There is no getting around it, today Dubrovnik is a tourist destination. In the 1990’s the city was 60% destroyed in the Croatian-Serbian war. It has been stunningly rebuilt. There is one single museum that documents the horror of the war, the 400 dead, and the destruction. We did not visit the museum, not consciously, but because we wandered the city and did not stumble upon it. Jim, a fellow Seabourn guest, described the museum when we happened upon him during an epicurean pool side event. That Yugoslavia has fractured as it has, and that Scotland is pushing for secession, and Venice is pushing for secession from Italy, all these things portend trouble at best for Europe. Once fractured, petty differences can become cause bellum. Rather than seeing the causes that bind us, the world is seeking issues to differentiate us. Politicians use this tearing of the fabric of society to further their own ends and destroy what we, as humans, have in common.
That Greece may be thrown out of the EU, may make sense to some. If you cannot pay your loans, some punishment is due. But in leaving the EU, would not Greece turn to Russia or China? What then for geopolitical stability in the Eastern Europe?
Dubrovnik is a beautiful city. Ellen and I were standing at an intersection and I noticed the word uncial. I studied Russia and the Russian language and know enough of the language to recognize the similarities between Russian and Croat. In many instances the difference is in the alphabet only. Street, good evening, good morning are all identical phonetically (or nearly so). Ulitca is the Russian word for street, phonetically transcribed into the Roman alphabet. I mentioned to Ellen that the word was Russian and I had a local Croatian walk up to me and say, “NO. Not RUSSIAN, is CROATIAN word. We fought war over this.”
Did I feel one inch tall. I mean these people had just fought a war and this fellow could well be a survivor or perhaps had born arms against the Serbs. My sense of righteous indignation that the fellow did not see the similarity between Russian and Croatian did a 180. Even if I was correct, there was no reason to antagonize this fellow and no telling what he was capable of if I had chosen to “be correct”. I apologized as best; I could and fled the scene vowing not to speak Russian, talk of Russian or even think Russian for the nest 24 hours.
The old city does not have facilities for a cruise ship to dock, even a small one. Smaller ships anchor and ferry passengers ashore. With only two cruise ships in port, Dubrovnik was fun. The main street which is also the main shopping street was crowded, but walk one block off that street and you could be by yourself. I thought there were only two cruise ships in port. Jim (from above) also mentioned that there were two or three huge cruise ships docked in the new port in the new city and that a team of busses was ferrying some of them to the gates of the old city! I don’t know where they went, but I did not see hoards teeming in the streets. It could be that many were waking the town’s ramparts which are organized as a one way walk high above the city. Because it is one way, while walking the battlements you’ll only see the small group of people walking with you.
There are very many small taverns and restaurants all over the city, most are in narrow streets or alleyways just a block or two from the main street. The food is mild, not spicy, and quite good. Lamb, fish, and shell fish dominate the menus.
Dubrovnik’s main draw is the quaintness of the town. The medieval walls are mostly intact. Ruins of a much older city wall are visible from the western ramparts. We walked the ramparts all the way around the old city. That was fun though we took far too many photos. Dubrovnik, Mykonos, and Oia are among the most photogenic we have ever visited The walk around the city takes about two hours if you meander and enjoy the views. It can be done in half that time if you rush or twice that time if you have issues walking.
Dubrovnik sits at the base of a modest mountain. A tram runs from the back of the city to the top of the mountain and the view over Dubrovnik and out to the sea. This is well worth doing. I suggest going early in the morning ahead of the crowds. Jim said they took a taxi to the top which was less expensive and afforded better views of the city.
We are now off to a small fishing village for a taste of small town Croatia.