A Border Collies 14 Year Blog-A-Versary

Yep I’ve been blogging on WordPress since March 2015 that’s 14 dog-years mate! And besides that I will be 5 in human-years next month, that’s… er… 35 dog-years, just sayin. I’m feelin decidedly middle aged! Should I go out and get me Humans to purchase a flash ball?, I’m thinking something really big and flashy like …

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I know… one those balls you can actually get inside and run on water! Yeah!

 

 

 

 

Is it true, this myth that 1 human year equals 7 dog years? This seems a little unfair to us dogs. Anyway various dog breeds have different average life spans. Me I plan to live forever anyway, I have a big world to see yet…

These are the 16 countries I’ve visited in me lifetime so far:  Germany, England, Wales, Ireland, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Italy, UAE, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland and Australia. Yeah, I know, the UAE is pushin it a bit but I did overnight in Dubai on me way to Australia! Who knew eh? I’m a BC rescue and this is my life! To tell the truth though now that we have moved from Europe to me Humans home in Australia we haven’t travelled so much, it’s pretty isolated out here and I’m getting itchy feet…

Anyway back to my blog-a-versary, here are some of me fav blogs over the last 2 (Human) years and a special thank you to all of you who followed me adventures in those early days. Here are a few that were deemed popular or were me own personal favs. Enjoy!

My very first post in March 2015

The Car-0 

 

Why I have a problem with The Car, April 2015

 

 

Border Patrol

 

Border Patrol, Lorsbach, May 2015

 

 

 

A border Collie at Castle Eltz

 

 

Castles in a Heatwave, The Rhine Region, July 2015

 

 

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The Airport Dog, September 2015

 

 

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The Rugby Dog, September 2015

 

 

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How to get Human Food, October 2015

 

 

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Snow White, A Wolf and a Big Cat, November 2015

 

 

 

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Eccentric England, December 2015

 

 

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Last German Christmas Market, December 2015

 

 

 

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Leaving Germany Forever, January 2016

 

 

 

 

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First Month In Australia, February 2016

 

 

 

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My Birthday, April 2016

 

 

 

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Those Western Australian Sunsets, May 2016

 

 

 

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When I found out who I am! January 2017

 

 

 

See ya soon

R

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Last Days of an Aussie West Coast Summer

Last Sunday I could feel in me bones the ebbing of summer and the first signs of a cooler autumn hanging in the air.

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Have ball, will travel

My Humans were going for a walk down to the local yacht club where there was an open day to sign up new members. A link to the East Fremantle Yacht club and picture gallery here. Now I don’t know why me Humans seemed so keen to go along as we don’t even have a boat! I have heard the food is superb at the club restaurant and reasonably priced too although as per usual in Australia us dogs have to stay outside.

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This must be the Yacht Club but I’m more interested in the river…

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There are great views out over the Swan River and boat harbour so I guess that’s what me Humans were going for. Me I just knew there would be a pretty good chance for a last summer swim…

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Now I don’t want me socks to get dirty… Swimming is just past the boats.
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Forget ya boats this is where we need to go…

 

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This is more like it, this is wot I’m talking about.
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OK, the ball can now be thrown, just sayin…
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Heh Heh… Lunch!

Now this was fun! I pretended I was a shark heading for this bird! The Cormorant didn’t budge though, just sat there sunning his wings and glaring at me.

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Just jokin…

The Swan River has an abundance of bird life. These Great Cormorants have to sun themselves after a fishing session as their feathers aren’t waterproof – bet ya didn’t know that did ya?

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It’s a dog’s life here on the banks of the Swan River that’s for sure.
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I think that bloody Cormorant damaged me ball! 

Have a great week all!

R

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Goodbye Murray

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Murray Ball dog cartoon 1939-2017 by Guy Body

Sadly Murray Ball, Uncle Dog’s drawer and writer (creator) of his stories passed away this week.  Goodbye me old mate and may your travels in that big paddock in the sky be an awesome one.

