God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I can't quite grasp this place--its realities are so in contradiction with each other. Today it is lovely--almost too perfect. The walls are massive and beautiful; the streets and alleys alive and vibrant; night life exciting and inviting. There must be a hundred languages being spoken. It is filled with laughter and good times.

And yet 15 years ago 70% of the town was either destroyed or damaged by war; anyone over 20 has memories as we learned today when Teo, our landlord's son, drove us high into the hills to a very special place for lunch. He was sharing with us his memories from when he was 4, leaving with his mother on the last ferry out of Dubrovnik, escaping to Slovenia after being detoured to Montenegro in order to be processed by the Serbian authorities. He was scared when the sirens began sounding as the day before bombs had dropped on the port. As we drove in the hills, he pointed out the place where his uncle fought as the front line switched between Serbian and Croatian forces and where after the war he played on army tanks. The confusion and fear of children during wartime is the most profound of war sorrows. I cannot believe the memories ever leave.

One of the few undamaged roof lines with old tiles surrounded by the new tiles and repaired buildings. Few roofs such as this exist now.

So, enjoying this lovely area with a history of centuries, a proud city that held the world at bay--Turks, Austrians, other would be invaders—for hundreds of years is easy to do and yet, lurking, is the specter of its most recent history.

As I write, I am looking out over the blue Adriatic and the golden city of Dubrovnik, watching sail boats and small ferries coming in from Cavtet and Lokrum, listening to children’s laughter drifting up from the beach a few meters away and the talking of fishermen below the veranda. So today is the day to transfer to memory and the visual to take home.

The view as I write--pretty nice!

Tomorrow Teo is taking us to Mostar in Bosnia and then Friday we are taking a trip into Montenegro. I know these places will be beautiful and yet will provoke the same kinds of contemplation each day of this trip has delivered. This is a very special two weeks.

An interesting sidelight about writing a blog: I never know where the narrative will lead. Today I had no thought except to share experiences to bring Dubrovnik alive and yet, the typing fingers went elsewhere to thoughts I had not thought to share—very strange, this writing process!


Brad'll Do It said...

Jane, what a great post. You always seem so sensitive to the full context of an event, embracing "other perspectives," if you will. If you took that photo, you should sell it to the hotel for PR purposes. I think I'd spend a lot of time with wine and snacks on that balcony, and not see much else!

Jane said...

Thanks, Brad. That is such a nice comment and I appreciate it a lot. And yes, I did take that photo but it would be hard to take a bad one from here. Sheena hopes to be here next year. Ciao

Anonymous said...

Yes, I drool over that terrace!

Jane I have just read all of your entries on Croatia and I can only echo what others have said - what a wonderful insight you have, and how beautifully you express your feelings.

We were in Dubrovnik 32 years ago. I wonder whether the recent history will impact us as it has clearly impacted you - whether we will be able to recall the Dubrovnik of our earlier trip.

Certainly your blog has made me anxious to get planning, and possibly to do more, visit more than we had originally intended.

Enjoy your last few 'empty nest' days. Casey will be there waiting with open arms when you get back to Greve.

Love, Sheena

Jane said...

Thanks, Sheena. I will be very interested in your observations as compared with 32 years ago. Please prepare to share them! We had wanted to come in the 80's but didn't make it. I wish we had.

Terry (teaberry) said...

Jane, I just love wherever your narrative takes us. Have a wonderful trip.

Anonymous said...

Jane, following your blog religiously. I can only echo everyone else's thoughts. Your writing is so sensitive. Sometimes the world as it is and was makes your heart ache. I'm glad this is a country that is in the process of healing. Your photos are so beautiful. Barb Cabot

Jane said...

Barb, Terry--thanks. My replies are short as conection is slow! Wait to you read about yesterday when I write it--what a disaster!