When you mention the slalom, your first association is probably a tourist resort in the Alps, possibly in the Dolomites. But a slalom in Dubrovnik? Hardly likely, unless you are surfing on the waves or bypassing the rows of restaurant tables inside the historic city centre. The flood of tables and chairs in front of restaurants, cafes, pizzerias and pastry shops has turned into a tsunami. According to statistics within the city walls there are, at least, a thousand tables and four times as many chairs. Barricades interfere, and sometimes almost block the flow of traffic in the already too narrow streets. This summer tables have sprung up like mushrooms from every corner, covering every street and square. At night, as the sun goes down, the same scene appears. Mountains of people eat and drink, the clink of cutlery and glasses, waiters who collide with passersby. The clear passages through the forest of tables are becoming more and more infrequent. The local population cannot often enter their own homes due to the “table forest.” Foreigners out for a stroll are pirouettes around the tables to get to the finish line. Happiness comes when the thousands of passengers from cruise ships sail away at night in Dubrovnik, otherwise the scrimmage throughout the evening would be unbearable.
The invasion of tables, which began five or six years ago, has reached its peak this summer. And it seems that it has finally been noticed by the city authorities who have agreed with restaurant owners an embargo on the increase on the number of "outdoor spaces" in the next three years. But no one is proposing the reduction of the current number of tables. The status quo is a compromise between the city and the restaurant owners, but it seems that the pedestrians have been forgotten. For the time being they will continue to slalom between the tables and street advertising. And only a few years outdoor tables were a rarity. Restaurants were for mostly eating inside, here and there on the terrace, and on the pavement was not exactly popular. Somehow, it was thought that space for walking should not be turned into open-air cafeteria. But somewhere along the way the rules changed. Now the tables have occupied the last remaining squares public areas. Now you can barely even see the pavement. Of course, only in summer, in the winter you have all the space you need because everything is closed. After all a ghost town has no need for “al fresco” dining.