Link to tribute on ABC

R

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Flying Dogs

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It’s a wet, stormy and miserable afternoon here in Perth, Western Australia. I’m not allowed out to even the dog park due to the weather so I have been jumping around catching a few rain drops for me entertainment. Now that I’m utterly bored with that I have a cunning idea…

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No I did not Photoshop me self in here!

A rummage through me Humans photos and I came up with a few choice pickies of me flying for ya! Who needs agility training eh? And who said Border Collies can’t fly?

Now for me, flying requires a certain motivation… Usually in the form of a ball, a balloon or bubbles. Actually pretty much anything round that is tossed into the air come to think of it!

So to start with here are a few pickies of me flying to catch balls at the park

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Mark! They need me in the local Rugby team.

 

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The Spider

 

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Super Dog

 

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Ballet

 

 

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Look at the view from up here!

 

 

 

And bubbles provide a good excuse to launch ya self of course!

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The one legged shuffle

 

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These bubbles are big, I think I dislocated me jaw.
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OK… That’s a bird feeder not a bubble then…
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Pop!

 

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Dance! A little to the right… A little to the left…

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look at me! Strait up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More

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Tease!

 

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Not enough of these things in the world

 

Enjoy ya Sunday guys I know I did chuckling at me antics…

 

R

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The Artistic Collie

No I’m not going to be talking about Australian Aboriginal art although this Aboriginal flag at Bathers Beach surely is art too. No in a broader sense I’m going to show you guys local Western Australian sculptures from local artists which of course can include Aboriginal artists.

These sculptors are exhibiting in Fremantle, Perth’s port city at a beach known as Bathers Beach more on this unique place can be found here. WA artists come together once every couple of years for some fantastic works with the brilliant blue backdrop of the Indian Ocean. More about this exhibition can be found at the Sculptures at Bathers web site if you are visiting Perth over the next week or so.

 

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This monster nearly made me wee me self (and I’ve been told by me Humans in no uncertain terms… no weeing on the sculptures or we will all be kicked out… who me?). Anyway this is a sculpture by WA Artist Susan Flavell. It’s called the Shimmer and was inspired by the Greek mythical beast the chimera. Pretty cool once I knew it couldn’t harm me!

 

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Tell me that’s not Darth Vader behind me… Gulp?

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Where the grass is greener – Bellinda Panizza. Bit of a weird elephant, the tusks are on the wrong side! Sculptured in grass to symbolize elephants breaking free from our interference. Well not me… er… you Humans I’m guessing.

 

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Generator – Tom de Munk-Kerkmeer. It says “A wind driven visual poem, empowering contemporary society to move onwards.” Wot? Not one of me favs, a bit beyond us dogs this one so I’m contemplating a dip on the ocean me thinks…

 

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Dispersal Machine – Tania Spencer. It’s something about the dispersal of thoughts and ideas. Me I thought I’d photo-bomb it when me Humans were trying to get a decent picture… heh heh…

 

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Divide – Ant Muia. This is what the blurb in me Humans guide said: “Divide is a project that examines the human condition bound by limits and possibilities. It acts as a device that may unite or separate the viewer from art”. Well I can tell you this Border Collie is on the separate-art side, come on Mate it’s a pile of bloody rubble! Some guys got lost delivering gardening supplies and dumped the lot at the beach. [Editor’s note, purely Ralph’s opinion you must understand]

 

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Is it time for me swim yet?
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I’m not sayin nothin…
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Still waiting for me swim guys…

 

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Starfish – Jason Maxlow. Liked this one, looks like a stumbling human running in the sand!

 

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The Fremantle Doctor – Russell Sheridan. This has to be me absolute favourite!

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Now I should probably explain what the Fremantle Doctor is. You see Perth is quite a hot place in the summer time with temperatures regularly exceeding 40C (104F) but if you live near Fremantle which is the ocean port for Perth then regular as clockwork at around 3-4 pm the sea breeze comes in off the Indian Ocean to cool everything down, just what the doctor ordered, the Fremantle Doctor as this health giving breeze is known!

