The night before we arrived in Dubrovnik I was informed that none of the shuttles that Celebrity Cruise Lines had hired to get to old town were wheelchair accessible. So I decided to go on foot (wheels) the two miles to the old town area. Unfortunately, Croatia is not in the European Union so it isn't required to adhere to the handicap accessible mandates the E.U. demands. My daughter, Jackie, and I tried to make it to old town but we only made it about 1/4 mile before the curb ramps ran out. So, after trying possible alternative routes, my daughter and I gave up and shopped a bit (only city I bought a shirt in) and went back to the port. We passed the nervous border guard and went back onto the ship for father daughter pedicures!
This brief adventure was one of the most interesting quarter miles I have ever traveled. This place has to be seen to understand its beauty. With its deep blue water, quaint homes and relaxed pace (I didn't see anyone move faster than a leisurely stroll). It is a living postcard.
The odd thing is that none of the locals smile even when smiled at (I have been told that Americans smile too much). After inquiring about why the people are like this I understood. Croatia is part of the former country of Yugoslavia. These people fought a civil war just twenty years ago and went through forty years of communist oppression prior to that. I was told that it may take a couple generations for the people to feel that they can smile in public again. They were very courteous and helpful whenever we needed directions or something was in my way. But they also would stop and stare at my wheelchair. Most everyone would give me a wide swath and seemed worried that they might catch what I have. The border guard looked uneasy and wouldn't even check my passport. I don't believe they have ever seen anything like my chair before.
My thoughts on Dubrovnik, it is really beautiful with a rich historic culture but it really needs a hug. Go see it!
Next port, Venice!