On the rainiest of rainy days, the water cascades along Dubrovnik's marble streets in rivers. It rolls down its steps and through its alleys in gushes, as though the hard white city can't bear to absorb a single drop. Water pours off the terra cotta roof tiles. I roll my jeans up to my knees.

I had planned to visit an island or a ramshackle seaside town, but the weather nullifies my plans, makes them seem stupid and pointless. So I walk. I search for souvenirs.

Any European city will give you trinkets, and Dubrovnik is no exception. Shops along the Placa offer snow globes and postcards, scraps of fabric covered in traditional Croatian embroidery patterns for exorbitant prices—the equivalent of 20 Euros for something the size of a napkin. What you'll also see, whether in Dubrovnik or any other place deemed a “destination,” are the orphan souvenirs, the items that have nothing to do with tradition or place. In one dark store, a woman stands guard over racks of hemp necklaces and colored candles that seem better suited to the parking lot of a Phish concert. In another, pictures of Jesus—whose image is, I suppose, more versatile. In another, giant ceramic roses.

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About this author

  • Laura Motta

    I'm a New York City-based writer and editor who loves to travel, whether abroad or just around the corner from my apartment. I …

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