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The sculpture has a dog and his Human pointing the way to the Fremantle Doctor!

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Spot the Border Collie!

 

So guys there’s one Border Collies art class for ya. Until next time, I’m off for me swim…

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R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 7: Oysters and The Great Wall of Croatia

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And yes, these are Mali Ston oysters.

As many of you who have followed me blog for a while will know I am rather fond of our planets oceans and rivers, I love to swim! And… just sayin… I ‘m rather partial to the odd morsel of sea food too. My absolute fav is tuna but coming a close second would be salmon then ya shelf fishes such as oysters and mussels.

So it was with great enthusiasm that I hopped in the car for the short trip north of Dubrovnik to the Croatian coastal town of Mali Ston, home of the best oysters in the world (so the locals say). It means Little Ston in Croatian and sure enough it has a big brother town up the road just called Ston. You Humans are so creative in your naming heh heh.

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Now Mali Ston did to me seem to need a little tender loving care as you can see by this pile of rubble…

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Having said that, Mali Ston and afore mentioned Ston are connected by a magnificent wall running for many kilometres and known locally as Ta Da… “The Great Wall of Croatia”! Bet ya didn’t know Croatia had its very own Great Wall did ya? Pretty impressive eh? I’d really like to see the Chinese one mind you, I’ve only seen pictures from me Humans travels there before I was born.

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Built in the fourteenth century as a defensive wall for some old salt farms apparently, lot of effort for some salt, go figure… I guess the stuff was worth more back then. More info from good old Wikipedia here.

Now back to the main subject of Mali Ston, oysters. And I can see the oysters being farmed just out there. Definitely swimable.

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Come on ya wimpy Humans we can make it to the oyster beds, no worries!

 

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Hold on Princess-Human  we’ll be there in a jiffy, I promise…

 

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Well, we’re back on dry land after aborting the trip to the oyster beds. My Humans stopped me, something about a crazy lunatic Croat yelling at us about disturbing the oyster beds.

Ok so swimming for ya oysters wasn’t really a goa then so plan B, persuade me Humans to have lunch in that Taverna Restaurant we passed on the way here.

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Forget the poses and photo ops, its oysters we are after mate, beautiful as this Mali Ston harbour is!

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More action little less talk me Humans, oysters I say!

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Well at least they bought me two Oysters but you should have seen the ones me Humans scoffed! They were pretty bloody marvellous though I will say.

Now one last thing. Many people have said: are Mali Ston oysters really as good as they say? Some even say the best in the world. In my humble but well-travelled Border Collie opinion: You bet ya white BC socks they are! And if you don’t believe me read this BBC travel link on that very topic.

Now I think you have all heard enough of this European Summer holiday so I won’t go into the details of the long trip home to Frankfurt, Germany. I will say that we drove back through Italy! Finally I got to see a little of Italy. We even visited Venice. If there is enough interest I may blog about me trip on a Gondola in Venice one day…

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Hey Guys, this looks kinda dangerous…

For now this is Ralph signing off. Time for rounding up a few humans for some ball catching at the park me thinks.

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 6: Mostar Day Trip

The previous instalment on Dubrovnik’s Old Town is here.

Well, Mostar, what can I say… It’s beautiful, its vibrant, its where east meets west, where the European Union meets the old Ottoman Empire, where Christianity meets Islam, where a river divides and a bridge reunites.. Where one Border Collie met a mate… I could go on but the sense of deep history does pervade this place and even a dog can feel it.

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Me and me Humans set out for our days adventure from Dubrovnik quite early (for us) at around 9am thinking 2 or 3 hour trip to Mostar, no worries… Well the roads and Bosnian drivers (who are even worse than Croatian drivers and that’s saying something) conspired against us so what was supposed to be a lunch time arrival turned out to be an afternoon arrival. Oh well it was a fascinating trip through Bosnia-Herzegovina that’s for sure.

