Hot! Send This Man a Postcard

People of Dubrovnik: Kresimir Cupic

Dubrovnik and Venice have a long-time rivalry. In the past it was because Venice kept trying to invade Dubrovnik. Today it’s the battle for “most beautiful city on the Adriatic.”

Last year I visited Venice on a perfect spring day. The weather was mild and sunny with low humidity. The city of canals and vibrant colored buildings sparkled like the pictures on the postcards in every Tabac shop. The travel magic was with me again on my first evening in Dubrovnik. It was another postcard perfect evening as I lay on one of the rocky beaches just outside the Old Town.

I had already walked through Old Town on my way to the beach and seen the steps up to the wall. My handy Rick Steeves guide recommended the 3K walk along the fortress wall and suggested going just before the gates close for a less crowded experience. From the beach, I could see the walled city and the potential sunset, so I packed up to get in before the gates closed.

I arrived at the west gate with 10 minutes to spare but the man at the ticket counter instantly questioned me. “Who was I? What did I think I was doing? Didn’t I know the gate was closing?”

I was the girl from Arizona, I told him, and I wanted to see the wall. He laughed and told me to follow him. He was the gatekeeper. In seconds we were rushing back into the narrow streets of Old Town behind the touristy squares and into the quiet neighborhoods to the Mariner’s Gate.

He explained the only way to close the wall was the walk around and close each gate. Sometimes people would enter at a different point and only get halfway through before being locked out. He would take me to the first gate he was closing so I could walk the full length of the wall. He proudly showed off the view, we walked past the ticket checkpoint, and I left him behind to do his job.

I walked along the wall as the church bells capped the hour. The city was starting to glow in the evening light and the birds were coming in to roost. I took a lot of pictures. As I reached the highest point of the wall, the gatekeeper caught up to me. “You are slow,” he said and waved the other visitors along so he could close the next gate.

With everyone else ahead of us, Kresimir Cupic showed me Dubrovnik from above – the small curved torrent so strong no attack had ever left its mark, the neighborhoods, an old prison that would maybe become new housing, and ancient ruins that used to be a basketball court where he played as a child. His enthusiasm and pride in his city was the deciding factor for my vote in the battle of the cities by the sea….

Every few meters, he would close another gate and when I asked, he let me take over. I laughed – I had my first European job!

Eventually we were back at the Mariner’s Gate and he walked me back out to the main square. He told me he remembers seeing Phoenix on television when the Phoenix Suns and Charles Barkley played in the NBA finals, and before we parted he asked for just one thing – that when I got back, could I send him a postcard?

I will fulfill that request today, but maybe my readers can help me. Please send Kresimir a postcard of your city. Tell him you know the girl from Arizona!

Kresimir Cupic
Zlatni Potok 8
20 000 Dubrovnik
Croatia




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