Words by Eoin Comiskey
December 22nd, 2016
You begin your wanderings where most do, in the heart of Dubrovnik’s Old Town. As you approach its formidable exterior, you are met by looming stone walls that seem bleached to pale yellow by the Adriatic sun. Underneath the city’s armour you find a main street of sorts; a wide thoroughfare flanked by rows of restaurants and trinket shops. Churches, museums, markets and monuments all contribute to an inescapable atmosphere of history and culture. You’re beginning to understand its selection as the primary Game of Thrones location.
In an attempt to drink it all in you make time to walk atop the city walls. The precipitous drops on either side of your occasionally narrow walkway are more than worth the discomfort they can cause. You are treated to satisfying views of the surrounding coastline and sea, scattered with inviting little islands. And on the other side, glimpses into the shaded homes of Old Town locals through their 4th floor windows and an overview of the city that overwhelms and as swallows swooping overhead among church towers and the sound of merchants and touts beneath, the whole thing feels very… Game of Thrones.
Outside of those walls lies a less familiar place. Quiet dusty roads entangle over low hills ahead of you in the midday summer heat. Temperatures reaching mid-30s leave all but the reddening tourists indoors. Tourism is the primary industry here, so outside of the old walls is predominantly residential. This, and the heat, gives the broader city a lazy and sleepy atmosphere.
Instinct leads your beflip-flopped feet towards the refreshing breeze of the coast. Passing shuttered windows, vacant stores and the occasional exhausted cat, you eventually see sunlight dancing on waves beyond the palm trees. While pondering how commodified Dubrovnik seems, the sun begins to set. And while watching the vibrant fish dart around your feet in the crystal clear blue, the sun bleeding gold and marmalade across the sky, emerald palms swaying above your head (and the GOT theme music humming on repeat in your head), you begin to understand why.
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