Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Problem with Being a Tourist

Dubrovnik has survived earthquakes, tsunamis and war.  It has been reduced to rubble and rebuilt multiple times.   Today it is an urban medieval artscape in marble.  Breathtaking is an entirely appropriate are touristy, crowded and hot.  It is a beautiful for sure and it is amazing how, over the past 20 years, it has been restored to a point that you'd never know that in 1992 most of the buildings inside the old city were missing roofs, walls and windows (and in fact most students from the ship had no idea that, within their lifetimes, there had even been a war here).  It is indeed a place to put on your list if you are travelling to the region but be prepared for the crowds.  

This place is packed with tourists.  My Portland, Maine friends can likely relate to the frustration that comes with the experience of attempting to walk to some place in the Old Port at the height of summer when the sidewalks are full of slow moving, sky-gazing tourists.   Unlike these cruise ship and bus  borne interlopers you KNOW where you want to go and all you want to do is GET there, which you would totally do if the apparently lost and overly wowed tourists would simply make way for you!!!!  Multiply that times a thousand and you'll have Dubrovnik.  

Okay so at first I didn't notice, because I was too busy being one of those slow moving, sky gaping waddlers.  And since most of the tourists come from cruise ships that stop in for only a day, my guess is that they don't notice the crowds either.  Overwhelmed by architectural artistry their senses are oblivious to the press of bodies around them, it is all they can do to keep their eye out for the flag, umbrella or other handheld sign that  their tour guide wiggles and waves above the bustle because without they they'd become quite lost in the warren of narrow, shop filled streets.

As frustrated as the crowds made me one really can't blame them.  Most tourists are in the city for one day, maybe two.  They jam in as many sights as they can, eat a local specialty, drink a little too much and by a souvenir magnet for the fridge so each time they go for leftovers they will be reminded of that beautiful city they visited but never really got to know. 

And I guess that is the blessing and the curse of being a tourist, and what I am beginning to question about this journey; one tastes a lot places, but gets to know none of them.  The place I am coming to know best is this ship and this sea, but that my dear readers is something I am saving for another blog post. 

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