Too often, the intimidation of writing these introductory words is enough to stall or stop me from posting my work.
Can't these images just speak for themselves?
Should I share some information about the region? Dubrovnik alone holds such a crazy history - their fortress walls are among the largest in Europe, protecting their free republic in peace from just about every empire in the world over the last five plus centuries. It was real life Game of Thrones. Or, more recently, if you're in your mid-30's like me, then you entered your pre-teen years with the nightly news featuring the homeland wars in the former Yugoslavia. Croatians carry a strong sense of pride and distinct working memory of their own childhood experiences with the war. If you need a refresher on one of the deadliest European conflicts since WWII, I'll let Wikipedia share more specifics than I ever could.
OK, so there's that. So many of the images I made as I wandered this limestone city were built on my learning about their deeply rich and complex history and reflected an acute awareness of their ongoing rebuilding work.
Maybe I should talk about the incredible local cuisine? I had never had Croatian wine or olive oil before or heard of their lavender fields, mostly because their agriculture industry is made up of small, multi-generational family farms. They are so proud of their heritage, often using century-old methods to continue their work by hand. The seafood, of course, was on our daily menu, as were the Italian-influenced gelato, homemade bread and pasta with sauces made from local tomatoes and herbs. Yep, I was seven months pregnant and tasted wine. And I ate two raw oysters caught within the hour from the Adriatic sea. It was all delicious. I skipped the many amazing-looking unpasteurized cheeses on various farms we visited, so I wasn't totally reckless.
It was a pregnant mama's foodie paradise - rich with flavor, history and local pride.
Or the landscape - this country is built largely along the coast with so many peninsulas, islands, rocky beaches and natural wonders than could ever be appreciated in a short trip like ours. It's got an active, working harbor, so our experience in Dubrovnik was filled with sights of white sailboats coming and going, the sounds of ferry boat signals and seagulls overhead, and the salty smell of the sea. The Adriatic is exceptionally clean and clear - it's aquamarine colors against the rocky coast line are a truly tireless view.
I could go on, but, in the end, I suppose, I should simply let these images speak for themselves.
Take your time with them, if possible, and let me know what you think. I would truly love to hear from you. XO Shea