Dubrovnik First Impressions

I fell in love with the beauty of Croatia within just 10 minutes
of leaving the teeny Dubrovnik airport
in a sour smelling shuttle bus.

Not the scent of upholstery mold nor the darkened grey windows
could mar the beauty of the Croatian countryside:
stone walls crumbling in grapevines,
lime trees rustling and laundry fluttering,
It was unlikely love at first dim sight under unflattering lighting.

And I have been scheming to return ever since.

 

***

I stumbled upon this market my first day exploring Old Town… and I was delighted!!!

rf day 1 market

I spent a long, long time ooogling at unfamiliar fruits and rustic-looking glass bottles of herbal ruby-red ointment and carob liquor.

The venders say something like… “proba, proba,” showing off sugar-coated orange peels, candied almonds, and dried figs… you use your elementary Spanish to guess they are saying “test, test” or “try, try” ..so you pop one exotic-looking treat in your mouth… or two…. the peels are incredibly sweet with a touch of sour, the nuts infallibly crunchy. The figs are MAGNIFICENT, —my favorite!— and available in all varieties: soft and juicy sun-dried, fresh and crisp, warm green, or deep purple!

The morning market is open every day, until around 1PM at Gundulić Square.

***

The entrance to one of the most heart-stopping, breathtaking moments from my entire time there…….

this moment took me by complete and utter surprise.

I had no idea – no one had told me that there was a hole in the wall to the outside… after hours and hours of walking enchanted and lost and alone in a maze of narrow stone streets and endless uneven steps… when I caught whispers of distant music on a sudden gust of wind, and followed my nose to the faint scent of kelp and sea salt… followed my nose to climb through the hole, pushing against the whipping wind…

I saw……….

rf buza

Buža Bar

***

Exploring within the walls, I’ve crossed this place a few times… and every time, it drew me in. It was somehow… intriguing… each time I saw it, whether by day or by night.

rf freshsheets ii

Perhaps it captures me so because it strikes me with such a strong presence of authenticity, a kind of snapshot glimpse into the lived-in Old Town — a kind of place that is surrounded beauty, stone, and sea, but also a kind of place where one sips coffee on a centuries-old back porch chatting with your lifelong neighbors as tourists walk by in awe and snap photos of your drying laundry…

 

 

originally written : September 12, 2013 / 12. rujan 2013 / Dubrovnik, Croatia

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