From Canada to Croatia; Geology behind the white pebbles and Game of Thrones link
Intro: Well, I decided to do a little travelling – very last minute and quite unplanned. Prior to this, I have yet to leave North America; and by that I really mean Canada with a trip to California/Hawaii once or twice. Thus going to Europe for September was defiantly going to be, if anything, the longest plane ride in my life so far! A tentative arrangement of an Eastern(ish) Europe trip of Croatia-Slovenia-Switzerland and “we’ll see after that” was the idea. It’s a little stressful at the start but as long as you stay calm and positive, and have excess to wifi, then it’s really not too bad to plan whilst travelling and book your stays several days before you arrive.
So with a long flight across the pond I landed in London where I met up with my sister. She was traveling in Europe for most of the summer already, and is a video-blogger on YouTube. You can see her video of our Croatia trip here.
With a short night in London we flew early the next morning to Croatia. Once there the plan was simple, go from South to North – Dubrovnik to Split – with some sunny, Croatian island hoping in-between.
Croatia has lots to offer, and with such a far-reaching Mediterranean coast, and copious islands, there is a lot to choose from, but I’m going to highlight Dubrovnik and investigate into its highly fortified, white stone-red roof old town a bit more for you.
Science-Spiel: White Rocks with Lime (Geology)
From the low rolling hill to the cobble street stones in Dubrovnik, the most obvious feature is the colour, or lack-of colour I should say. These white and beige rocks make up the majority of the Croatian coast, known as Croatian limestone. And their composition? Well, clearly lime, slightly more popular then it’s counterpart lemonstone… Ok, not really. It’s actually made of dead sea animals – seriously.
Through time shells and skeletons of marine organism accumulate and compress, enough time later limestone is eventually formed. The Croatian limestone is roughly Jurassic-Cretaceous (200-65 million years) in age, so back when the dinosaurs were around this coastline would have been underwater, in a shallow sea environment much like the vast coral reeves off the Australian coast nowadays.
Over time these rocks have been easily rounded and smoothened (due to the ‘soft’ nature of limestone, containing high % of calcite, which is a mineral that erodes very easily with slightly acidic rain). These pebbles make up most of the famous Croatian beaches, such as on Bol, and give rise to a crystal clear beach side! Much nicer than the dirty ‘sandy’ beaches people are always raving about…
Why-You-Might-Recognize-It: A City for Kings (Game of Thrones)
I was super excited when I found out my current favorite TV show is filmed here in Dubrovnik. I even emailed the casting agency to see if I could be an extra, but sadly they were not filming at the same time we were there 🙁 The eye-catching orange roofs, high encompassing walls, and ocean side locality make Dubrovnik’s old town the ideal place for the setting of King’s Landing in A Game of Thrones.
The iron throne and all the quarrel of the books/show revolve around the control of this city, where keys events like Ned’s Beheading, PW, Blackwater, etc. all take place. So to be able to explore and see it irl was pretty wicked.
From the authentic structures of Dubrovnik’s old town walls to the clear ocean and white pebble beaches, I was pleasantly surprised by the lesser know (well, by North American to my understanding, it seems to be the “Hawaii” of Europe to the Europeans…) Mediterranean gem of Croatia’s islands and coast. Next stop, northward to family ties in Slovenia.
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