CUE THE CHOIR I WENT TO EUROPE Part 2Nov 19th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Cue the choir I went to Europe...
Gorgousosity! This is where I stayed. You can see two white umbrellas on my veranda.
I took more photos of Dubrovnik than any other place on my trip to Europe. I am not exaggerating when I say there is no ugly view from any where in that city.
First, you need to know I am a horrible photographer. I just hold out my camera and click. Not much else. Sometimes I don’t even stop walking to take the photos, let alone aim.
If I messed with settings or pretended to search for an artistic angle it usually backfired. My camera appreciated it when I left it alone and let it do it’s job. And in exchange it gave me some lovely shots.
Even though I took a great tour on the history and sites of Dubrovnik Old Town I didn’t retain much other than jokes and a few bits. Everything I retained was visual images with a few interesting facts I could have imagined so take my historical information with a grain of salt. I must report exactly how cute my guide was. He was perfectly groomed, with perfect posture, and he held an umbrella in a perfectly clever way. His braces gleaming, as he dazzled me with information that left me very impressed with the Dubrovnik education system and not so thrilled with the education I have had. He could have been 18 or 28, I just could not figure it out. I would insert a photo of him but I did not take one unfortunately.
Dubrovnik is stunning in architecture and charm.
A fishing town and shops for trading.
I love how people still live a normal life here right here in the same old shops and old limestone streets. This is the place the people come to buy fabric, yarn, umbrellas etc. This is the whole fabric store! Oddly, I did not see any of my fabric designs for sale here. ha!
People think the streets are marble but my guide said they were built from local limestone, polished by centuries of feet walking on them. That is romantic to me. The photo below shows rush hour. When a cruise ship arrives there is tourists milling around. But when they leave a few hours later it’s back to a lovely fairytale.
And a nice photo of some local pirates…
There are no cars, or scooters. Just people, hundreds of fat, well mannered cats and possibly 2 dogs. At least that is all I saw.
The walled port town has been inhabited since Roman times. The walls were built to fortify the town around the 13th century. You can climb on the top of the wall and circle the entire city with a walk you will never forget. I think it was 2 kilometers long.
I love this next photo looking down on a rooftop. They managed to build a soccer court and the local kids were playing.
This walk was so beautiful. And a bonus was being up at this angle fulfilled my snooping urges that I can’t seem to hold back. I tried not looking in every single window but one eye would stretch over on it’s own and see what was going on inside.
I am probably related to this woman spying on the other’s laundry.
Speaking of laundry. I found Europe’s entire life style of hanging out the laundry amazing. And I now have tons of photos of people’s laundry. Laundry is actually gossip in a rope. Those clothes lines usually stretch to opposite neighbors across the narrow alleys. This forces neighbors to be kind to one another or risk the end of your clothes line.
A disastrous earthquake in 1667 happened which crippled the city and also a large number of Gothic and Renaissance palaces were destroyed. As the city was rebuilt they decided to create the new buildings with similar fronts so as to keep a sense of equality with the people who lived there. As you walk down the main street you see this.
I also saw this… a woman urinating fountain…. and it was right outside a restaurant.
The Franciscan Monastery was built near the front entrance so the monks could be the first to defend the city. Apparently this was convenient as as they have no wives or children to leave behind. There is a Pharmacy at the Franciscan Monastery that creates hand creams and other toiletries based on ancient recipes. The pharmacy is one of the oldest in the world and it has been working from the time of its foundation. And there is always a bit of gossip isn’t there… The old convent across the street is rumored to have an underground passage way straight to the monks. I will leave the rest to your imagination but it brings me to another interesting fact.
I also remember they have the first or one of the first Orphanages. From 1344 on the women of Dubrovnik brought their children who were born out of wedlock here.
At night, the woman laid the baby on a specially built rotating platform, called the “ruota”, rang the bell and snuck off. They say that anyone who approached the mother and discovered her identity was severely punished, either by exile from Dubrovnik or death.
Dubrovnik was a successful city due to location. A maritime trade city who tried to remain neutral with other countries. Dubrovnik was heavily bombed during the Croatian War of Independence from 1991 to 1995. Almost all of the damage has been repaired. You can tell which roofs had new tile and which were still original.
But as you look closely around the old town, mortar damange in the cobblestone streets and bullet marks in the stone houses are visible. I saw marks all over. Even on the side of the house I stayed in. It made me sick to think of that bombing. I just love that city and the people.
In the distance is Fort Lovrijenac. The monumental fort on high rock. It changed roles in the course of history. The main purpose of its construction was defense, and the main idea was to protect the freedom of Dubrovnik. And now it holds a famous annual Shakespeare play.
The people here speak perfect English. They are delighted with the tourists and let you know how happy you are visiting. There is no crime. Flip flops were the best anywhere I have ever shopped. Just the cutest styles. Some nice artwork. There is a lovely market to get fresh fruit and vegetables daily. In the evening the locals are hanging out in town. I saw a fantastic opera one night held in a church. It is so great in Dubrovnik I believe I have to have a Part 3 so you can see what is outside of these Old Town walls.