40 for 40: Day 28 – Cavtat

I gave myself three nights in Dubrovnik as a “just in case”, and it turns out two days is plenty for seeing the Old Town, plus you throw in Lokrum, and you’re pretty much set. So today, I wanted to go a bit further afield, but keep it simple and relatively low key, especially after the monster that was yesterday.

I snagged the 3 Day Dubrovnik Card when I got into town, and part of it is two free bus vouchers for the number 10 bus, which takes you to a small town called Cavtat, which I had seen advertised at the Old Town Harbour yesterday. Quick walk to the bus station, half hour ride later, and I was in the middle of the cute.

Cavtat actually holds an important historical place when it comes to the founding of Dubrovnik. People have been living here since the 6th century BC, when the Greeks set up shop, but after it was sacked in the 7th century, the survivors flew to nearby Ragusa which, eventually, would morph into Dubrovnik. The gift shops and restaurants along the main strip definitely let you know that the secret is out, but it never feels as crowded as Dubrovnik, you can find a (reasonably) quiet patch of rock along the coastline to sunbathe or swim in, and some cute churches and a hilltop mausoleum provide some non-natural beauty as well. You could easily spend the day relaxing here, and I managed about four hours before the sun, swim, and yesterday’s activity caught up to me and I started making my way back to Dubrovnik.

Had a brief stop to pack at the hostel before heading back into the Old Town for a souvenir run, when I saw the moment that may define my view of Dubrovnik for the next few years at least. There are a set of steps in town, known as the Jesuit Steps, where Cersei from Game of Thrones (which I still want to see, even though I feel know half the plot now) has to do a naked walk of shame as townspeople chant “shame” at her. As I’m looking up at the steps, one woman (oddly enough, wearing an “I’m in Miami B****” tank top) is having somebody take a picture of her as she assumes Cersei’s position (which I saw thanks to the multiple guides holding up a picture of the scene) and, moments later, a completely unrelated woman started walking down the steps while ringing a bell and yelling “shame!” Moments later, that same woman’s ring tone goes off and it’s the Star Wars theme, thus ensuring her victory at Dubrovnik filming location BINGO. Then, I head to the top of the stairs and I see people playing with GoT replica weapons as this woman returns the bell to a nearby tour group leader.

So, as long as Game of Thrones is a thing, this stuff will be a thing.

That said, the sky was lighting up in a beautiful gold, which was casing some amazing light on the buildings, which gave me some great parting shots and led me into a memorial for the defenders of Dubrovnik from the conflict in 1991.

So, for the time being, that seems to be Dubrovnik’s lot. A struggle between history and pop culture. Eventually, in a city known for its walls, I’d imagine history wins out.

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