Summer has truly begun in Dubrovnik. I'm not talking just about the calendar definition of it. I am talking about true Dubrovnik summer, characterised in my book by crowds of people everywhere, scorching heat, heavy traffic, and a rising sense of impatience and nervousness in the air. Maybe I'm not doing a good job promoting Dubrovnik as a summer destination, but any traveller to our fair city reading this should know be consoled by the fact it is mostly us locals who feel these “symptoms” of the warmer months.
Summer is a lovely time of the year when the city is at its most vibrant, but yes, there are definitely certain problems to deal with, especially if you are working hard through it all.
This entire city is geared more and more towards tourism and regardless of whether you think this is a good or a bad thing; it has undoubtedly spawned one more Dubrovnik summer tradition - a strange sort of money making feeding frenzy.
Everyone involved in tourism has to make as much money as possible in the 3-4 months of the main tourism season because the winter will be long and profitless. With this kind of imperative hanging over people's heads, some of them can get pretty hostile if things aren't developing as planned or if you are standing in their way. In a small place like this, everyone is in everybody's way during summer. It creates stress and you can often feel it on the city's streets. Many of those trying to make a living through the season can feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Some simply crack under pressure. It happens. I see it every year.
With all this in mind, it is easy to see how some days it is less than pleasant living in Dubrovnik. It also gets much easier to understand the local news headlines and Facebook posts about big hotel companies trying to fence off public beaches, private apartment owners blocking street parking spots, cruise ships passengers jamming through the Old City gates creating chaos on certain days, and many more similar ones. One could argue I'm always looking at the dark side of life and insisting on talking about problems instead of all the good things. But, the way I see it, someone needs to.
The national media and government-ordered news seem to be only concerned about counting people on border crossings and exclaiming very loudly how we are experiencing a rise in guest numbers (all due to government's wise promotional strategy, of course). Other kinds of stories are those about the high price of cappuccino in the historical centre or what the latest celebrity visiting the city tweeted about us. All very important info indeed, but I feel perfectly comfortable being a summer-scrooge (I should trademark this term) and pointing out there are problems we need to deal with in this city. Otherwise, we will end up eating each other like hamsters in an overcrowded cage.
Easy off the gas, people, we'll be fine. We'll make the money, we'll live through another year. In the meantime, there is no point in being aggressive and acting like a jerk in the streets or behind the wheel of a car. We still have a long way to go. It’s only June.
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.