When night falls in Dubrovnik’s old town, the white stones bathe in gold. Under lamp posts, and in the shadows of flickering moths, they sit back and work away the stiffness of an over worked day.
The light hits all the right spots – the stained glass of the cathedral, the clock on the bell tower, letting the night cloak the many, many statues, including Orlando’s right in the middle, in a blanket of solitude. Not far away, the water hums quietly, hitting against the wall.
They serve the sea on a platter, in glass bowls, on pizza, between bread. They serve it along the waterfront, in tiny lanes and along the steps. The catch, it goes without saying, is fresh, caught between the dark night and dawn; maybe this explains the lurking cats around the town.
The ‘but’ comes before and after the meal. It starts with over eager waiters accosting passing visitors, waving menus, almost forcing them in, promising the best authentic Dalmatian meal. The trite posters along the wall may tell a different story.
Even when the food is great, and the service not so bad, the bruise comes with the hefty bill. What goes by as a meal in Dubrovnik could get you three elsewhere in the country. The one good thing is that you’re never in the mood for seconds; you don’t (further) overspend; you don’t (really) get fat.
I have the city to one side and the sea on another, but my eyes are locked on to this window. It opens out to the walkway on the wall, unwittingly inviting a stream of tourists in. I can’t imagine living with this kind of pressure, let alone drying out my laundry for the world to see.
Three rope strings hold half a wardrobe, white sheets and vests hide the intimates ever so slightly. Multicoloured clips stand in a crooked line, their uneven teeth clamped tightly over the cloth.
When the sea pushes a slight breeze inwards, the line sways and so do the clean clothes. Maybe it’s just in my head but I catch a whiff of aromatic detergent.
A butterfly of guilt flits about but I can’t move away before taking a picture. A few feet below me a black cat scurries over sprigs of lavender and past ancient stones, the very things that make this city special, and yet it is this seemingly mundane shot that I can’t tear away from.
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo and HomeAway Holiday-Rentalstravel blogging competition
From the walls I look down at an orange sea; the geometric ripples are broken by stained glass windows and bored pigeons. I follow the trail to the end, but when I get there, the rooftops of Dubrovnik just spread out further.
It’s all orange but it isn’t the same. There are two colours up here – orange and fading orange, now almost yellow. One is a sign of the town’s prosperity, the other of survival.
The yellow tops have seen the war and survived it. Their numbers are few and the scars are many, but they stand as proud symbols of this ancient city’s resilience. The orange-orange ones have replaced fallen warriors. They are young, but of the same stock, put together using the same traditional techniques. They represent the new Dubrovnik, youthful as it is old.