Last week I noticed that someone who had recently visited Dubrovnik had posted a report on one of the Internet website forums. It appeared she had spent a few days visiting our magnificent town, not really enough time, but more than most tourists. I was startled by a very interesting comment; she said she could not find any place in the old town for coffee prior to 0900. I began to wonder exactly where she had wandered in search of coffee. It could not have been in the old town! Many early mornings we turn on the TV and watch the Dubrovnik web camera that shows the Stradun. We notice the workers set out tables and chairs by 0600 daily, especially during the tourist season, which began 01 April.
I have been thinking about writing about the early morning green market, located at Gundulic Square just behind Sveti Vlaho Church, so it was time to make a trek to the old town. Grabbed my trusty camera, off I went, making sure I would be at the Piazza by 0700. Just after entering the old city via the Pile Gate, I noticed the Festival Café, with many guests sipping morning espresso. Further down the Stradun were three more cafés all bustling with locals and guests as they began the morning coffee ritual. How did that woman miss all of those on the main street!!
The green market, off the Stradun, is one of my very favorite places in the early morning hours where I can pick up some freshly picked cherries and other seasonal fruit. I made my obligatory stop at Felipe’s small table, knowing there would only be a small amount of goodies from his small yard in Konavle. During the winter months, I always purchase honey from his bees, knowing when I open and taste the amber liquid the aroma of the flowers will be distinctive. Today he had some baby carrots, and I used some for lunch. They were fresh, tender and sweet as honey, just the way carrots are supposed to taste.
Then off to get some lavender sachets to place under my pillow for a restful night of sleep. Maja is one of our local fixtures, selling her lavender products at the same location for the last 45 years. This past year she began to begin to take a bit of time off, especially during the cold, windy winter months. As the spring flowers begin to bloom and open, Maja is found in her corner spot, quietly smiling at the arriving tourists. Moreover, she will be there until the November wind and rain keeps her at home, next to a warm toasty fireplace.
As I began to weave my way through the early tourists, I noticed some glorious onions, which I could not pass up. In American grocery stores, onions are mostly sold in plastic web bags, and few consumers ever can get fresh onions. These are sweet as sugar; they topped my lunch salad along with fresh cucumber and baby lettuce. I purchase all my items in the early morning, knowing they had been picked from the gardens the night prior. Dalmatian style food may not be as exciting as some other European countries, but our foods are fresh, clean and free from any pesticides.
Just before leaving the Piazza I sat down for my obligatory morning espresso, lingering for about an hour chatting with friends. I especially enjoy one of the morning cafés adjacent to the green market. By the way, the café does open at 0700 every morning and it is the very best spot in town to people watch. Come by and enjoy your morning coffee with me, I am there almost every day.