Two seasons, same street
Two seasons, same street
A video tour of Dubrovnik, spend the day wandering around the walls and the old town. Video by Gary Spetz, artist and PBS Host, beautifully filmed and edited. Click on the bottom to view full screen on you tube.
When I visited Dubrovnik in the seventies I often used the local bus service. At that time buses resembled the old tram which ran in the early days. On 10 December 1910 the first tram began service from the Pile Brsalje to the Gruz, later extending the line to the original Dubrovnik rail station and a second line was added to provide service to Lapad. During six decades of existence the tram carried about one hundred million passengers and was retired 20 March 1970. The following morning locals took the opportunity to ride the original route from Pile to Gruz for free. That afternoon the cars were parked at the depot, the gate was locked and it was the finale of the Dubrovnik tram service, replaced by newer buses.
During my frequent trips to Dubrovnik I often used public transportation which was and still is easy and inexpensive. As a senior I am entitled to a free Libertas bus pass within the immediate areas of Dubrovnik. I really appreciate that courtesy because it comes in handy to move around the town with ease. When I returned here six years ago to live, I enjoyed hopping on one of our orange and white buses and riding the entire route. These bus trips gave me the opportunity to see just how much had changed since my last trip prior to the 1991 Homeland War.
Today the Libertas bus service is excellent and covers the Dubrovnik area with many routes. During the summer months they add the Cabrio sightseeing bus with audio in 10 languages available. An open air bus similar to the early trams, the Cabrio runs from the beginning of May to the end of October and service is subject to weather conditions. I always begin the season by taking the two hour tour and each trip is a learning experience picking up interesting facts about Dubrovnik. Please note that Cabrio sightseeing bus is NOT a hop on hop off bus. It does make two photo stops in route, one at the Tudjman Bridge and another at Vidikovac on the highway above the old town. This season the fare is 60 Kuna (about $12) and a great value for the price.
The original number seven tram, which has been totally renovated, is on display at the Zagreb Technical Museum.
The Saint Klara convent, just a few steps from the large Onofrio fountain most tourists see when they enter the Old City, originally was built as a convent 13th and 14th Century. In 1432 the city established a children’s orphanage and later Napoleon closed the convent and turned it into a store house and stable.
Today the former convent is the Klarisa Restaurant, and during my early visits to Dubrovnik during the 70s, it was the Jadran the IN spot in the old town. Imagine what I experienced: an open air dance club with tables and chairs scattered about the inner courtyard with stars sparkled above.
We were dancing cheek to cheek, my arm draped on his shoulder as we moved slowly to the melodic music of my era under a golden moonlit night. Eventually, it was the last dance and time to close down for the night. It had been another perfect evening spending time with friends and enjoying the ambiance of the most popular club in town. Most evenings the last nightcap was spent at the Manon Bar; today the Festival Café.
As we strolled down the Stradun we would often meet the men who cleaned the main promenade every night. Not high tech, they used a handheld hose whose stream would wash the Stradun from the Onofrio to Sponza Palace and finish in front of our Cathedral. The limestone sparkled under the old vintage street lamps.
I must admit that I have never eaten at the Klarisa and perhaps it is because I do not want to change the reflection of memories of my younger years. I wish to keep those intact. Dubrovnik in the early 70s was nothing as it is today; life was really slow and easy. The town had not yet been discovered by Americans, although it was Europe’s best kept secret. The crowds had not yet descended and the locals could still easily enjoy their city.
After the evening out with friends, more often than not we ended sitting on the bench on the Porporela watching the sunrise and enjoying the sea turning into a vision of blue, green and turquoise colors. It was time to catch a few hours of sleep and then ride the small ferry across to Lokrum to spend the day lounging on the rocks and swimming in the Adriatic, what locals call ‘Nasa Mora’ which means Our Sea.
It is my love of the sea which is one of the many reasons I have chosen to live here. The Adriatic is my treasured early morning view as I sip my coffee and wander down memory lane.
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