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Bosnia-Herzegovina is not a European Union member although it is a potential candidate within the next few years and EU investment here is huge.

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It needs it as the country is extremely poor by European standards.

Evidence of the Balkan wars and the breakup of Yugoslavia are everywhere.

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Ethnic divides show in defaced road signs where the Serbian Cyrillic writing system is crossed out in favour of the Latin script. The tensions with neighbouring Serbia are still very strong.

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Mostar Central Markets

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Mostar city centre is quite small and compact around the famous bridge with loads of really interesting markets and food stalls on both sides of the river, nothing tacky here.

 

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There were hardly any other dogs that I saw in Mostar but I did meet this guy and we became great mates for the day!

 

 

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OK, I’m on the Mostar Bridge, are we done?
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Get a move on, this thing looks like it will crumble any minute. It came down once before ya know…

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But is it safe?

Actually the bridge known as the Stari Most (meaning Old Bridge and origins of the cities name, Mostar) was rebuilt in 2004 based on the foundations of the original old bridge which was destroyed in 1993 by the Bosnian Croats during the Balkans conflict. There is a brief  YouTube video from the BBC of the bridge coming down here.

 

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Loads of tourists but where are the famous Bosnian boy divers diving into the river for money?

 

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“Don’t Forget”.

A poignant reminder of what happened here in 1993 and the continued conflicts in the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina that lead to ethnic cleansing and finally culminated in the Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 mainly Muslim Bosniak men and boys in July 1995…

 

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Its interesting to see which countries pitched in to pay for the rebuilding of the Mostar Bridge…

 

 

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As is usual for us late in the afternoon, we crave some sustenance and this brilliant little restaurant, Babilon, perched on the bank of the Neretva River fit the bill perfectly as it allowed dogs in too, well at least on the outdoor tables.

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Now I just need to order off that spare menu, hand it over…

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Ba! Once again I get the scraps under the table… Excellent view at least.

 

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And that’s it folks, I wont bore you with the long haul home to Dubrovnik in the dark suffice to say we made it in one piece!

In my next instalment I think it’s time to move on from politics and conflicts and on a more positive note focus on me BC belly! I try mussels and oysters and visit the Great Wall of Croatia!

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 5: Dubrovnik Old Town

The previous instalment with me in the water can be found here.

Dubrovnik’s Old Town is fantastically beautiful, picture postcard stuff. I admit a tad full of tourists especially before 4:30 pm when the Cruise Ships disgorge so many Humans that I get a dog panic attack yearning for the farm and those calming sheep eh…

Now here I will share a few photos from me Humans collection but I have to warn you there is a sting in the tail of this paradise and it’s called 1991. More later.

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Dubrovnik is a walled fortress city founded in the 7th century AD which blows me little BC white socks off for age. It’s been around a while then and at one time a City-State competitor to Venice and the Venetian empire. The city wall is still pretty much intact and my Humans came back from a walking tour of it full of excitement and awe.

 

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Now the one thing I disliked about Dubrovnik was its Putty-Tat population. I mean there were thousands of these wild felines everywhere begging for food. And they weren’t afraid of me either, one Kitten nearly took me eye out rather than back down as I approached. The local restaurant waiters have water pistols to try and dissuade them from pestering their customers. I heard a local explaining to me Humans that sadly (yep even I thought this was sad) the population diminishes to only a few hundred in winter when food and tourists dry up. I’m guessing only the hardy survive.

 

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Main Drag

The main drag and no the pavement is not wet it’s just very very slippery as my skidding and loss of paw traction can attest.

 

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Small Boats Harbour

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A view from the city walls with Lokrum Island in the background. The island is a short boat trip away and well worth a day’s beaching and trail walking.

 

Now you just haven’t seen Dubrovnik unless you take the cable car up to the top of the hill overlooking the city to Fort Imperial. The views are very special indeed and it’s easy to see why this city is a UNESCO World Heritage site (since 1979).

