I don’t know if all people have a village where they did all the required growing up. My first friend and I – we do.
My friend Nika called Nicky, who celebrates today, was my companion as we did our growing up every August in the tiny village Duba on the Pelješac peninsula in Croatia, the all-night train, ferry and fishing boat away from our hometown Ljubljana.
It was there that we met Taja, the third friend of our three-leaf clover, when we were about 12 years old, even though she lived in the same city only a kilometre away. Here we are during my last visit, Nika on the right and Taja in the middle.
Just last week you sent me a message: “There will be a programme on Duba on Croatian TV. Don’t cry too much.” You meant cry happy, nostalgic tears. I watched it. It was too short, I could watch images from there all night long. I’m sure you would too, that’s why there are so many below. Patience, please, people, this is special.
But first three songs out of many that will always remind us of this place. We were lucky to have a circle of friends to sing with, the guitarist from Sarajevo who took care of our musical upbringing, and the old blue boat on the shore where this often took place. But mostly, if it wasn’t too windy, we gathered at the end of the big pier, and sang.
1. “Malo ćemo da se kupamo” (We will go for a bit of a swim). By Crvena jabuka
Nemoj Sanja da se menjaš
da se stidiš laži
najlepši si kakva jesi
ne dozvoli da te iko kvari.
(Sanja, don’t change, don’t be ashamed of lies. You are most beautiful as you are, don’t let anybody ruin you.) By Alisa
A šta da radim
kad odu prijatelji moji
kad ode djevojka na koju
(What shall I do when my friends are gone, when the girl is gone who I crush on.) This is a cover, originally by Azra.
The summer of 1990 was the last year that we went to Duba together. The war came between as it tends to do.
I needed almost twenty years to return: we went there two summers in a row, in 2008 and 2009, the first time with my sister and your brother (why didn’t you come as well?), and the second time with Taja and her family. These photos are from both occasions.
Just don’t cry too much watching them. 🙂 (Click on the first photo and continue from there to read the captions.)
Last train station: Ploče, about 100 km before Dubrovnik. Taja can’t stop laughing.
Still Stanko after all these years? We used to see him every year at the station, wearing a t-shirt with his name, “Stanko”.
Then we took the ferry boat from Ploče to Trpanj on the peninsula for about 45 minutes.
Trpanj in the wind.
There our host used to wait for us with his fishing boat, but this time we were modernised and had our own car.
One beach before Duba. It is called Divna, which means “gorgeous”. You can see why.
And here it is, Dubaaaaa! With quite a long beach and the little port on one end.
Taja tries out Duba’s sea for the first time after almost 20 years.
The main village is about a 10-minute walk from the port. The church is the centre. Back in the days, there was only one very basic shop. And one disco. No post office, bar, restaurant, gas station or anything else. Now there is one bar on the beach.
To the sea.
Nika’s brother at the start of the village. It seems there are more towns than one called Duba in Croatia, that’s why disambiguation was necessary. This one is Duba on Pelješac.
The only proper way to greet it. 😀
There are two piers: a smaller one on the left…
…and the larger one on the right, where we used to spend our days and evenings.
Our beloved old host’s boat. It is called “Return”. We did.
Some days are clearer than others and you can see Biokovo mountains on the mainland as if you were there.
And this is the highest mountain of Pelješac just above Duba: Mt. Saint Ilija, just under 1000 metres.
First swim of the season. Down at the end of the beach was the spot of us, crazy Slovenians.
Your happy bro being his charming self.
My most usual position, just a book is missing. One year I did all Shakespeare in this spot.
Crucial differences from the old days: now it’s MUCH busier. And more wasps.
You have a photo just like this one from when we were little, don’t you? I borrowed the son from Taja.
Oh yes. This is it.
Back to the village. Your brother in the room where your parents used to sleep often.
The window from our terrace where we had our meals.
Duba in the eyes of Miha, a first-time visitor.
This is Miha. And the window.
We found an old friend. She married the younger son of our host. Coincidence much? 😉
Three blue graces. You are missing!
Borrowing your brother for a hug. St. Ilija in the background will ‘fall’ next year.
Yes, we decided to climb it, for the first time, after watching it from underneath all those years. With no guide and not much research.
The town, the beach, the big pier.
Not often was I quite as proud as that time.
To have conquered St. Ilija from the wild, pathless side. We descended to the other side towards Orebić where the path is easy and clearly marked.
The top! We needed longer than planned, I used all my strength but it was worth it. Tempted?
The next beach from Duba is called “Jezero”, the Lake. You can reach it after a 20-minute walk or so.
There is something like a lake there.
Lovely tamarisk trees for the shade.
For the next beach, tiny and private, you must climb a little.
Return to Duba.
To the pier.
We loved to jump from it, and from the high wall as well.
You will always have a special place in our hearts.
Our host’s older son looks just like him.
The gang in the new beach bar. Only Nika is missing. We often used to say how different it would have been to have a bar.
Some new kids. Could have been us back then. Have a happy Duba, kids!