Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dubrovnik, Croatia

I may have a new favorite city. Apparently, it was my step-grandmother, Oatie's favorite city, though I can't imagine that diminutive, feminine, elderly lady bumping through the Pile Gate with a bunch of cheapo wheeled luggage from Target and a fluorescent green nylon totebag filled with provisions (the salt and butter have been dogging us since Ptuj!) Back in the day, they probably had porters. Now, they have milling pleasure seekers in shorts, licking ice cream cones and purchasing Croatian flag football jerseys which Greg says we should refrain from acquiring, as we don't know the political implications. (Go Red Sox.)

We're staying in truly rarified accomodations, which we only lucked into because I Googled up the wrong link when my travel writing friend, Farley, tipped me off to his favorite place to stay in this wonderful town. He likes Karmen Apartments. We've taken over Carmen's (entire) House, 3 sweet, narrow floors, high up in the old walled city. Karmen's mom, Ericka, left 3 beers in the fridge for us! These are good people. The music school nearby provided a lovely cello soundtrack to the morning's dish washing. Speaking of washing, there's a tiny washing machine that can handle four kilograms of laundry at a time. We spent the morning walking the perimeter of Dubrovnik's walls, then I snuck back to hang our clean clothes on a line strung between our building and the neighbor's, tenement-style. For the life of me, I can't imagine why anyone would want to stay in a hotel when it's so much fun to play house.

Today was a banner souvenir day for Inky and Milo. A married couple in Gunduliceva poljana, the square nearest our digs, sell funny looking fish they make out of palms. We've been talking a lot about the value, (moral, aesthetic, and economic) in purchasing handmade articles, rather than, say, a plastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask and weapon set that's too big to fit in the car. As soon as I saw these fish - and Milo's interest in them - I pledged that both children could get them, though not right away because we'd just scrounged up accommodation and had yet to haul in the gear from the expensive, tense parking situation just outside the gate. After eighteen hours of lobbying from the Palm Fish lobby, I finally made good on my promise, though I nearly dropped dead from the price. Remember, most of my travels have been in the lands where carved frog masks go for a couple of bucks. "Arky" the Octopus, and "Dinah" the Fish Skeleton cost the same as a night's lodging in Lobran, but then, I thought about how I like to get paid a reasonable wage for my labors, and supporting the arts, and the possibility that Arky might follow his owner to a dorm room and voila - money well spent. Also, they've provided at least 45 minutes of playtime fun and have no known political implications.

(Good thing the ATM card's working again.)

One of my favorite things about Dubrovnik are Onofrio's fountains near either entry to the walled city. It's always good to wash one's hands, rather than risk giving one's hosts the plague.

Also digging on the frequent church bells, unlike the neighbor's str

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