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Utterly breath taking eh? And I bet Italy is not far away out there somewhere, just sayin…

 

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Now this is a photo me Humans took from the top, what a jaw dropping view? But take a look at this next photo…

 

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This is the same view taken in 1991 after the fighting and siege of Dubrovnik during the Croatian war of independence from Yugoslavia. Even the cable car and its supports have been destroyed. You Humans are a violent bunch!

 

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I overheard me Humans talking to an older Croatian Human explaining to them what it was like being in Dubrovnik in 1991. He said the citizens of Dubrovnik just never believed that anyone would attack their city. They all thought as they lived in a UNESCO World heritage site that the international community would intervene, they were wrong. The Dubrovniks’ were unarmed and the Yugoslavian Army who were trying to keep Croatia from breaking away bombarded the city from the safety of their ships off shore. The Human said that at least the walls built to defend against cannon balls, bows and arrows still held and did their job… mostly. He said to this day the city feels a little bitter no one came to their aid. It was seven months of bombardment they had to endure before the Croatian Army finally broke the siege.  Years later the Yugoslavian General who led the attack was jailed for seven years by an international court on War Crimes.

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All the pictures of Dubrovnik that I have shown here from 1991 were from the Croatian Memorial Museum which is also housed in Fort Imperial on top of the hill. Well worth a visit if you are visiting Dubrovnik to get a Dubrovnik citizens perspective on what happened.

 

So let’s end on a more tranquil note shall we? A beautiful city deserving of its World Heritage status in this humble Border Collies (and me Humans too) opinion.

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An Adriatic Sunset
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A Peaceful Boat Harbour

 

In my next instalment we visit Bosnia and in particular Mostar, once again a little uncomfortable as the influence of the breakup of Yugoslavia rears its ugly head once again.

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 4: Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik

The previous instalment: Storms and Bubbles in Dubrovnik can be found here

Now that the sunny weather has returned. Here is my account of one Border Collies attempt to swim to Italy… Or at least have fun trying!

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Lapad Bay

So this is a picture of Lapad Bay, Dubrovnik. Out in the distance beyond those rocks is Italy and the sea is the Northern Mediterranean also known as the Adriatic Sea. Here is a Google Map to put it in perspective for you.

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Me, contemplating how far Italy is

Anyway first off for a dip in the Adriatic with me Humans

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Now this is what I’m talking about! Crystal clear waters, just me and me Humans, life is good.

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Now might be time for me break for Italy, can’t be far from here…

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Yep, Princess Human is distracted, I’ll make me break for it!

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Bugger. Caught!

Now I’m banished to the boat while Princess and Curly have all the fun…

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Actually this is not so bad, hey I’m captain of the boat!

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Now after all that nautical stuff and having failed on me attempt to swim to Italy its time for refreshments eh?

 

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Well that’s obviously left out for me then…
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And the beers mine Grumpy, keep ya mits off!

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And a lovely sunset over Lapad Bay to finish things off.

In my next instalment we go exploring Dubrovnik Old Town

R

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A Border Collie’s European Summer Adventure, Part 3: Storms and Bubbles in Dubrovnik

The previous instalment in our grand adventure can be found here.

On account of a rather large storm hitting Dubrovnik our first adventure was one more up my alley than my poor Humans.

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Catching rain drops, now I can’t emphasize enough just how much fun this is, and best of all ya get to photo-bomb ya Humans trying to take nice scenic photos of Dubrovnik… Anyway me Humans were just lazing around in the villa’s nice spa, boring…

I tried to hop in to the spa a few times but my Human were to vigilant to that. I don’t know what their problem was, they know I love swimming…

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Me  photo bombing Curly-Human testing her new snorkel – Well she can’t go to the beach in the storm!
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Last few rain drops, need an alternative…

And now that the sun has finally come out, stealing me rain drop fun.

Me Humans have kindly blown a few bubbles for me, even better than rain drop catching I reckon.

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Hey, more bubbles in here guys!

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In my next instalment we at last get out and explore Lapad Bay and I get to swim in the Adriatic!

R

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