I have just returned from a fabulous 7 night cruise along the Croatian coastline. It is a wonderful way to explore the stunning Dalmatian coast and its array of unspoilt islands and beautifully clear sea.
Along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea which belongs mostly to the Republic of Croatia there are more than 1000 islands. Most of these islands are small and uninhabited, with only 15 islands with an area greater than 50 km2, and a population over 1000.
One board the MS Pape Prvi, meaning the first father (the Captain did explain the family connection) we visited a different each day including Hvar, Mjet and Korcula.
Whilst in Dubrovnik I could highly recommend the walking tour called “The Story of the War”. It is very difficult to find any locals who are willing to talk about the war in the early 1990’s so this is an opportunity to learn more from a local guide. Admittedly she was too young to remember but was able to divulge stories told by her parents.
After World War I, Dubrovnik became part of Croatia which itself was part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes which became Yugoslavia after World War II.
The Bombing of Dubrovnik
It was the attack that shocked the world. In 1991 Dubrovnik was a UNESCO "protected" World Heritage Site, a designation that was supposed to save it from the war just boiling up in former Yugoslavia. It didn't. More than 2,000 bombs fell on the city between 1991-1992.
At least 43 people had lost their lives and the Old Town had suffered serious damage. Of the 824 buildings in the old town, 68% had been struck by shells. Dubrovnik's walls sustained 111 direct hits and there were 314 more on Dubrovnik's baroque buildings and marble streets.
Nowadays, the Old Town has been fully restored but it is obvious which buildings were hit as they now have new red roofs. There are still a few places showing signs of shrapnel damage and some museums dedicated to the victims but it is difficult to imagine how horrific those years must have been as you walk down the polished Stradun (main street) which is now buzzing with tourists and you can barely distinguish between what's original and what rose from the rubble of the war.