Ancient wall hey?

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Sunday, July 30, 2006

Heaven on earth... apparently. George Bernard Shaw said so... apparently. Big call. There's something terrible about such a foreshadowing quote that inevitably leads to disappointment, both in the place and the further thought that heaven may actually be like this. The heavenly comparison, last made in relation to Hangzhou, seems to act as a minor curse to a place, which remain beautiful and worthy of some praise but certainly not the worldly manifestation of the afterlife. So what's George Bernard Shaw's heaven like? It's picturesque, dramatic, touristy and exploitative - these last two taking the sheen off what, by right, should be a much more attractive town. And maybe if this is heaven on earth, then one line from a random song on my iRiver is correct when it says "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints - the sinners are much more fun..."

If there's one thing that can significantly redeem any town, it's, of course, an ancient city wall. Reputedly one of the finest in the world, Dubrovnik's city wall is, in my humble wall-worshipping opinion, pretty fucking cool. Absolutely magic vistas across the adriatic; and of the mazy 14th century city below reflecting twilight off its cobblestones. City walls? Brilliant. Living the Dream... And to be fair, the town is exceptionally photogenic, particularly in the way it combines with the sea, giving an impression that the town is part of the sea or that the sea if part of the town. Brilliant...

The fucking cool ancient city wall aside, my other lasting impression of Dubrovnik will be this small photographic exhibition of the city on fire - burning during the mid 90's siege of the city by the Yugoslavs - the more than 3000 buildings damaged marked on maps affixed throughout the town. It's quite haunting to imagine tanks perched at the top of Srd Hill immediately overlooking the city, relentlessly shelling; relentlessly destroying amazing, historic monuments. The 10 year transformation that has taken place is quite phenomenal - all buildings repaired, touts trying to lure you into their overpriced establishments, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones in town - like the war never happened. Haunting, perhaps, to see what has become...

Accommodation woes in Dubrovnik. Average. Well, not woes so much. The hostel? Killing me. It's one of those socially way-too enthusiastic places, with cool people and dickheads alike, where at least once during your stay, you can't help but get swept along for the ride. And my shower stuff just keeps going missing...Despite its drawbacks, the hostel was still superior to this random place I stayed on my first night. As you emerge from the bus, packs of old ladies materialise, offering stays in their rooms/apartments/houses. Eager for an adventure, and knowing the hostel to be full, I ended up sharing house with this old lady, kitchen, bathroom, living area and all. Ha! For the record - she was a quality housemate.

There's a certain feeling upon leaving Dubrovnik - like I've done it and have no desire to be here anymore. I'm very much looking forward to getting to Sarajevo. I will miss the beaches however, their refreshingly cold water the perfect way to cure the effects of the oppressive summer heat. The heat is terrible - I have to wear shorts. I never wear shorts. Shorts? Killing me.

So, to the Top 5. The combination of expensive Dubrovnik food prices, which has prevented me from eating anything remotely decent, and a general missing of homely, familiar foods has had me craving. Craving shit from home - foodwise that is. Some things I could kill for. So, the Top 5 foods craved from home:

5. Chips. Proper chips. Not french fries. Chips. With vinegar.
4. Combination Meat - barbecued pork, roast pork, duck - chinese style. Oh how I miss you...
3. Rice - I could probably cook it, but I forgot my rice cooker.
2. Lamb Chops - good old fucking aussie lamb chops. Hopefully the muslim east will assist...
1. Pork buns - I don't normally eat them, but some good old yum cha chasiu bao would be fucking awesome. From welcome inn...

Sarajevo it is...
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