Through my office window I can see Dubrovnik's harbour and I absolutely love the view. There's something about ships that makes me feel I could watch them all day. Ships have a soul of their own. They grow on you. They can be exciting or scary, some of them are very fun, some of them are homes to people, and some can mean the difference between life and death.
Every day I get to see one of the most important ships in Dubrovnik from my window. It's the one connecting Dubrovnik's Elaphite islands to the mainland. I have spent plenty of time on this line, going back and forth, almost always for fun and pleasure. She's an old, rusty thing. Her crew takes good care of her, but years have a way of showing no matter what you do to hide them. This white ship has represented the primary connection to the mainland for many islanders over the years. She has been thrown around by the raging sea countless times and survived it all. She brings food, she takes children to school, she enables hundreds to visit their loved ones, and thousands to enjoy some of the most beautiful Croatian islands.
At the other end of the port, in the fenced off portion usually reserved for large cruise ships, there stands an impressive, space-ship-shaped vessel. This one, featured on covers of magazines and glorious to behold, is someone's private mega yacht. Nothing unusual to see in Dubrovnik, but this one got me thinking. I've seen our white ship sail by it the other day, completely dwarfed by the luxurious vessel. It was very strange to see them together. One small and old, slowly, but surely rusting away as it constantly goes around repeating the identical route daily. At the same time, she truly is one of those ships that means the world to so many. The other one, pride and joy of modern naval design and engineering, is quietly moored in all its glory, waiting for its owner to arrive. Nothing more than an oversized toy.
Ships truly do have souls and these two have completely different ones. The weaker and uglier of the two has probably brought more joy to more people on any given day this week, than the other one has done during its entire service. Looking at them makes me wonder about how far material possessions can really take us in pursuit of happiness. How happy is the owner of the mega yacht now that it's his? Is he as happy as I will be next time I'm sailing our white ship towards my favourite island? I guess I'm not the right person to answer those questions, I've never owned a mega yacht. Still, I know one very cruel fact about yachts: someone else always has a bigger or more expensive one, and if no one does, someone will tomorrow.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page. www.insiderholidays.eu www.facebook.com/insiderholidays