It seems to be the consensus that walking the mile or so around the top of the Dubrovnik walls is the main “not to be missed” attraction of Dubrovnik. Accordingly, I set off one late afternoon when the sun was not so fierce. Pat, showing her wisdom, did not join me. The walls were built eons ago, and enhanced in the 1400s as defense against the Ottoman navy. The views are actually quite nice, both out to sea and looking over the orange roofs of the old town. But halfway around, it got repetitive and I came down.
What Dubrovnik has more of than anything else is young people. Thousand of young men and women strutting about, enjoying the restaurants and bars, finding each other. It is they who create the wonderful atmosphere that permeates the broad and narrow streets and the beaches. Although slightly older, we felt right at home wandering along amongst them.
Liza Minnelli sings it as only she can deliver a song … You gotta ring them bells. It’s the story of Shirley Devore from the Upper West Side in Manhattan, 31 and unmarried. She “borrows a thou” and sets off on a European adventure, intent to “haul me home a hus if it’s the last thing I do.” But Shirley strikes out in London, Madrid, Brussels, Majorca and Rome …
so she went to Dubrovnik and the very first day
she met a guy on the beach who took her reason away
The guy, it turns out lived at Five Riverside Drive, apartment 29F, while Shirley lived in the same building at 29E. The moral of the story …
You girls who live in apartments, don’t just stare at the wall
Open up the door and hurry out in the hall
And … ring them bells … swing them, ring them, swing them,
ring them bells!
So we tried it. We went to the beach in Dubrovnik and guess what happened? We each found someone who lives in the same house.
Enjoy Liza’s stirring rendition at … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtJSLZnKCv0
There’s music all over in Dubrovnik, on all sorts of instruments, including empty liquor bottles. And the Dubrovnik String Quartet playing a selection from Mozart’s Night Music to the Mikado.
In 1991, Dubrovnik underwent severe bombing attacks. The war with Serbia over the dissolution of Yugoslavia lasted until 1996. In our hotel, the desk clerk said she had four little children and no food, no water. She took their diapers to the sea to wash, and people shot at her. In a narrow alley, there’s an almost unmarked building where we saw the photos and video above.
Lokrum Island is a ten minute boat ride from the Dubrovnik harbor. There’s an old monastery, hiking trails, beautiful views of a stunningly blue sea, a swimming hole that fills with sea water. You can see how enthusiastic Pat was about the nature all around her.
And, oh, there’s also a nude beach.
It’s at the far end of the island, and it’s not a beach at all. It’s a collection of more or less flat rocks, high above the sea. We wondered how you could get to the water, and walked to the edge of the rocks, where we saw a ladder. We also saw waves crashing against the rocks, making it very dangerous to get into and out of the water. There were about a dozen people laying on the rocks, some relatively decorously, some not. Several men seemed to be posing at the edge of the rocks, the sea as background, although no photos are allowed and no one seemed to have a sketch pad.
“Once you’re in, the sea is pretty calm,” a lady said. “There’s my husband swimming out there.”
We turned around to face a lovely blond woman standing near us, perhaps in her mid 30s, with a beautiful figure, wearing a necklace of pearls … and nothing else.
There followed the most surreal conversation. She seemed to be an American. There were four children walking about, equally nude, and everyone (except us) seemed quite comfortable.
By the way, you’ll have to take Pat’s word about the pearls. I never saw them.
It takes a lot to supplant the image of the lady on the beach, but my final impression in Dubrovnik, and my first impression in Paris where we went next, was the lovely lady sitting across from me. It’s really no contest.