Dubrovnik, Jewel of the Adriatic, and the Croatian Homeland War

Because it’s nearly 11 PM and I cannot think of another introduction, today can be summed up in a few words: clouds, wall, view, and food.

After breakfast, we yet again dragged our bags down a few flights of stairs. Our task was not over as we then walked for around 15 minutes to pier with 40 pounds of luggage. We proceeded to wait by the dock for 25 minutes in the wind and slight drizzle for the boat. Surprisingly, the wait was not too bad. We boarded the ferry and departed Korčula for Dubrovnik.

On the ferry, many of us engaged in various activities to entertain ourselves and stay busy. For example, I journaled and worked on my final essay while Meghan and Iman fell asleep.

After two hours, we were finally in Dubrovnik. For the first few hours, the city seemed gloomy to all of us. It was cloudy and we experienced light rain while walking around. Because our rooms were not yet ready, we dropped off our bags at the hotel and left for the Old Town. To enter the Old Town, we had to walk through the stone wall crossing over from modern Europe to medieval Europe. In the wise words of Meghan, “it was like Disney World.” To elaborate, the Old Town was full of beautiful old buildings and an endless amount of tourists enough to give anyone slight claustrophobia. Luckily, we left the main street and ventured up the wall. After many pictures, we walked back down into the town which had become far less crowded than before.

Adam showed us the ways around the town and we found ourselves free to wander about. Meghan and I made several stops but our most notable one was discovering the best gelato in both Croatia and Bosnia. (We’ll definitely be going back tomorrow.)

We then reunited with the group and made our way to the cable car to take us to the highest point in Dubrovnik and most likely surrounding areas. There, we took plenty of photos and enjoyed the amazing view. After that, we went to a nearby museum (still on the mountain top) to learn more about Dubrovnik during the War. What interested me the most was not the actions Dubrovnik took during the War, but how it was portrayed in the museum. While Bosnian memorials were still nationalistic, they generally portrayed Bosnia as a defender or victimized country. The Croatian museum today was more aggressive in how they presented themselves. The museum generally referred to Serbia or Montenegro as ‘the aggressors’ and often described Croatia or Dubrovnik as ‘heroic’. This museum made me realize that narrative is extremely important in telling a story and can completely shape a person’s opinion depending how well the narrative is crafted.

Following the museum, we went back down to the Old Town for dinner in the square and later left the Old Town to return back to our hotel. There, we had our debriefing activity and watched the Croatia-Iceland World Cup game. Fortunately, Croatia won 2-1. Upon the Croatian victory, we went to our rooms and called it a day.

By Isabella D.

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