11 x Dubrovnik
The name translates into English as “Oak Grove,” but there aren’t many oaks in evidence around the Old Town World Heritage Site here. The nearest greenery lies in the hills above, from which the Serbs and Montenegrins shelled the city during the seven-month siege of 1991. Not much damage was done in the Croatian War for Independence, and this comes as no surprise–these fortified walls have been withstanding invaders and marauders since the 12th century Venetians.
Still, all that stone and concrete makes for a hot, sweltering day when the sun starts its morning burn. The tourists don’t seem to mind, as the cruise boats unload their daily catch of chattering and buying hordes. And if the shopkeepers and restauranteurs tire of all those foreigners, they’re much too gracious to say so. But cool, relaxed solitude is not an option.