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!!!
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…
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.
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