robertisenberg

Flowers of Croatia

In Croatia on June 5, 2009 at 1:00 am

Archipelagos 151

Dubrovnik has never had “city planners.” When the walls were built around the Old City, merchants built house after house, using every inch of available space. Public squares served as bazaars for merchants, but the residential streets of Dubrovnik were packed, leaving no room for private gardens. Even today, greenery is reserved for the buildings’ upper echelons — walls cloaked in ivy, electric lines strung with vines, and rusted fire-escapes covered with potted plants. Seeing how cleverly, how precisely, the Croatians have decorated their streets makes me dizzy; I’m compelled to look in all directions at once, and the more I notice — an orange-tree, a surprise staircase, a hidden passage through the town wall — the more nooks I long to see. Dubrovnik is caramel and cocaine. There is no stopping once you’ve begun.

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