DUBROVNIK-Pearl of the Adriatic

Dubrovnik, one of the few totally walled cities left in Europe

Dubrovnik is unique among the cities of Croatia for many reasons. It was a city state and was never occupied through the centuries, because with its skill in diplomacy was always ready to forge alliances against foreseen threats. (Minor note—Croatia was the first country to recognize the new country of the United States of America.)

Dubrovnik is the hottest of the hot cities in Europe to visit. We’re talking over 1 million visitors have come to the walled city by mid August this year. We are visiting this city at its pinnacle of success and popularity. There can be 5 cruise ships and 10,000 visitors on any one day, flooding through the narrow streets and along the wall taking pictures, eating ice cream and doing the “touristy things.” My biggest worry about the place is…what’s that Yogi Berra joke—the place is so crowded people won’t go there anymore. Success can kill you just as easily as failure. But the “Pearl of the Adriatic” is far from a failure. I would suggest if you want to come here and don’t enjoy crowds (I don’t) I would visit from November to April. Vacation here, July/August/September and October? Forget ‘bout it!
The city was under the influence of Venice for two hundred years and the people have a strong business sense they acquired from the commerce savvy Venetians — consummate traders and merchants of the 16th and 17th Century. So what is the business of Dubrovnik. As mentioned above the city and the country has sold out to tourism. 87% of the economy is tourism. Within the walls of the city are enough restaurants, gift shop, ice cream stores, clothing stores, and tourism venues to handle maybe double the millions of visitors they receive. To open a business here is a simple process. The good/bad news is the modern day consummate traders of the world, commonly called multi-national corporations, many American, are NOT here…yet. No Starbucks, McDonalds, Domino Pizza or WalMart. The largest franchise we saw was a small United Colors of Benetton. Of course the dominate universal American culture of music, film and television are everywhere playing in the background.
The young Croatian women dress as well as any woman in the world. The Croatian men? Well, most guys just put on clothes. See pictures.
So much for the cultural report. What did we do? We wandered the narrow streets and passageways of this city. We walked the wall around the entire city in two hours (A must.) If you come here and stay expect to climb stairs, lots of them. It would be very rare if you found an apartment within the city walls that didn’t have stairs. (102 stairs up from the plaza to our apartment, 42 stairs down from the street above us—just for the record). The apartments outside of the old city have even more steps up to them. We took a boat ride out to nearby island and spent the glorious day walking around and sitting by the ocean. We took two excursion bus trips to the city of Mostar in Bosnia, heavily hit in the civil war in the 1990s. We took another bus trip to the neighboring state of Montenegro and toured the cities of Kotor and Budva. Montenegro is the favorite spot of Russian and Ukrainian tourists. They are quickly taking over the country via summer homes and luxury hotels and own 60% of Budva. See pictures. We went to two concerts, the symphony which was surprisingly good and a concert of sitar and tabla music. We went by bus to a lovely little village down the coast for an afternoon and took a boat ride back.
In Dubrovnik the ice cream is fab—Anita is addicted to the flavor Don Vito and there are stores selling this gelato everywhere. The curio shops sell the same kitsch you always see around the world. There are hundreds of restaurants and coffee bars. One restaurant recommend by a friend who lives here 3 months of the years is Nishta, it is a vegetarian place. Beside the good food, the bathroom doors have Ken and Barbie dolls on the front to distinguish a boy or girl room and they have Ken and Barbie clothes and paraphernalia in the toilet stalls. Cute, no? A word about prices, not inexpensive, this is a tourist town and the prices show it.
All in all, even with the gangbuster tourists all about, we are staying in an unbelievably quiet apartment several streets UP from the main drag (no cars, roosters, dogs or cojetes). We will undoubtedly miss the quiet. Our next stop is Istanbul. No quiet there I’m sure.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151075311941516.432520.667416515&type=1&l=33ff2490d3 to see photos

 

One Response to “DUBROVNIK-Pearl of the Adriatic”

  1. Jackline Says:

    Wow! Great photos! Enjoyed the post. I’ve never been to Dubrovnik, and I am traveling vicariously by your posts and pics.
    Jackline

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