My least favourite month, by far, in Dubrovnik has come to an end, and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t think and I can’t avoid people.
Now it seems strange that an Englishman is complaining that there is not enough rain and clouds, but it’s true. For whilst the guaranteed thirty degrees every day might be just what the tourism businesses want for me it just punishing.
And granted, the predictability of non-stop sunshine has advantages, like when planning a summer’s holiday or an outside event, it is only a short step from predictability to monotony. “Variety is the spice of life,” once famously wrote the poet William Cowper.
I was speaking to a colleague from St. Petersburg over Zoom and she said that’s is really hot there at the moment “Around 25 degrees,” and the overwhelming feeling I had was envy.
As you’ve probably guessed I’m not a huge fan of heat wave temperatures. I must have said to my wife a hundred times this month, “Let’s move to Iceland!” I have even found myself watching documentaries about polar bears just to try and imagine the cold.
Now I have a couple of friends who are what’s known as “sun seekers.” These are basically people who hate winter and cold, in fact they hate it so much that they are constantly travelling from one hemisphere to the other to avoid it. “It’s been 40 years since I saw a winter,” one friend explained. Whilst the other said with a smile “I want to live my life in shorts and flip-flops.” Neither of them have seen snow in their lives! So as you can imagine August in Dubrovnik for them is heaven. Of course, I suggested they go and live in the Gobi Desert.
Why would you spend your August in Dubrovnik?
Now, I understand why some tourists have to spend their summer holidays in Dubrovnik in August, school holidays probably being the most important factor. But, sorry if you don’t have to spend your holidays here in August and you decided to do it then you’re mad!
It isn’t only the relentless heat that leaves you swimming in sweat all day but the crowds. Just wait a month, honestly just wait. September will give you all you’d want from a summer and even more. Thankfully the hell of August is coming to an end and for eleven months I can enjoy the city. Storms and rain have been forecast for this week (and I’m writing this before they come) and when I saw the forecast it felt like Christmas was coming.
Three months! We haven’t seen rain for three months! And this, needless to say, is playing havoc with the agricultural industry. From goat farmers, to vineyard owners and of course half of Metković, all are saying that rain is needed. And no matter how many rain dances I do I always wake up to a perfect blue sky.
Sleeping in the afternoon isn't a luxury
Now, when I first landed on these shores I thought (wrongly) that all people here were just lazy for having an afternoon nap. I can vividly remember saying “It’s no wonder it’s a poor country when all you lazy bastards sleep all afternoon.” I hold my hands up, I was wrong. A fact that was proven on day-four of my arrival here 23 years ago when I myself took a nap. Laziness has nothing to do with it. The heat drains you like a mobile phone with the torch on all the time. After a morning of work, you’re literally shattered. Even today, well only in the height of summer, I still crash out like a zombie in the afternoon, before working later in the evening. Trying to work after lunch in the summer is like swimming against the tide!
“Sleep is the best meditation,” said the Dalai Lama. And I am meditating like a baby every afternoon. And as August in Dubrovnik will clearly never change the only thing I can change is my location, which is why I’m currently planning a summer break outside of Dubrovnik for next August. No, I’m not going to Iceland, but I am heading for slightly cooler climates. It’s a long story and one that I will unfold to you in the months to come.
But for now goodbye (and good riddance) August and welcome September, let the rains begin!
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to