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Published: January 4th 2020
First glimpse of Dubrovnik from the foot ferry.
DUBROVNIK – The Walled City
The nice thing about traveling by yourself is that you can change your mind and your itinerary. In Cavtat, I took an extra day to rest and recuperate after diving. The next day I caught one of the small ferry boats to Dubrovnik so I could see the city from the water.
Coming ashore, the hurry and scurry of the tourist site was disconcerting. It felt like I was on a movie set. It was hot. And noisy. I stood in the slim shadow of Orlando’s Column, next to a big sign announcing various activities happening in Dubrovnik. It barely provided shade while I tried to get my bearings. Behind me the church bells of St Blaise began to ring. I walked up the steps and entered the dim interior. Mass had already started. People just stood in the entry as the priest and his acolyte performed the rite. Then there was a change in the atmosphere and the people queued up. The priest lifted a large crook and placed it around each person’s neck and blessed them. I really wanted to join them, but I resisted, afraid I would say or do something
SAINT BLAISE CHURCH
A cool retreat with a wonderful choir.
to call attention to me. I regret I was so timid; I am comforted by this ceremony. When it was finished I lit some candles and said a few prayers for friends and family. Then I exited the church into the blinding sun.
I walked around and explored small alleys that radiated from the town square, snapping pictures as I went. I made reservations for the wall walk, but it didn’t start until 5:30 p.m., after the heat of the day, thank goodness.
I found a candy shop and purchased an assortment of beautiful, unusual candies. There were little arrangements of sweets that made me smile. I also bought some Game of Thrones buttons. And I went in to a Harry Potter store, so quaint and interesting. I always enjoy snooping and even bought a few things. I passed a large open air market, a living canvas of colors and shapes. I found a small restaurant in a side street and ordered a plate of calamari and some fresh orange juice. The calamari were red and nearly whole. I felt like a cannibal, spelled “carnivore”, with their little legs looking like umbrellas or strange broccoli. They were served
on shredded red cabbage with spicy onion and garlic. I was glad there was tartar sauce.
After a little more strolling around I found a small, shaded garden where I could rest and watch people until it was time for the walk. Before I met my tour group I paid two euro to use a restroom. Outrageous! I was cross, hot and tired, and I felt the tour was pricey to begin with. As I was standing with our group and I suddenly realized I didn’t have my prescription sunglasses. I must have left them in the bathroom stall. I hurried back to get them before our group went on the tour. As I approached the bathroom I saw the seated attendant fanning herself with my phone! I hadn’t even missed it. All my credit cards and identification were in it. I really must have angels watching over me. I was lighthearted as I hurried to rejoin my tour group.
The tour was all up; several stories of stairs, for Dubrovnik is a walled city. On one level was a park, another had the school. One level was an archaeological site where they had unearthed an ancient granary.
THE RELIC OF SAINT SYLVAN
In a glass coffin lies this fourth century martyr: it is claimed that his body has never decayed.
We stopped regularly so it was far less strenuous than I had feared. And the young tour guide told us about his father coming home and rushing his family to a boat, in the dark, to escape the city during the 1991 bombardment by the Serbs. He explained why Dubrovnik was never destroyed through all the ages of conflict. The city fathers greased the palms of all invaders and promised each country a safe, defendable haven.
I took two buses to return to my apartment. I missed the stop, but the bus driver allowed me to ride back up the hill without extra charge. The next morning I checked out and happened to glance at the bus schedule I had gotten from Dubrovnik the day before. Bus at 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 a.m., then none until 5 p.m.! The manager, Anton, said I must make the 10 a.m. bus in order to connect with my bus to Montenegro. I had 20 minutes to find a hotel on my computer and get all my luggage across the street to the bus stop. At three minutes to ten I was racing out the door and Anton, bless him, hurried
CONFECTIONS IN A CANDY SHOP
Colorful displays of cleverly designed candies tempt tourists and locals.
my big bag and me across the street, hovering like a parent and protecting me from traffic.
I made my connection and was on my way to Montenegro.
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