Saturday, 3 August 2013

Dubrovnik tours: busy as ever

I have the good fortune to return to the place where the idea for The Tour of All Tours first came to me: Dubrovnik. What's more, I'm here to assist making a performance that will involve some touring around the city, but more on that in a later post.

Today I caught the early shift of the tourists. As it is very hot during Summer it is best to start before it gets too oppressive or else wait till later in the day. I rather like the way she holds the number 1 so that people can identify her. When the tourist are dispatched to the guides they are given numbers depending on their language and route. Number 1 turned out to be an English speaking guide.

Here's a Chinese group and the thing that was most charming about them is how they have their translator and tour leader who wears a sailor's cap. The guide gives the explanation to him (I didn't catch whether this was in English or Croatian) and he then relays the information to the group. 

This is a Turkish group and I'd be very curious to see how their tour differed from those of say the Italians. Dubrovnik was under the Ottoman Empire's protection for a long and important period of time in its history so there must be some special information relating to this history that the Turkish group would hear. The Italians would hear a different history I imagine as they, or more specifically Venice, were another major power who exercised control over Dubrovnik for a period of time and who remained competitors for centuries to come. These colonial or historical ties are rich material for highly specific tours.

Finally, I saw a number of tours advertised that could take you out of the city and to some exotic locations. This was a typical offer: Montenegro, Mostar and Korcula. Albania is also popular and Sarajevo an option. With these tours some of them go to places known to most visitors from the wars of the 90s. The visits to Bosnia in particular can be a form of battlefield tourism. I also get a slight feeling that these tours play the angle of taking you from a reassuringly safe place to a slightly less safe place but in the company of a dependable guide. How true that is, is another question entirely: Albania may well be completely fine for all I know. 

I did hear today of a very extreme sort of tourism that took place during the war itself. Apparently there were people who paid to be able to participate in the war. Rather than mercenaries who are paid to fight, these were men who wanted a taste of the action and were willing to pay for the experience of being in a battle zone. Needless to say, I won't be taking those sort of tours myself for this blog!  

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