Following Celtic Ways

Ramblings and reviews by John Willmott as he travels the Celtic Ways and Waterways visiting hidden ancient Celtic temples, sacred wells, and provoking legends .... plus music and theatre along the way

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Croatia: Day 6 - Road Trip To Dubrovnik

by John Willmott of Celtic Ways

This day an incredible insight to Croatia culture. The sailing boat allowed us to visit remote places that may have been difficult and much slower to reach by alternative means but this road trip got us involved with "inner" Croatia. It started with an urban tour through the large Croatian city, Split, and its many adjoining coastal small towns.

Eventually we reached remote spectacular country where the winding road maneuvered around steep mountains that fell into the blue sea. The visibility was at its best today. Absolutely no haze so we could see for many miles.

After several more miles the road turned from wild and often barren mountains into a surprising fertile region with plenty of water and, therefore, plenty of farms. These Croatian farms are small and unique. Each farm is a narrow strip with one end bordering the road where each farmer has a stand, shelter or small store for selling produce direct to the passing public. Water seems to be so abundant that several farmers had a constant spray over their produce for sale to keep it fresh and fresh looking.

We were soon back to an incredible vista of mountain and sea and a brief journey through Bosnia before arriving above the "jaw dropping" sight of Dubrovnik. Before even approaching and entering Dubrovnik you know it is something very special.

After checking into our hotel we entered the traditionally guarded city gates, totally awed by the architecture and the obvious pride and care in looking after it. It is amazing to think that 14 years ago this was a war zone of repeated bombings and fires yet Dubrovnik has recovered as if nothing happened..

My first impression was that the "administration" of Venice has so much to learn from Dubrovnik. If Dubrovnik can be cared so well by a country of poor income and resources and still modest visitors what is happening to the billions and billions of dollars "dumped" there by the millions of tourists.

One thing you will find is kind, friendly and helpful service in Dubrovnik compared to general rude, difficult and unhelpful service in Venice.

We talked to our Croatian driver about this and he did tell us that Croatians are actually deliberately kind to tourists because it is now their only stable income due to the destruction of commerce and many farms and vineyards during the war. They are not dependant on tourists and are aware that good service to tourists will cause them to recommend their friends to come to Croatia while Venice takes their popularity for granted.

Before we even toured the sights and sites of the city I can recommend that if you have a choice between Venice and Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik should be your destination. In my next report I'll probably provide details of why.

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