Say you've been as lucky as we were, and found a charming B&B including parking for your car, if applicable.
Say you're not one for lazing on the beach for hours.
What else is there to do?
Lots of things, I suppose. How we actually spent our time is a different question. I think half the time was spent walking around in search of the perfect little restaurant. The kind whose waiters don't nearly drag you in by the scruff of your neck; where there's neither too much sun nor too much shade; neither too empty nor too full; and where you can peruse the menu without the prices giving you a heart attack.
One just such place is the Konoba Koloseum, located on a relatively wide street in the Old City of Dubrovnik, at Uz Jezuite 6, to be precise. The photo was not taken by me; and the place, with tables and chairs set out, looked much more fetching. Sooner or later came the usual question from our bright-eyed waiter: "Where are you from?" The moment we said "Israel", Yerku, renamed Yair by earlier Israeli tourists, lit up and dazzled us with a selection of his flawless Hebrew: "Shalom haverim sheli, ma shlomchem? Tafrit bevakasha… haval al hazman…"
Turns out that Yair/Yerku is not the only charming waiter at the Koloseum…
The following day, we got back from our three-island-tour aboard the Rudolfo in the late afternoon / early evening, tired and a bit chilly, and had no intention of climbing back uphill to our B&B, only to change, go foraging for food, end up in the Old City, then climb all the way up again… So we thought we'd go back to the Koloseum. It was Sunday night, few tourists were out, the streets were relatively empty. The Koloseum had one table with a high-spirited group of Americans, plus a sprinkling of people at two or three other tables. As we approached, a tall, suave, Steven-Fry-look-alike greeted me in perfect English: "Sorry Madame, we're closed."
Taken aback, I just stood there, speechless, and would probably have turned around and walked away, had he not immediately grinned broadly and said, "Sorry, sorry, just kidding, please, please sit down, mi casa es su casa …" and on he went to amuse and entertain us, keeping us in stitches and plying us with food and wine for the rest of the evening. I suspect Maté (Matthew in English) is in fact a drama student or a stand-up comedian, supplementing his income and practicing his art on unsuspecting tourists like me. Shortly thereafter Yerko/Yair arrived, too, making us feel even more at home.
Having heard me say that I was cold (remember the wet, choppy journey back aboard the Rudolfo?), Maté nipped indoors (all tables are set outdoors, always…) and came back carrying an armful of soft blankets… which he proceeded to drape around everyone's shoulders.
During the meal, we got to talking with the jolly American party at the nearby table, exchanging the standard "where are you from"s and so on. At some point, a pretty girl from another table shyly came up to me, and said in an apologetic tone:
"Sorry for troubling you, but I couldn't help overhearing that you're from Israel… I know Israel is a small country, so I thought maybe, just maybe, you know someone…"
[Fat chance, I'm thinking to myself… Population only around 7 million…]
"Do you by any chance know Ruth Morris?..."
"Ruth Morris? The translator? Yes I do… we're both members of the ITA… I saw her last at the conference in Jerusalem… I follow her blog…"
Small world after all… I took a couple of pictures of Natasha, and sent them to Ruth together with Natasha's warmest regards and thanks for having encouraged her early in her career.
Here's Natasha with Matthew's blanket around her:
That was our last night in Dubrovnik. Since the lovely Fadila could not put us up, she arranged for us to stay with her friend Katrina Popov, nicknamed Ina, who lives a short walk away and has an approved room to let. Like Fadila, Ina too adopted us warmly, served us hot tea in the living room when we came in after dinner, and strong Turkish coffee in the morning before we left, bless her. See pics below:
Ina's address, complete with official ministry-of-tourism stars;
The comfy, home-like bedroom:
Saying goodbye to Ina and her cheerful 94-year-old neighbor: