The old City of Dubrovnick still stands surrounded by high walls but our guide informs us that it has been a struggle to keep it a living city. Its inhabitants have found it easier to sell their apartments for high prices to foreign investors for BnBs then to live in a very small town with no motor access and some very steep steps. I saw some men struggling to bring a large screen tv up one of the steep streets and I recognize this choice is a big problem and dilemma for people who love their culture and have lived in this part of town for many generations.
We visit the famous sites along the main street, the harbor and the famous location where we are told the “walk of shame” was filmed in the Game of Throne series. Consequently, there are many tourist shops offering themed souvenirs related to the famous series.
This city appears more heavy and solid in grey stone than the lighter hued Split or the smaller towns. You can sense the old city of Dubrovnik as a once flourishing urban center, with a well organized downtown area with retail shops and with residences lining the small streets leading toward the guarding walls.
I visit the small synagogue here where there were very few Jews to begin with and none now but it is being maintained as a museum (with a fee for entry) for its historical value.
Our last event together is a walk around the walls that surround the City, packed with school visitors as well as tourists, with beautiful views of the inside of the city and toward the sea. We of course tried out Dubrovnik gelato (I had coconut basil) and then had a final meal in Croatia at a restaurant right outside the old walls.
Without surprise, I have heard very little Russian being spoken by tourists although I have been told there were a great many before the Ukrainian War changed the face of this part of the world. Tourism is definitely strongly back but we are told nothing like the pre-pandemic level.
Roundabout Tours did a wonderful job putting this tour together for us to taste Slovenia and Croatia although I can easily imagine spending more days in both countries. Someone asked me which country I liked better and it is really like choosing a gelato flavor, all good. My few interactions with people on the street and in shops gives me the impression that Slovenians are more at ease with themselves and the world while Croatians although just as friendly and open are still looking over their shoulders to make sure nothing is coming at them again. I can understand why.
We pick up a rented car at the airport where we also get our COVID tests in preparation for our departure back to the U.S. tomorrow. We head to our last stop, Kotor in the country of Montenegro.