ON HIS VISIT IN 1929, PYGMALION AUTHOR GEORGE BERNARD SHAW was so enamored of Dubrovnik that he described it as "paradise on earth". Indeed, no fair lady, or gentleman at that, can contest the city's loverly qualities; of turquoise waters lapping into the arms of a spectacular seaport, of majestic, medieval structures transporting visitors into ye olde ages, and of coastal cuisine combining the influences of Greek, Roman, Illyrian, French and Italian cooking. Though damaged by shelling in 1991, we are today fortunate to behold Dubrovnik as Mr. Shaw did, thanks to repairs adherent to UNESCO guidelines. In 2014, the postcard-perfect paradise looks as good as new and as old as time.
Dubrovnik's main feature, the old town, shares the coast with a number of private resorts. We stayed at Villa Dubrovnik, overlooking Lokrum island where a shipwrecked Richard the Lionheart was said in legend to have washed ashore. No shipwrecks during our stay, but a lot of vessels both great and small floated past, including The Maltese Falcon, which one evening had Avatar projected onto an on-board screen. How fascinating the large Na'vi faces against the pitch black sea.
On most days, we headed via boat to the old town. "King's Landing" pops up on geotag as we would approach, with the seaport serving as a filming site for the fictional Game of Thrones location. Lokrum island, Rector's Palace and the abandoned Hotel Belvedere, among other sites have also provided scenery for the show, naturally finding themselves on GOT walking tours offered by hawkers and online providers alike. As usual, we went our own way, wandering, seeing some sights and walking the wall that stretches over 6,360 feet around the city. With a spot in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites, and CNNGo's ten best-preserved medieval cities, few spots on Dubrovnik's coast aren't scenic. Almost everywhere has a view.
What I miss: waking up to the Adriatic Sea. Gazing at the old towers and fortresses over morning coffee. Morning swims. Maraschino liqueur from Marasca cherries grown right on the Dalmatian coast. Ships at twilight.
George Bernard Shaw wasn't lying when he called Dubrovnik paradise, but it's possible we were both only dreaming.
Dubrovnik seaport, Rector's Palace, Ploče Gate, Stradun, Fish Restaurant Proto, Hotel Villa Dubrovnik, Croatia. Photos by Lady San Pedro and Jaime Sese.