go there at certain hours in the week, there’s the chance to also visit the mausoleum inside, we decided not to though and enjoyed its beauty from the outside.
The entire building is kept clean, it’s hard to believe it’s almost a century old and yet the limestone is so pristine.
As an example, this cross is also made from limestone (even if it looks as if it was carved in concrete) and it’s nice to see how it ages in time. The mausoleum though still looks as if it was made less than one year ago.
We take one last look at the mausoleum and get ready to return to the village.
A small yacht (compared with the others we have seen) has moved from the ‘main’ gulf to this one and the arid mountains mirror their almost bald peaks into the clear sea.
Few small boats are still tied up near the shore, while the people are getting ready for a nice quiet lunch.
We take one more photo of the blue clear sea and the elegant restaurant near the shore and get ready to eat. We’re hungry.