Saturday, May 25, 2013

My Log 356: A walk around Dubrovnik

When I arrived in Dubrovnik a month ago I was suffering from an inflamed arthritic hip, and I thought it unlikely that I would be able to make the walk I did every morning last time I was here. That involved  my going 54 steps down from the apartment I am staying in, then walking through the town to a place where a steep set of stairs raises 156 steps to meet a second set that takes me up another 49  steps (in all 205), then walking down a fairly steep footpath to begin my descent by way of three sets of steps numbering about 130 into the town again and so to bed, as they might say.

So here I am, yesterday, essaying out on my walk. Once through the door I look up the street (left), and then turn, go down 16 steps into what might be called the cross-street (below). 

And so make my way into the town proper, 100 yards along before entering into the town itself, with the Rector’s Palace on the right of the picture below. This is the place from which at one period Dubrovnik was governed, the Knez, or Count, being elected to office for only one month, to ensure that he didn’t  have time to become corrupted.

 At the far end of the street above I turn left and am in the Stradun (below,right), the main street of this city that was once a Mediterranean power as a city-state, and has since passed through a multiplicity of forms, known a good number of conquerers, and is now a magnet for tourists from all over the world.

The keen observer will have noted that one is never far from a church, the religion here nowadays being straight Roman Catholic (since they gave up the religion of Communism). The next part of the journey takes me through the massive city walls and across a drawbridge over what could once have been a moat, but is now a civic garden, passing on the way St Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint (below), who, I am told by my friend, (she has a thyroid condition), is for sore throats. She thinks he came from Abyssinia, maybe a long time ago. I’m glad he is good for something, besides just standing there watching the tourists.

By this time I am in the part of town known as Pile, which is all buses and tourists getting on and off buses, and is hardly worth showing anyone. A short walk of 50 yards or so brings me to my major adversary, the 156 steps up on to the hill that towers over Dubrovnik (below, right). I got a picture, but it doesn’t have the merit of perspective, and looks almost like the steps are running along flat ground. Still, you can’t win em all, as they say.
One hardly has a moment to take a breath before plunging into another set of stairs (below, right) that take me as far as I am going, a total of 205 steps up, in all.

From up here one gets a good idea of how massive are the walls that surround this tiny city and the many forts that dot the walls as one walks round them. (Two pictures below).They were built  centuries ago, and are like many small towns along this Dalmatian coast, which are built within walls like these, as defence against their many attackers. Nowadays, tourists from all around the world love to take the one hour walk around these impressive structures. I did that myself once last year in blazing afternoon heat: unwise.

Walking down towards the descending steps around the corner (below) I catch a glimpse of what is the lifeblood and bane of Dubrovnik, one of the (in this case smaller) cruise ships that disgorge their dragooned visitors for their three or four hour visit to the city.

As I approach the steps back into town I am able to look across the roadway under which I must walk to a small opening in the walls (below, left) through which I will  re-enter the city.

On my way through the walls my eye is caught by the map, copies of which are scattered around the city, that shows the exact location of the bombs that the Serbs dropped on Dubrovnik during their recent nasty Yugoslav war, a method by which the people here keep their resentments alive, as if anything were needed for that, Serbs and Croats having been at each other’s throats for many generations ( before and after the comparatively quiet years of Tito)

Having absorbed the need to keep the hostility juices flowing, I pass another delightful cross-street (below) where they are preparing to feed the multitudes (almost all the streets of Dubrovnik within the walls are lined with restaurant tables)

I plunge down one of the many tiered streets that run into the Stradun (below, left)

Pausing to look back up (right,)

And,further on, catching a glimpse of another, tiny street along which someone lives a life, having a bite to eat below the hanging washing(left, below).

Until, once again, I am among the tourists, watching the polite, deferential, slim Japanese, (right) with their ever-present cameras.

I go home by way of the harbour (below)

 past the restaurant that sits beneath my sitting room window, just inside the walls, (below)

And so to a shot from our sitting room balcony (below)  showing tourists on their trek around the walls.

And a final shot from the balcony over the harbour

With apologies for the poor quality of the pictures. I have done this just to find out how you put pictures on the blog. It is difficult and cumbersome, unless I can find a better way!

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