The Adriatic: Koper, Bologna, Split and Dubrovnik

Koper, Slovenia

Our first port of call was Koper, which dates back to the ancient Greeks and today has a population of 50,000. Like so many other cities and towns in Europe it has both old and new sections. From the ship we walked into Koper's Old Town via the Muda Gate and once inside saw the historic Praetorian Palace, City Loggia and the lovely Cathedral of Saint Nazarius, one of many we were to visit on our travels.

The cruise offered several 'formal' nights where females are required to dress up and males must wear a jacket or dinner suit. Since our 20kg luggage limit didn't allow for the inclusion of a jacket, we set off into the New Town of Koper and discovered a clothing store that had a great selection of men's jackets, and at least one of the sales assistants spoke English. Jim bought a lovely cashmere and angora slate grey jacket, off the rack, and it fitted perfectly.

It rained heavily all day in Koper so on the way back to the ship we called in at a very modern cafe and ordered tea, which was delivered in beautiful individual crockery teapots. It was a fitting end to our day.

Ravenna, Italy

Since we had already visited the main attraction in Ravenna, the rich mosaics of the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuove, in 2011, we opted for a shore excursion to the town of Bologna. Bologna is the seventh most populated city in Italy, located in the north.

It was a Sunday so unfortunately most of the businesses were closed but we did have the opportunity to dine on some delicious pasta just off the main square, the Piazza Maggiore, and visit a couple of beautiful cathedrals as well as the famous Bologna Leaning Towers.

Split, Croatia

We chose the morning shore excursion to the ancient ruins of Salona, which dates back to the ancient Greeks, and the delightful island town of Trogir. Our guide, an archaeologist, enthralled us with his knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the site.

Trogir, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a tiny walled town on an island connected only by two bridges. Trogir has a plethora of narrow laneways just brimming with restaurants and tourist shops, as well as a fort and the Cathedral of St Lawrence. We were even serenaded by the Slovenian version of a barbershop quartet - who were brilliant.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Dubrovnik was founded in the 7th Century on a rocky island named Laus. We caught a shuttle bus into one of the world's best medieval walled cities and 'walked the wall' which was constructed mainly in the 12th -17th centuries and runs for 1,940 metres. The views are fantastic and hundreds of steps ensure its a great way to get fit!

A couple of hours later we collapsed into chairs at a cafe in the Old Town, drank coffee and ate a huge bowl of multi-flavoured icecream. Croatia was the only country we visited that doesn't use the Euro currency so this meant exchanging into Croatian Kuna for the day. One Australian dollar is worth seven Kuna so my resident accountant was easily able to make the relevant calculations.