The beautiful Dalmatian coast

Trip Start Mar 07, 2006
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Trip End Jun 30, 2006


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Flag of Croatia  ,
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Greetings from the beauty and sunshine of Dubrovnik, the "jewel of the Dalmatian coast", albeit not exactly the undiscovered one. Actually, I have mixed feelings about Dubrovnik. There's no doubt that this is one of the most beautiful places I've seen in my life. Especially the Old Town, which was preserved and restored through the fighting and siege of the early nineties and stretches out with a sea of pink roofs over the brilliant blue water.

However, anyplace this beautiful doesn't exactly stay a secret, and Dubrovnik is completely overrun. The winding streets of the town are full of cafes, shops, and throngs and throngs of tourists, mostly in big groups and speaking French or German or Spanish. There isn't much of a backpacker scene in Dubrovnik; the streets and beaches are packed with families, retired couples, young honeymooners, and the European jet-set crowd. The whole town feels very resort-like, with prices to match; life on a budget isn't easy here, especially compared to the relatively cheap places I just came from. I managed to find a bed in the Lapad Penninsula, about a 15 minute bus ride from the Old Town, in one of the few places offering dorm accommodation, and even it was pricey.

I arrived last night just in time to meet my dormmates and go for some pizza (the only affordable food). Then, the whole city (I'd imagine the whole country) donned their red and white checks and found a big screen somewhere to watch Croatia get beaten by Brazil in their first World Cup match. Despite the home team loss, it was entertaining watching the crowds singing and shouting in the streets.

Today, I pretty much spent the day walking around the Old Town. I did the must-do activity - the walk on the city walls - which provided some awesome views over the city. I visited the Old Synagogue, where an exhibit has been set up about the Dubrovnik ghetto in the 16th and 17th centuries. I also saw a photography exhibit in one of the galleries along the walls, composed entirely of photos taken by female photojournalists in war zones - mostly Croatia and former Yugoslavia, but not exclusively. Some of the photos were gruesome, but amazing in how they were actually taken. It's a real switch from the war history of mostly 60 years ago that I was encountering everywhere in the northern part of Europe; here, the wounds are much fresher, but Dubrovnik as a resort destination isn't really the place to see much evidence of them.

Tomorrow I hope to head north up the coast. Before I sign off, just a moment to issue a short encouragement to the Oilers, who find themselves down 3-1 as I write this but who still have a chance to bounce back.
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