Friday, 18 September 2020
Gillie Sutherland Gillie Sutherland

Finding Love In Dubrovnik

By  Aug 23, 2020

More than ever this week, I needed to keep the faith, and find some hope in these challenging times. As the UK putting Croatia on the red list became inevitable, I found myself slipping into a negative frame of mind – this is a huge blow to my business, as I’m sure it is for many others in the tourism sector.

I was determined not to let it defeat me though, and I was reminded of a beautiful quote from the film “Silver Linings Playbook”.

The lead character, Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, has a word to keep him on track when he is struggling with his mental health.

The word is “Excelsior” and he explains it like this: “I’m going to take all this negativity and I’m going to use it as fuel. I’m going to find the silver lining”.

So I decided that looking for the silver lining in all this wasn’t a bad idea; after all, the only control we have in this situation is how we choose to respond to it.

Lo and behold, when I made the choice to look for the silver lining, I found it, and it’s perfect.

There’s more love everywhere!

Well at least it seems that way.

Yesterday I spent the day in the big city, and to be honest, I was not looking forward to it.

I’ve become used to my more peaceful and quiet life here in Molunat, and the idea of traipsing around Dubrovnik in 36 degrees of heat was far from appealing.

Arriving in Dubrovnik, however, I was taken aback by how different it was to every other time I have visited. It is usually mobbed with tourists, “a bun fight” is how I describe it, and particularly in the height of summer, I am either avoiding it altogether or looking for the nearest escape from the crowds.



Yesterday was a complete contrast. There were enough people for me to be reassured that businesses were surviving, but not too many that you felt hemmed in or herded around. The Stradun felt spacious and people were in a positive state of mind.

The energy was infectious, and everywhere I looked, people seemed happy. There was love everywhere.

While we enjoyed our vino and Croatian cheese platter, I heard some voices – a young couple kissing and laughing, and having the best time in the world.

Wandering around was a relaxed affair and people were keen to engage in conversation, with a renewed sense of gratitude for being around others again and sharing experiences.

Local vendors and those working in the museums were friendly, thankful for whatever trade they could get, and the servers in restaurants were just happy to be back at work, regardless of the fact they had to wear masks all day.

When things got too hot, we found a place built into the rocks by the sea, Buza Bar, where we could jump into the sea to cool down before taking our refreshments looking out to the Adriatic. Everyone there was happy, there was an energy I hadn’t felt for some time, and as we sang our little hearts out to Wham’s “Freedom”, it struck me what it was.

It was gratitude – a renewed sense of freedom and appreciation for everything we had, things that perhaps before we had taken for granted. The little magic moments, where you want to capture it in your mind forever, they just seemed so much more profound.

So many of our freedoms had been taken away, I think we can now see things through different eyes.

I realised that many of the couples here together on holiday had perhaps been separated for some time, or had been forced to just be with each other in the same four walls for weeks on end.

As we travelled back to Cavtat on the boat, I looked around at the other passengers.

A young couple, who needed no words, shared a look between them that said it all (“this is bliss” was what I felt from it); two men, clearly connected through the years just grinning at each other; and two young mothers with their children, singing and dancing along to the music that was playing.

It was a scene of pure love, and I felt it in every bone of my body.

It was not what I expected. None of this was what we expected. Yet perhaps there has been something very special come out of this time – a silver lining - love and gratitude for what we have.

It may not seem like it at times, but there really is love everywhere, but like with the silver lining, we have to look for it.


Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Molunat. A professional yoga trainer she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo.

Keep in touch with Gillie via her yoga website -

For more information on healing holidays in Croatia visit

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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