The long hot summer finally has ended and we are now experiencing a wonderful Indian summer. The blistering heat of summer made life more than difficult. My brain seemed to melt; all my energy was focused on cooling down either by jumping into the sea and turning into a much-wrinkled prune or running the air conditioner until it cried out and stopped! In spite of the heat, I ventured into town for several groups of very special travelers who spent time with me on their short visits to Dubrovnik.
Ed and Barb arranged to take a taxi from the harbor and I suggested they have the driver
drop them near the Hilton Imperial Hotel, only a few meters from the Pile Brsalje. They had requested to visit something special. I knew of a small chapel which unfortunately, because of its location away from where almost all the tourists go, few visit. It was Barb’s first visit to Europe and her excitement and enthusiasm was awesome. She took massive amounts of photos for a lifetime of memories. I discovered this hidden gem last Christmas; I wandered inside and found a Bethlehem display and captivating stain glass windows.
“Greetings from Benicia”, was the subject in an email I received four years ago. It was from Bruce and Elizabeth, a couple from California, who planned to arrive on the Residence of the Sea for an overnight visit. We spent two days together and it seemed as though I had known them for years. Imagine my surprise and joy when an email arrived with subject title “We’re coming back to Croatia.” They were disembarking their small ship cruise in Dubrovnik and would be making a stop in Cavtat before the flight back to the USA. It was a delightful few hours sipping cool drinks at the sea front café on the Riva, much too short for me. I know they will be back again, and I will be here waiting.
Dr Herrick and his charming wife who confirmed, if the desire to experience a new place and culture is there, will power could prevail. Mrs. Herrick had difficulty walking and steps were a challenge, but she proved to be one determined woman who was not going to miss the Rupe Museum. Very slowly, we ascended the steps to this very special cultural site. Upon reaching the museum, we rested on the chairs as we viewed a video of the Festival of Sveti Vlaho (Saint Blaise) the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Leaving the Rupe, I inquired if they wanted to walk the scenic route back to the center of town, knowing it had more steps. No hesitation for Mrs. Herrick, and we climbed up to Sveti Marija area and strolled down to the old town again. We ended the walking tour with a lunch stop at Komarda restaurant. My special sea front table had been reserved and I knew it was a wise choice as they both declared no need to go any further; they would be sitting here enjoying the view until the ship was to depart. A very special couple I will never forget!
My first experience of meeting people online was Thomas and his bride Shirley. It was two years from the time we started writing until I met them their last night in town. It turned out to be a marvelous evening; we met for supper in a small side street restaurant. Storia is most definitely the best pasta restaurant in town, located just down from the Maritime Museum. My dish consisted of pasta in a mild white sauce with prsut and sun dried figs. It was so tasty I did not leave a drop, mopping up all the sauce with the bread. In spite of only getting to spend one short evening together, I was ecstatic that I had finally met my pen pal and his wife!
Robert and his wife were one of the Cruise Critic forum exceptions who recognized that I could provide an in-depth view of life in Dubrovnik. I was thrilled to have spent the day with them. Before their arrival, I had forwarded my photo, wearing the Al Capone (named such by Ivo) summer hat. His response was one of those hearty laughing moments and inquired if I would be carrying a violin case with a Tommy gun inside. Thus began my mission to find an online photo to attach to my bag but alas my old laptop had crashed and was sitting at my computer guru’s home for repairs. I knew my day was going to be more than interesting with this fabulous couple. Moreover, they were bringing peanut butter, something I have not been able to get here.
Cami and the three ladies from Texas/Oklahoma arrived during the outrageous heat wave. We hit the city wall as early as possible and by the time we had reached the first exit, we were dragging. It was time to return to town and find a tall cold drink! The first watering hole, the Gradska kavana, is a wonderful outdoor café for people watching. After enjoying very large glasses of our local beer, Ozusko and wandering around the town the heat proved to take its toll. Off we went to sit under the trees on the Komarda terrace to enjoy the small sea breeze. Drago, my old friend and the best waiter in town, served us a large antipasto platter of prust, homemade goat cheese, locally grown olives and capers with octopus salad, accompanied by a bottle of Postup wine. I held my breath as I watched them carefully pick at the salad and inquiring what exactly it was. Not answering, I took a large portion and popped into my mouth, which was enough for them. Imagine my amazement when they devoured the entire platter of food. It was only then that I told them what they had eaten and I was pleased they enjoyed some of our local food. Sometimes it is better not to know before you try to let your taste buds, not your preconceived notions help you enjoy.
This is only a small sampling of the wonderful travelers with whom I spent time this summer. So many others also visited and there are stories of each that I could share. Thank you to each person who spent time with me in Dubrovnik.