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The Slavic languages are an intriguing mix of sounds ive never before heard combined. luckily Ive been able to get by with just the words “hvala” (thank you) and “pivo” (beer).

Dubrovnik was my last stop in Croatia. A stop which, I almost decided to skip. Thank goddess I decided a few more days in Croatia couldn’t hurt.

When I first walked through the walls of the old city, I felt like I had forgotten my bow and arrow. If there weren’t modern people walking around, I probably would have assumed I accidentally wandered into a time machine; not only to a different period but also a different world.
J.R. Tolkien made a huge mistake when he did not create a middle-earth seaside village like this one. Dubrovnik could easy have been tossed into the trilogy without any viewers batting an eyelid. I think the most amazing thing about these trips is that now when I watch movies, I don’t have to imagine the place. I see rolling mountains or an archaic village with beautiful architecture and I know that it could be real. I know I have already seen things that look so much like it. I know that such intangible beauty might actually exist. It’s like I have a connection where I never saw a disconnect before.
My favorite part of the city was the walls. They encapsulated the entire old town, completely sealing it from any predator that roamed from either land or sea.
I was lucky enough to visit these walls during a storm. Usually traveling in hellacious weather puts a literal damper on spirits but there’s nothing more pleasurable than watching the sea at storm. I actually felt the chaos of the old world, standing up there with that umbrella breaking, sunglass flying, enormous wave generating wind. I could picture myself as a guard scanning the horizon for danger or pirates. After a certain amount of time the wind became so powerful it was difficult to breathe or open my eyes. I was loving every minute of it. The waves gradually increased in size, splashing up against the city. Spraying water against manmade walls of stone, 80 feet above the cliffs.
It’s humbling to stare out at something so much more powerful than me. Nothing else seems to matter when a thunderous turquoise wave decides to crash near you. When all you can hear is the wind and the sea. Now I find myself wondering, how do you cope with seeing such surreal beauty? How do you move on from that? What if, at 21, I’ve already seen the most beautiful thing I will ever see?
It really intriguing to stare at such unadulterated manmade beauty. I didn’t even think those two words went together before this trip, manmade and wonder seemed more like an oxymoron than a possibility.
Perhaps it is because every time we actually manage to create something profound, we slaughter it.

The civil war here damaged so much beauty, polluted so many waters, and took so many lives. Even now about 20 years later, there are still so many homes without roofs and old structures half blown away with bullet holes in every building.

The woman who owns the hostel I’m staying at made me Turkish coffee this morning. She looks a little older than me. Old enough to have been a child during the siege and bombing of Dubrovnik. Back when I was playing lazer tag or outside with water guns, she could have been in this very same village dealing with the real versions of my sadistic toys.

This town is both the land of faerietales and the land of war; morbidly beautiful and hauntingly mesmerizing. Also, I swear it is always sunset here.