I’m currently sitting in a cafe, overlooking the ocean. It’s a day where the wind cant make up its mind which way it wants to go. It picks the tops off the confused waves and throws them into the harbour wall below me. It’s not cold, we are in Croatia in May. The sun heating up the parasol above me diffuses the brilliant light and lets me read my screen in perfect warmth. I’m surrounded by wooden tables and chairs, the paint bleached and worn by the daily tourists butts and hot sun. The bar owner has made a wooden structure around the bar from which rudimentary swings hang. People sit with their backs to the bar, swinging their feet, listening to the relaxed fun music, chatting and looking out over the steel blue ocean in front of us.
This is a joyful place to be able to do work. Granted, right now I’m writing the blog but last night before dinner I was working. I seem to be doing 3 hour bursts of work, partially before the battery runs out on the laptop and partially so I actually get to enjoy the day. Last night, after 3 hours of work, the judgemental eye of the fried fish that arrived put a halt on anymore. I’m nowhere near putting in a full 8 hour day but I’m making progress towards my goals and enjoying the journey and isn’t that what life’s all about?
The day started with the Game of Thrones (GOT) tour, the hostel owner runs. It’s become a major tourist attraction in Dubrovnik as a lot of King’s Landing is filmed here. Jeff was actually in the program for 3 seasons as a peasant and eventually a nobleman. He was much cheaper than the other tours being offered, knew loads, showed us lots of recognisable locations, had great stories and was seemingly more authentic. I enjoyed the first and second season of GOT but tailed off after that as the main characters were just getting killed off all the time and there didn’t seem to be any progression of the story. I’m going to have to re-watch at least the first few seasons to pick out my host and the locations he pointed out.
He also filled in my historical knowledge gaps in the Bosnian – Yugoslavian – Croatian conflict from the 1990’s. It’s still a very raw subject here with modern installations dotted around the city. I’d picked up on bits of information from the museum in Fort Imperial at the top of the mountain overlooking Dubrovnik. However it wasn’t clear what was going on from that, as it was written by someone who already knew the history and was therefore difficult to follow.
Jeff invited us for lunch at a good butchers restaurant in the old town that did a locals menu. It was about half the price we had been paying the rest of the week and served delicious lamb. There was no choice but I wouldn’t have chosen anything different anyway. He also invited us all, who were on the tour, to join him at the beach for some snorkeling with his family. He runs a fairly basic hostel that is certainly not the most comfortable but he’s very welcoming and takes care of his guests well.
We went for a swim to a local secret spot along the coast. The waves have undercut a cliff quite extensively and left a cave. There was a bit of climbing and cliff jumping to be done here. We also went in the cave, crouching low to stop the waves hitting our heads on the rock ceiling. You really wouldn’t want to get trapped in there, no one would know you had gone but it was worth it. The water was like crystal, absolutely perfectly clear with no silt or pollution. The light bounced into the cave through the water, like a wobbly fibre optic drawing patterns on the roof. It was beautiful.
On the swim back, we passed a 5 star hotel fronting the sea. Jeff said he normally stopped in here to use the sauna… just what I needed in a +30 degree country, a hot box to sit in. But I wasn’t about to give up a free pass so went for it. We sat in the dark hot crate for about 20 minutes talking about the hostel and how Dubrovnik had changed over the years. When we left, pink from the heat, and returned to the ocean, I felt like my skin was trying to jump off! It was refreshingly cold!
I packed up and went back to the hostel to shower and grab the laptop. Time for some more work before dinner. What a great lifestyle…