For the last few days, I have been in the hot Croatian city of Dubrovnik. Located on the nation’s southern tip, Dubrovnik is the quintessential Mediterranean paradise, never failing to impress visitors and yearlong residents alike with its luxurious landscape and warm waters.
I have not done too much in Dubrovnik so far. After getting picked up from the bus in Gruž by Croatian goddess, Nina, I have just been relaxing with the Nina’s family and other residents of the apartment in Lapad, a residential neighborhood in the town.
So far, I have just been going to the beaches, eating pizza at the local joints, and admiring the views. And, this is essentially all I have been doing since I have a nasty sore throat.
Nina, though a citizen of the United States and resident of New Jersey, lives largely like a local here in the summers. She has been taking the numerous friends visiting her through the town, showing us where to get cheap food, deals, and enjoy ourselves; I will in time share all the tricks and tips.
Dubrovnik is slowly becoming more of a tourist center. Still, knowing some Croatian is a necessity. Cruise ships pass by the harbor daily, so the shops and restaurants are prepared with menus and staff to accommodate French, English/American/Australian, German, and Italian tourists, but knowing a little of the local language will get you far here.
Throw in a dobry dan/ good day (dobree dan), dobry vecher/ good evening (dobree ve-chair), and a hvala/ thank you (hiv-a-la), and you can expect a smile back.
According to Nina, local Dubrovnikians get discounts (as does Nina as a result of her accent) as a result of the fact that Croatian minimum wage would not allow most Dubrovnik residents to enjoy their own city. It is only fair (or shall we say fare).
The USD and Euro to Croatian Kuna is already so much in the formers’ advantages, not getting the best price will not ruin your trip. However, if you do befriend/ have some Croatian pals around, it may be more economic to have them order for you …
Additionally, some Italian is beneficial too … Besides English, many Dubrovnikians speak or at least understand Italian as a result of Italy’s proximity and past influence on the region.
Nina’s father explained that Croatia, still a young country, has three main regions with three different cultures corresponding to their geographic neighbors and history. The north is very much like Austria, the east is similar culturally to Hungary, and the south is essentially Italian. That would explain the amazing pizza and the language variation in the big D (at least that’s what I call it).
A friend of Nina’s that I met from Zagreb aided in revealing the comparisons by mocking Nina’s Dubrovnik/American speech, which he described as, “long and sing songy like Italian,” not like his quick and efficient Zagrebesque accent. However here, he admits that he is the one who speaks funny, coming from the capital.
Fascinating. Internet is a little difficult to come by in this area, but I will do my best to keep y’all updated and informed. Get ready for tips about living like a local in Lapad, the best places to go out at night, a quick trip to the Old Town (of course), some island hopping, and possibly Bosnia? We are doing the Balkans. Big.