I am in a hotel in Dubrovnik and this is a photo of the lift I used on arrival. Sorry about a very bad pun, but it’s been in my head the whole time I have been here, My claim to fame is that I was in Schindler’s Lift!
Glad that’s over with so let’s move on. I am indeed in Dubrovnik some 200+ miles from my last stop and probably the best known location in Croatia. In modern times, it came to international recognition in 1991/2 with the break-up of Yugoslavia. Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia and reverted to an independent nation in its own right as it had been from around 10th Century, until the second World War. The conflict was officially between the Croats and the Yugoslav army led primarily by the Serbians. The army at that stage included Bosnian and Montenegrins, as well as Serbian troops, but both Bosnia and Montenegro went on to declare independence themselves.
First references to Dubrovnik were around 200AD when it was a fortified Roman camp. It was part of the Roman Byzantine empire until it declared independence which then lasted up until 1808 when it was caught up in Napoleans wars. Evidently the ‘head honcho’ was called the Rector, although I thought if it started in Roman times that might be the Rectum! Hey ho, I’ll be gone by the time this gets published.
Anyway, today it is a very tourist charming site with an interesting historic town. The old walls can be walked giving an excellent view of the city inside the walls, as well as the coastal panorama outside. Its’ history determines that it was a very progressive city with health car available in the 13th century, a sewage system in the 14th century (probably very similar to Thames Water’s system today) and running water in the 15th century (hopefully Thames Water will get there soon).
If you like the classic tourist centre holiday, with an ‘old town’ and a sunny beach then Dubrovnik should make a refreshing change. Speaking to the residents of Croatia more generally, I found a certain sadness about the population. The older generation that lived through the conflict of 1991/2 don’t like to talk about it and say it is history we must move on. However, there demenour says they can’t totally let go. The younger generation respect their parents feelings but want to progress. Over half a million residents, out of a population of around 3.2million, have left Croatia to find another path, and for me that is sad.
The temperatures each day are still hovering in the low thirties degree centegrade and tomorrow, when we move on, are set to rise a little, to around 37/8C. Fortunately, the next country to explore is only 70/80miles away and so Bridget and I should both be alright for that. I have no delusions however, that I am getting to old to drive for eight hours a day in this level of heat. We have only been on the road for three weeks and I’m starting to wilt already.
For those that are interested in seeing some of the driving bits, I am still recording each stage and posting them on YouTube. If you go to that site and enter a search for “Roy Locock Channel”, you should find a number of videos. Also, anyone wondering where the JustGiving page is for my Save the Children fund, please look in the sidebar of this page and just click on it. Their plight is desperate.