Thursday, 18 October 2018
The Restless Native The Restless Native

Outgoing Flights Boarding

By  Nov 17, 2016

It's that time of the year when a massive exodus of people from Dubrovnik occurs. The beginning of November marks the end of the shoulder season in Dubrovnik, meaning there are much more tourists leaving the city than there are incoming guests. Also, as the month progresses, more and more local people are heading out on their well deserved vacations after a long tourist season. This way the city is left half empty. Even those that remain are less likely to go outside of their homes due to the often gloomy autumn weather. The feel of Dubrovnik quickly turns from bustling to quiet. This is the part of the year when our little city feels a bit claustrophobic. That's why we choose November, December, and maybe January for travelling.

When it comes to international destinations, Dubrovnik people travel pretty much all over the place. On the other hand, when it comes to travelling within Croatia, there is probably no destination more popular for us than the capital city of Zagreb. It "helps" that our local airport is reduced to a few-flights-per-day parking lot in off season months; disabling us to fly anywhere without going through Zagreb airport (our government was always adamant in making the capital city a hub for everything in Croatia at the expense of the rest of the country). However, even without the traffic necessity of travelling via this city, Dubrovnik people seem to have a soft spot for Zagreb, although many will not admit to it. I definitely have no problem in professing my devotion to it. It's a beautiful city (for the most part) with a lovely historical district, good restaurant scene, plenty of amenities, and interesting surrounding areas. Most of what draws Dubrovnik people to it lately is the fact Zagreb in winter time is everything Dubrovnik is not - it's bustling, vibrant, full of options and activities. It's a really fun place, with something for everyone...a true winter wonderland. Luckily, there is a push towards making Dubrovnik more fun and interesting during winter, and even though one could argue there is not much imagination involved in the efforts to do so, at least there is a will to change a somewhat dull outlook of our city off season. However, even with this in mind, it is unlikely we will stop making the trip inland.

The only real threat for the number of Dubrovnik visitors to Zagreb is that there are too many of us up there. I remember when I started working in tourism, my British guests would ask me to recommend places for day trips and often their main condition would be "Please, somewhere where there's not a lot of Brits.". It struck me as strange, but now I completely understand the feeling. Working almost non-stop for three quarters of the year in Dubrovnik makes me want to take a break from the city as well as from its people. Working in this crazy business of tourism makes you care about, or at least relate to many of your friends and neighbours going through the same yearly struggle, but that doesn't change the fact I prefer not to see many familiar faces when I travel. Seeing people you see regularly during your work days on your vacation really does take away from the experience, as silly as that sounds. Walking through some of the main Zagreb squares sometimes feels like walking along our main street - Stradun. Actually, Stradun during summer might easily have less Dubrovnik locals per square metre than centre of Zagreb during December.

So, until we get to that point where we can't escape our aunts and uncles on the streets of this country's capital city, Zagreb is likely to remain the most important city break destination for us. I just hope they don't realise we're used to paying higher prices in restaurants and cafe bars at home.

Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

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