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Making my way through a large group of Japanese tourists who occupied one of the narrow streets of the Old Town this morning, it dawned on me how times are truly ever changing. Still, growing up in Dubrovnik usually entails certain things, regardless of what year you were born. Growing up here, you are very likely to have learned to swim at an early age, knew a few phrases of English even as a child, and learned to appreciate the importance of local history. I don’t know if the next one is still true, but when I was growing up in Dubrovnik, we were definitely eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise without even knowing.

My generation had an abundance of healthy and safe, locally produced food at its grasp. Meat, fish, produce, honey, cheese, olive oil... it was all around us, most of it cheap, much of it totally free. Many of the families living in the surrounding countryside produced food of their own and sold it or even gave it away to relatives and friends. My grandparents lived on a nearby small island. I remember fishermen bringing in their catch of the day in the evening and if it was a good catch, they would give bags of still squirming fish to us local kids to take home. My grandparents had an entire field of different vegetable and fruit and would make us carry home bags upon bags of fresh peas, spinach, zucchini, oranges, strawberries, apricots, pears, figs, olives, pomegranates... all depending on the season. Needless to say, as a child, I absolutely hated most of it. We all did. All we wanted was candy and chocolate. Our mothers were having none of it and they managed to keep our diets quite healthy.

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I owe a lot to the food of my youth. It made me appreciate the importance of eating what is grown locally and what is in season. I learned what it means to have a balanced diet. Food of my youth, although sometimes frowned upon as it appeared, green and soggy on my plate, made me healthy. I am 32 now and have yet to spend a single day in a hospital.

I hope some things never change.

*originally published in 2014 in Dubrovnik Times

„Dubrovnik is my home. I know it well, as you'd know a dear friend or a loved one. As any other place in the World, Dubrovnik is much more than a collection of places to stay in and places to eat at. It is a living, breathing community with many faces to it. Its history is fascinating, its legends are numerous and if you are willing to scratch beneath the surface, you will find it is a wonderful place to visit and fall in love with.“


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