The Perks of Being a Wallclimber

Day: 112

Cities / Towns Visited: 57

Countries Visited: 16

Steps Taken Today: 18,046

Steps Taken Around the World: 2,008,763

Waking leisurely after a much needed sleep in, we fixed ourselves a quick breakfast and headed out to start our singular activity for the day; traversing the top of the picturesque walls of the medieval old town. The sun was beating down, but we were not to be dissuaded, and marched on over to the east gate up to the top.

As we began the walk, it was clear why the walls were filled with tourists; the view over the cities recognisable, and law enforced, terracotta rooftops is truly stunning. That’s right, no one in and around the city is allowed to have any other colour roof than the traditional; there are also hugely restrictive laws protecting all of the heritage buildings within the walls, in regards to not allowing any physical alterations inside or out. One would expect a city of this age to have dull and aging roofs, but due to the enormous amount of damage the old town took from bombings during the Yugoslav war, they are all relatively new. Although tragic, the result is that us fortunate tourists are able to admire this spectacular view in the glory it would have delivered when the city was originally constructed all those centuries ago.

As you move counter clockwise along, the city seems to change from every angle, and with every step something new flows in and out of view. From one angle you can see the bell tower with its bronze statues of hammer wielding men who faithfully strike the hour. Then suddenly you are up at the highest corner outside the fortification they used as the filming location for the House of the Undying of Qarth in Game of Thrones.

Continuing on, you look down over the strangest laid out basketball court I’ve ever seen, squished into seemingly the only space they could find for it. As you reach the next corner, you are gifted with a picturesque view of Lovrijenac fortress on its towering cliff, and the crystal clear azure waters of the Adriatic on one side, and on the other a view down on roofless ruins of houses from bygone times tucked neatly in the forgotten corner of the city. As you meander the sea fronted wall, the view of the ocean would easily rival any stock photo you’ve ever seen of Santorini or any of those picturesque Greek islands.

Soon enough it was time to finish up our expedition of the city walls, and we headed back down to earth, melted by the intense heat that comes not from the sun, but from the sun’s heat radiated back from this stone filled city, and its thousands of visitors. After buying a quick slice of pizza to fill the void, ice cream was once more in order; another cheap but massive scoop to cool off before our last task for the day. Making the rather arduous walk we reached the docks in just under an hour, and made our way to an information centre to, well, find information. You see in a few days we were planning on doing a couple of day trips out to some of the neighbouring islands, and needed to know where and when to buy tickets and catch the boat. With the relevant information acquired we headed back to our apartment, via the shops for provisions of course.

Another leisurely afternoon resting finally made this feel more like a holiday, than travelling. A holiday from our holiday if you will, and much needed after more than three months of hectic adventuring.

As I lay in the cool dark of our apartment, drifting in and out of sleep, I took a moment to think of how little the view over the city from the walls has changed, even all of these centuries later. The guards who traversed the parapets and kept watch in the towers, would have been met by the same terracotta rooftops, the same hilltop fortress, the same clock tower, and church spires, the same calm azure blue waters. It is at times like this that I am doubly thankful for the preservation work and protection carried out by UNESCO. Without their funding, and their attention, we would lose these precious links to our past; these tiny wormholes to bygone eras; these spectacular creations of our forebears. As someone who has a growing list of your heritage sites under my belt, and a deep appreciation for being able to experience them, I’d just like to say, from me and all of the other history enthusiasts, and sightseers alike, thank you UNESCO.

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On my dream trip to travel the world, taste its foods, see its wonders, and meet all the strange and beautiful people who reside here.

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