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.