The Boat Trip Around the Islands
On the last day of the conference, we headed out on a 4 hour cruise around a few of the islands around Dubrovnik. Croatia has over 1100 islands out of which only 76 are inhabited.
We docked up at one of the remote islands and spent about an hour playing sea volleyball.
Here are photos from the trip.
The one thing that really caught my attention was that fantastic blue color of the sea. I have never seen the sea in such a rich shade of blue.
The view of the old town from the ocean. This is the same wall that protected the city from the Venetian attack about 500 years ago and partly defended the Serbian attack 16 years ago.
We saw a great replica of one of the traditional boats used centuries ago. These replica boats are very popular with the tourists and are quite expensive to hire.
Video of Bombing of Dubrovnik city by Serbians
I did a walking tour of the old town at Dubrovnik and its fabulous. People say that the old city retains the grandeur of yesteryear. It’s remarkable that this very same city was bombed pretty badly by the Serbians in 1991. The Serbians sieged the city for more than a month and the residents lived inside without running water and power. The entire city is within massive walls which are 10 feet thick.
I’m writing this from a building that got hit by the missiles. Take a look at this video to see the atrocious bombings of the Dubrovnik old city.
Here is how the city looks now.
The Croatians did a fabulous work in restoring it back. Its so good that if not for the video or the pictures of the bombing, its difficult to believe that it ever got attacked.
The Global Alcohol Remix
At the iCommons Summit, there are 300 participants coming in from over 50 countries. There was this cool initiative from the organizing folks who asked each participant to bring along a couple of bottles of local alcohol from their country. This was used on the ‘Welcome Drinks Get-together’ organized on day zero. Awesome idea. So, there was a rich mix of alcohol. It’s a shame that I didn’t catch a snap of the bottles. But here’s a photo of the get-together on the top of Revelin, a castle like building dating back to many centuries. (That’s me in the yellow tshirt talking with Yevgeny Morosov from Brussels Belarus.)
Photo: Hans Polsdoja
Skinny Dipping in the Sea at 2:00 AM
This one would rank in one of the crazier things that I’ve done. We return back to our hotel after finishing a music concert and a really late dinner at Dubrovnic. Me and a few friends, are pretty inebriated from the good Croatian beer. One of the guy said he is going to take a dip and the alcohol in us also made us join in.
So, off we go to the sea. At 2:00 am,the weather is cold and I’m sure the water is even colder. I was mentally prepared to brave the cold.
But I wasn’t prepared to what happened next. The three guys with me stripped down completely and dove in. And here I’m in my undies, suddenly feeling overdressed. The guys were from Europe and it seemed like a normal thing to do for them.
I thought for an awkward second and stripped down too and got into the water. Never in my life have I swam naked along with a bunch of guys. I’ll remember this for a long time.
And oh, there’s something brilliant about the sea. When you put your hand into the water and shake it hard, you’ll notice sparks of light in the water. It’s pitch dark and these sparks of light stand out brilliantly. Apparently, the algae in the water, when disturbed, let out chemicals which glow. Interesting. Also, the sea is very calm. There’s practically no waves at all. Just tiny ones like the ones we have in lakes in India.
The Experience of Sitting in a 650 Year Old Building
(photo: Joy Garnett)
One of the venues for the summit is Lazaretti, a 650 year old quarantine that was used to house sailors. In the olden days, Dubrovnik was devastated by plague to which thousands perished. The cause of the plague is suspected to be brought on by sick sailors. So, the local council built small buildings at the port and the sailors were forced to spend time in these buildings. It’s only after 40 days are they allowed to enter into the city.
The walls are built using big stones and as I write this, I’m leaning against one of them. It’s amazing to think of all the history that has gone by in the very hall that I’m sitting in.
It’s also fascinating to see that this really old building has WiFi, air-conditioning and fancy sound system.