Saturday, September 29, 2018

Lost in Dubrovnik

Yes, sir, I will happily travel 4,000 miles to eat fried chicken with the right person.

And if that means a two hour delay at Dulles (after Mac delivered me with her usual sunny kindness) while waiting for thunderstorms to move through, so be it. If it means my 2 1/2 hour layover in Dublin (the mother country, finally!) is reduced to a power walk from gate to gate, that's fine, too.

And, horrors, even if it means I get up from lunch on the first day and completely forget my purse - passport and all - and don't discover my stupidity or recover it for five hours, well, that's just the way it goes.

Let's just say I couldn't help but spontaneously hug the guy at the restaurant when he brought it to me that night, a big smile on his face. For that matter, I hugged him again the next morning when I ran into after breakfast. It took until today to just smile and greet him without wantonly showing my gratitude.

Because now that I've been here three days and come out of my jet lag coma, I'm here to say that Dubrovnik is a pretty spectacular place any way you look at it. And I'm looking at it every way I can, from the centuries-old limestone walls to the red tiled rooves of the walled city, from the narrow winding streets overlooking the Adriatic to the view from our hotel room through green shutters overlooking the café-filled cobblestone streets.

Every day begins with breakfast at Alcove 5, the hotel's rooftop restaurant with a view of the impossibly blue sea, a weather vane-topped bell tower and scores of red rooves, the car-less streets not even visible from on high.

Breakfast itself is just as delightful. So far, I haven't been able to tear myself away from a thick round of housemade brioche topped with avocado chunks, radishes, sundried tomatoes, fresh radishes and cherry tomatoes under a flurry of Feta accompanied by fresh-squeezed orange juice, loving how decidedly un-American a breakfast it is. Himself has moved between an equally unusual bowl of salmon, avocado, quinoa, soft boiled egg and arugula and a more standard yogurt and fruit bowl, but he doesn't turn down bites of my brioche, either.

Part of the breakfast view is the line of tourists walking the wall, but we assume those must be people from the cruise ships anchored at the port, because who else is out and about at 10:30 when we're just having our first meal of the day? German tourist with black socks and brown shoes, that's who. Ahem.

I'm charmed by the everyday here. Even something as simple as lines of laundry - we've seen everything from white sheets to a black bra - hanging outside so many houses in the September sunlight catches my eye. Laundry never looked so charming in our country.

Walking along the waterfront, we're amazed at how clear the water is and how tiny some of the boats are. Young men in the tightest and briefest of swim trunks (or maybe it's their underwear, I couldn't really say) jump off the edge of the point near the fort and then stretch out spread eagle to dry off in the sun, while Japanese tourists snap their picture.

Dinner last night meant meeting the Australian couple I've been hearing about for a while now and they were not only as delightful as I'd heard, but funnier than I could have hoped for. Seeing a part of the world that's completely new to me is wonderful, but the satisfaction of dishing with people who've known Himself longer than I have and chose to share some riotous stories involving red wine fountains and gin-soaked nights? Priceless.

I know many of the visitors to Dubrovnik were attracted to it because it's where "Game of Thrones" is filmed, but it turns out that "The Last Jedi" was also made here and there are enough Star Wars t-shirts walking around to prove it.

We, of course, care about neither.

After hours of walking around, past hostels and apartments, into a museum devoted to olive oil, inside dark churches smelling of incense and old wood, we paused for a snack at Ding Dong for one main reason: the three slender wooden tables for two that rested on the narrow, steep steps between streets.

As if by plan, the front one vacated just as we arrived and we sat down without knowing what we were getting. Turns out there was one thing and one thing only on the menu - Korean fried chicken in a variety of sauces from mildly hot to maddeningly hot - and that was just fine by us.

After taking our order, our server Pavo looked at Himself quizzically and asked, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like...?" and we both knew what was coming. Picture-taking ensued (it always does because no one believes he really isn't Richard Gere), as did Pavo's recommendation that we eat with our fingers, not utensils.

Not to worry, I assured Pavo that if we were going to have our first meal on tables bolted to cobblestone steps, he could be damn sure we were going to do it finger-lickin' good-style.

I may be in Dubrovnik for the first time and I may have been brain dead for a while, but no one needs to tell this girl how to eat fried chicken.

Much less how to enjoy every bit of this with the right person. The right person.

1 comment:

  1. I see you've immersed yourself well in Dubrovnik. Thankful you got your papers/purse back! Nightmare. How's Richard? I read he's eating fried chicken with a cutie abroad incognito.