I Miss Europe

These past few days have seen some pretty hot weather here in Perth, yesterday it was 42C (108F for you old school types). I hate it, I was born in Ireland so this is not natural to me. I have no Dingo, Australian Kelpie or Australian Cattle Dog in me to help. I hold my DNA test up as evidence of that!

So I just don’t cope well with hot weather.

To make matters worse, me Humans are renovating the house so we have NO air-conditioning! I know, I know, me wolf ancestors never had AC either and they survived. But no I’m not soft alright, they didn’t live in Australia.

Me Humans do understand and hose me down or take me to the beach to cool off which is great.

Now I hear some of you Northern Hemisphere dogs saying I have it way to good, mutter mutter as you suffer through winter! But I say NO. it’s not enough peoples! Where is the snow I ask?

Just a few short years ago at this time of year here I was catching snow balls in Germany for Christmas!

Or chasing me ball in a snowy forest!

Or building snowdogs

Or having fun catching the balls falling from the sky. Never understood why they seem to disappear though when you catch em in ya mouth…

Enjoy your summer or your winter guys.

It is hot but it is an Australian summer after all! But please spare a thought for all the brave firefighters here in Australia battling the bush fires across the country. We even have firefighters helping from as far away as Canada!

R

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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October Holidays

Ralph Border Collie

It’s October and school holidays so as usual we planned a holiday somewhere in Europe, this time a sort of last blast of Europe before we leave for Australia in January. The plan was to take me to Paris then Bordeaux, San Sebastian, Porto and Lisbon, home via Barcelona. Now yes this was a tad optimistic considering we only had ten days to do it and we would be driving… Now the Australian camp thought it would be just like driving from Perth to Port Headland but with a few more villages in between… the New Zealand contingent were equally gung-ho: “how hard can it be, it’s just a drive” Grumpy-Human stated!

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First problem: Me, it seems most hotels in France and Spain were not terribly interested in my furry self in their hotel rooms. Hey Germany was way friendlier on this so I don’t know what their problem is. Anyway hotels willing to give my good self a roof were found if not a tad more expensive and in odd locations.

Second problem: Me again. Sadly to get around Paris we would need to use the Paris Metro (Subway). Now dogs are aloud if they are carried in a bag! I could see Curly-Human sizing me up with some huge shopping bag with a hole cut out for me head. Nope not happening, I’m not going to be lugged around like groceries.

Third problem: Yep, me again, this time it was our final destination Lisbon. We were visiting our good friends who recently moved there. The problem was their Humans have dog allergies and the house is not suitable for dogs anyway. After much searching and great assistance from local friends we found a couple of Lisbon dog kennels. Now I’m not a great fan of these places and Lisbon kennels sounded like a big unknown to me!

So in the end my stand-in Humans were roped in to kindly babysit me at home so yet again I missed out! Well I had a great holiday of my own too. My stand-in Humans are now well trained and much easier to score treats from. Psst… they even let me sit on their laps… don’t tell my Humans…They do however go for a lot of really long walks though and as you guys know I’m not much into a lot of walking, kinda like my home patch. One walk a day is good enough for me, two at a pinch. Hey they even run on these “walks”, go figure!

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It turns out my family had a great time although as I thought, the itinerary was adjusted a bit just to be sensible so Porto and Barcelona were ditched. There was a huge amount of driving and boy did they look weary when they arrived home. Two ten hour drives from Lisbon to Frankfurt with an overnighter in Bordeaux, whew! Pleased I didn’t go now, I’ve never been a fan of The Car. A 5000 kilometre (3000 mile) round trip, need another holiday I think!

Here are a few snaps from my Humans holiday sans me…

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Thank god I’m not going, they don’t have room for me anyway!

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Up the Eiffel Tower in Paris

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Me sampling a cocktail or two…

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This just cracked me up when my Humans showed it to me. A stray dog spotted in Bordeaux behind a food market. He has just scored the biggest bags of treats ever! My hero mate!

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My stand-in gobbling the famous Portuguese pastel de nata (custard tarts to you and I) in Lisbon, lucky thing…

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Me defending Lisbon!

R

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