Eat your heart out Lou Reed. I have had a Perfect Day. Sometimes I feel like Odysseus, as in Constantine Cavafy’s conception of his epic voyage back to Ithaca in the poem of that name:
…Να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος.
Πολλά τα καλοκαιρινά πρωϊά να είναι
που με τι ευχαρίστησι, με τι χαρά
θα μπαίνεις σε λιμένας πρωτοειδωμένους…
(…Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time…)
I got in to Dubrovnik early this morning on the ferry from Bari. And this is what I saw from the boat:
I had the luxury of being picked up from the ferry terminal along with a couple of other guests on the same boat. Nice. I felt like a VIP. And this is the view from the guest house balcony:
Straight after breakfast I headed to the Pile Gate entrance (with wooden drawbridge) to the Old Town and Onofrio’s Fountain just inside (16 sided, 15th c. drinking fountain taking water from a spring 12km away).
I then went on a leisurely stroll for a couple of hours on the ramparts of the old City Wall that still completely encircles the Old Town of Dubrovnik.
In the street
From the city walls I spotted a pleasant looking restaurant below. I made my way down there for lunch and had the black (squid ink) risotto.
A look at the political map of this region (called Dalmatia) is interesting. The long, narrow strip of coastline from Split (Spaleto in Italian) to Dubrovnik (Ragusa) belongs to Croatia, which itself for centuries belonged to Hungary. It was under the control of Venice from the 13th to mid-14th c., then Hungary again, then the Ottoman Empire from the mid-15th c. until Napoleon Bonaparte captured it for France in 1805 and held it for 10 years, after which it reverted to Hungarian control (as part of the Austria-Hungary dual monarchy from the mid-19thc. to the end of WW1). Between WW1 and WW2 it formed part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and after WW2 communist Yugoslavia under Tito. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia after Tito’s death it has formed part of independent Croatia. Only a few kilometres away are the borders with Bosnia-Hercegovina and Monte Negro.
When I reported on my visit to Amalfi, Italy, I forgot to include a quote I found by a 19th c. writer:
“The Day of Judgment, for those Amalfitans that go to heaven, will be a day like any other.” – Renato Fucini, 1878
From my brief observations I think that could also apply to Dubrovnikians (or whatever the demonym is).