Has old Dubrovnik sold its soul?

Posted by Megan Nowell on 29 November 2011

Dubrovnik, Croatia, the pearl of the Adriatic, certainly is enchanting.

Sitting on the narrow cement terraces of Buza Bar, I almost expected sirens to start gossiping on the rocks below me or a giant squid (I’ve heard they hang out in the Mediterranean) to crawl over one of the islands in search of a light evening snack. Instead, a pirate ship of notable proportions appeared out of the setting sun and came cruising past the astounded Buza customers. Not a soul was seen on board and as quickly as it appeared, the ship was gone, leaving us all laughing nervously and wondering if it had been a puza-induced mirage.

I didn’t know it then, but that was one of the most genuine experiences I would have in the old city.

The old town of Dubrovnik is picture perfect with its red-tiled roofs and white stone streets polished by years of activity, and yet it feels like Disneyland. Cruise ships unload strident tourists to eat gelato and sell their children to pay for a beer. Don’t get me wrong, the Venetian-influenced architecture, the intriguing narrow maze of streets, and the glorious simplicity of the colour scheme (stone on stone) are certainly worth a visit. 24 hours is more than enough. A minute longer and you start to wonder where the real people are and why every building is empty except for a foreign name on the doorbell …

And I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Has old Dubrovnik sold its soul?’

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