Take it one step at a time
BIRKDALE, QLD I HAD often wondered how effective and demanding step aerobics would be. Well, I was about to find out on a visit to Dubrovnik in Croatia. My wife and I arrived late one afternoon after completing week-long guided tours of Turkey, Greece and Croatia. Our bags were getting heavier and approaching the 30kg airline baggage limit. We were feeling rather exhausted.
We had booked a hotel in the so-called Old Town, and had a rough idea where it would be. We trudged down the main street, weaving our way through hordes of fellow tourists. On one side of the street were intriguing little alleys lined with restaurants, cafes, small galleries and boutiques. They were all on flat ground.
On the opposite side were similar alleys, but these clawed their way up to much higher levels via countless steps. We soon discovered that we would need the energy and determination of mountain goats to reach our hotel, situated well up one of these steep routes.
We struggled up the first lot of steps, dragging our cases as best we could. The second level was even steeper but thankfully our hotel was not far up. We knocked and went inside. A small hallway formed the reception area. An old woman emerged from the shadows. She was the owner and was expecting us. ‘‘This way to your room,’’ she told us. ‘‘Follow me.’’ We sighed. No elevator. Three flights of steps up a narrow staircase. Our suitcases felt like bags of cement by this stage. She pushed open a door. ‘‘Your room here,’’ she cheerfully told us. The double bed occupied nearly all the space, with a gap of about 25cm on one side and slightly more on the other. All the facilities we needed were there but jammed in an area not much bigger than a walk-in wardrobe.
‘‘Make sure the bathroom door is closed when you take a shower,’’ I muttered to my wife, ‘‘otherwise, we’ll have water all over the bedroom floor.’’
A stove and a fridge stood in one corner. Everything seemed in miniature after the five-star accommodation of our guided tours. We enjoyed four days experiencing this lovely city, but we battled the steps every time we went out — they keep visitors to Dubrovnik incredibly fit or unmercifully exhausted. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: travel@ theaustralian.com.au. Columnists receive an Aubecq frypan ($99.99) from the Evergreen Classic range of ceramic-based ecocookware with nonstick coating. More: (02) 9662 3450; morganware.com.au; petersofkensington. com.au.