“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge,” is a quote from John Naisbitt that could well be used for social media, although I’m going to apply the same quote to driving in Dubrovnik.
Yes, I know it’s August and if we aren’t busy this month then we’re doing something wrong, but it would also appear that many of the problems we have are utterly avoidable. Parking in Dubrovnik, well more precisely around the historic core, in the winter is tricky – in the summer Tom Cruise could make another movie in the Mission Impossible franchise.
Local governments come, local governments go, but the one constant is the mess of parking. It seems like an unsolvable problem for all our politicians.
Last year gave us a brief respite from the madness, but it’s back. Every day I seem to get stuck behind a foreign number plated car looking for an empty parking space around the Old City. These non-residents are looking for parking in residents only spaces. This can never have a happy ending.
Firstly, they are creating traffic jams (pointless) and secondly when they do find their “el dorado” their car is going to get another ride on a tow-away truck. Just last week a local taxi driver got so frustrated with these snail-paced parking seekers that he tried to overtake by bumping up onto the pavement whilst leaning on his horn. The Swiss car in front clearly had a heart attack and swerved into a garage space to avoid the road rage behind him. Although the taxi driver was clearly a moron, he was moron I had some sympathy with.
And surprisingly quickly these foreign drivers have discovered one of the last “free” parking roads in the city, and it’s totally full. The dead-end road that leads from Zlatni Potok to the former Hotel Belvedere looks like the garage in the United Nations. From camper vans (with panoramic views over the city) to family cars and backpackers, they’ve all found their free spot on this road, all mixed in with a splattering of locals.
And they are all half parked on the path, yes, walking along the path is impossible. But then something occurred to me. This free parking isn’t so straight forward to find, so clearly the word is out on social media.
And after a quick Google of “free parking in Dubrovnik” I found articles, maps and photos on which locations in Dubrovnik are free. I even found a couple of free spots that I didn’t know – so thank you to a couple from Madrid for your advice.
But then here is the paradox, if hundreds and thousands of tourists know the free spaces why don’t the others know that parking around the city is residents only! The phrase, knowledge is power, has never been more apt.
And the “starved for knowledge” doesn’t stop there. Unfortunately, I got caught in the regular traffic jam that runs to the Pile gate this week. The jam is a new “landmark” in the city that seems to have been caused by a decision to stop taxis using another road.
And at night this living landmark grows to incredible proportions. Cars, well mostly taxis, inch their way to the city at speeds that would embarrass a snail. Whilst I was sitting in the jam I looked at my clock and saw it was 10:30pm. Now the majority of the taxis would be filled with young tourists looking for a night out in the city. But I wonder how many of them realised that at midnight the whole place shut down due to Covid regulations. It’s a Cinderella city.
In fact, these blissfully unaware tourists would probably spend more time sitting in their Ubers than on the Stradun, and probably spend more money on the taxi ride than on cocktails. Again knowledge is power.
The third auto story is one that I would prefer not to write about. But it’s clear from the recent weeks that foreign drivers are falling asleep at the wheel in their rush to get home. When I say foreign I mean Albanians, and they are hard to spot as they are camouflaged with Swiss, UK and German number plates. In their rush to get home and maximise their holiday time they drive non-stop, and normally with their whole family in the car. Yes, I know this is idiotic.
So be careful on the roads, slow and sure, because August is coming to an end and some kind of normality will return.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to