anthony-peregrine

Dubrovnik: Who says tourist hordes are no fun?

Then, on to the ramparts, which is what you do in Dubrovnik. They afford fab views and ticklish moments for those with a haddock s head for heights. You d have been no use to the Ottomans, she said. That has long been my policy, I said.

We descended for beer and Dalmatian cured-and-smoked ham, prsut (pronounced chumley ). We consumed an awful lot, but not enough to qualify for free shots of slivovitz, like the plastered old dears from Yorkshire on the next table. We should have gone on a Game of Thrones walking tour much of the series was filmed in and around Dubrovnik but who the hell knows what that is? We boated instead to the Elaphite Islands. Kiosks all over town sell the three-island trip. When people are so desperate that you visit somewhere, it is ill mannered to refuse, especially if they chuck in an on-board lunch, and limitless wine.

By 4pm, I was saying Hrvatska seamlessly.

Dubrovnik: Who Says Tourist Hordes Are No Fun?

Of an evening, there was the visitor strip up from the beach in Lapad, three miles out of the centre. Bars. Restaurants. Terraces. Warm, bright nights. Touristy, and thus perfect. We wanted happy, laughing people, music and waiters who understood: Ballantynes.

Tourism is great. So are tourists. Who wants a dour, upcountry bar where locals loathe you, in Serbo-Croat? Things are popular because people like them. Dubrovnik and we are no exceptions. A relief, all the same, that the driver back to the airport had no story, spoke no English. I couldn t afford a car for him as well.

More from Anthony Peregrine

Are you too much of a snob to ride the little tourist train?
Luton Airport cuisine: not quite as bad as French
Ignore the wine snobs – ros is the greatest
The Franco-American love-fest
Napoleon or Wellington – who was better?
Why I m embarrassed to be a non-smoker
The f tes of our nations: bullfighting or tombola?
The perils of holidaying with friends
Why I love motorways
The joy of dining alone – and why my satnav is the perfect woman
Why France is better than Britain1234567891011

Telegraphtravel12

How we moderate13

References

  1. ^ Are you too much of a snob to ride the little tourist train? (www.discountholidays.info)
  2. ^ Luton Airport cuisine: not quite as bad as French (www.discountholidays.info)
  3. ^ Ignore the wine snobs – ros is the greatest (www.discountholidays.info)
  4. ^ The Franco-American love-fest (www.discountholidays.info)
  5. ^ Napoleon or Wellington – who was better? (www.discountholidays.info)
  6. ^ Why I m embarrassed to be a non-smoker (www.discountholidays.info)
  7. ^ The f tes of our nations: bullfighting or tombola? (www.discountholidays.info)
  8. ^ The perils of holidaying with friends (www.discountholidays.info)
  9. ^ Why I love motorways (www.discountholidays.info)
  10. ^ The joy of dining alone – and why my satnav is the perfect woman (www.discountholidays.info)
  11. ^ Why France is better than Britain (www.discountholidays.info)
  12. ^ Telegraphtravel (www.facebook.com)
  13. ^ How we moderate (my.discountholidays.info)

Are you too much of a snob to ride the little tourist train?

Why don t we hop on this? I asked. No, he said, as if I d offered him a Mickey Mouse balloon or a subscription to Reader s Digest. Dignified people generally react thus before little tourist trains2. They fear the humiliation of being caught on an item direct from a children s fantasy.

This is not very bright. For a start, no one s going to judge you for being on a happy little train. You see a brain surgeon on a tourist train, you don t think he s any less of a surgeon. You just think he s a brain surgeon on a tourist train, and therefore probably quite a jolly sort of brain surgeon. Brain surgeons could certainly use that kind of corrective to their image.

Are You Too Much Of A Snob To Ride The Little Tourist Train?

Secondly, the trains are a fine way of getting an overview of anywhere, without conking out. I ve been on lots Nice3, Cannes4, Monaco5, Bordeaux6 and, most recently, at the vast salt pans site near Aigues-Mortes. This covers some 26,000 acres. You do that on foot, you do it without me. The trains don t miss much. As we slogged up the street towards Montpellier s Arc-de-Triomphe a near-death experience the little train tootled gaily past. We could have been on that, I gasped to my friend. We could have been on the Titanic7, he snapped, with unnecessary drama.

Thirdly, and crucially, these splendid vehicles subvert the French tendency to take their history too seriously. The French are always going on about architectural minutiae, cultural movements and such like, which is OK, but needs leavening. Put it this way: in Avignon, you cannot get overwhelmed by the gravity of the Papal Palace if you re arriving in a train which might have been driven by Noddy. Children are waving. Things are humanised. The past was human, so all that is as it should be.

Are You Too Much Of A Snob To Ride The Little Tourist Train?

There are dangers. A while ago, in Orange, the town s little train had been commandeered by our British coach group. Coach driver John and I were on the last row of the last carriage. This faced backwards. The train driver was showing off, the Evel Knievel of tourist outings. As he swung fast around a tight corner, the last carriage went into orbit. John went flying. You know this city is run by the extreme Right? I shouted.

Tell me something I couldn t have guessed, he cried, airborne. Then he landed back. I d never realised these things were so exciting, he said.

I rest my case.

More from Anthony Peregrine

Luton Airport cuisine: not quite as bad as French
Ignore the wine snobs – ros is the greatest
The Franco-American love-fest
Napoleon or Wellington – who was better?
Why I m embarrassed to be a non-smoker
The f tes of our nations: bullfighting or tombola?
The perils of holidaying with friends
Why I love motorways
The joy of dining alone – and why my satnav is the perfect woman
Why France is better than Britain891011121314151617

Telegraphtravel18

Follow @telegraphtravel19 How we moderate20

References

  1. ^ Montpellier (www.discountholidays.info)
  2. ^ trains (www.discountholidays.info)
  3. ^ Nice (www.discountholidays.info)
  4. ^ Cannes (www.discountholidays.info)
  5. ^ Monaco (www.discountholidays.info)
  6. ^ Bordeaux (www.discountholidays.info)
  7. ^ Titanic (www.discountholidays.info)
  8. ^ Luton Airport cuisine: not quite as bad as French (www.discountholidays.info)
  9. ^ Ignore the wine snobs – ros is the greatest (www.discountholidays.info)
  10. ^ The Franco-American love-fest (www.discountholidays.info)
  11. ^ Napoleon or Wellington – who was better? (www.discountholidays.info)
  12. ^ Why I m embarrassed to be a non-smoker (www.discountholidays.info)
  13. ^ The f tes of our nations: bullfighting or tombola? (www.discountholidays.info)
  14. ^ The perils of holidaying with friends (www.discountholidays.info)
  15. ^ Why I love motorways (www.discountholidays.info)
  16. ^ The joy of dining alone – and why my satnav is the perfect woman (www.discountholidays.info)
  17. ^ Why France is better than Britain (www.discountholidays.info)
  18. ^ Telegraphtravel (www.facebook.com)
  19. ^ Follow @telegraphtravel (twitter.com)
  20. ^ How we moderate (my.discountholidays.info)

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