The Walled City
The thick stone walls of the old city of Dubrovnik are a source of great pride. The man who drove me from the airport spoke at length about them. He then asked me, “You have no questions for your taxi driver?” I did indeed: “Hvala” is Croatian for thank you; the city has a population of fewer than 50,000. The old walls of the city have never been breached by an enemy. I was surprised to find the taxi had power windows, something I don’t remember being so ubiquitous from European vacations past. I was also surprised by the traffic we encountered outside Dubrovnik and remembered stories of a time when there was no traffic in LA.
For some reason the old city, the most crowded and obvious part of the small town, was difficult to find. I asked around, at the front desk, at the bus station, at a gas station after getting off the bus too early. I finally walked all the way to the bottom of the hill and saw where everyone was. Strangely, the locals didn’t really know what I meant by the old or walled city and gave me confusing directions. Also, most of the rest of the town looks pretty old, too, so I was further confused.
Traveling alone in a country where the language is foreign and aggressive subdued my mind–with little hope of understanding the language around me, I didn’t try so hard to listen. Things quieted. I was able to wander around this labyrinthine and ancient city unencumbered by the desires of others, thinking only at times, “I’m hungry,” or, “I wonder what’s up that staircase.” I felt my strongest relationship at the time was with the protagonist of the novel I was reading (Austerlitz). I learned to enjoy myself in ways specific to solitude. For example, when eating alone, something many people fear and avoid, I enjoyed taking especially large bites and mushing the food around in my mouth childishly, much to the amusement of my waiters.
Dubrovnik, 31 August – 3 September 2010
….really, really superb. I love the way your eye draws my attention to architecture and makes an often stale niche fresh and so illustrative. The people fill in like silent pinwheels below the eye-line, to me not needed to feel what you were.
Highlights for me: The second one with the ‘retro’ awning, the vista to sea with the palms, the one just below it with the sign, the third photo down in the ‘walled city,’ the two purple skies, the all white sheets, and the second and third to last ones of the set.
..okay, that might have been half of the entire story, making my attempt at highlights form more into a mini love affair with this post. x
we all travel alone