Weights and measurements in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is pretty….pretty touristy.  And there’s a legit reason for that:


Hordes of people come to Dubrovnik because it looks like this.


Visiting in late November, we avoided the belched-out-by-cruise-ships crowds while relishing the sunny, windy weather that perfectly showcased Dubrovnik’s sparking water and austere architecture.  Still, there’s a sort of dead feeling to the old town, as if all the residents fled years ago, taking all their vitality and drying laundry up the surrounding steep hills, leaving behind over-priced bakeries and t-shirt shops.

That said, Dubrovnik is not without its intriguing details.  I was particularly taken with the prominent public display of Dubrovnik’s former official unit of measurement, the Dubrovnik “Arm”.


Dudes like this—-wearing a sword, chain mail and a Bee Gees haircut—-are something you see a lot of in medieval towns of central Europe, especially Germany.  They’re called Roland Statues and, normally erected by city hall, they mean “Check it out, we are a free city and we can do business.”

This column-carving of a knight, located at the East end of the main drag in Dubrovnik since 1418, is one of those Roland statues, though this particular guy is called Orlando (which I guess is how you say Roland in Croatian).


Check it out: the lower part of Orlando’s arm is the same length the line carved on the step below him—-and there you have it, Dubrovnik’s standard unit of measurement, Orlando’s forearm.


Just across from Orlando’s column, we visited the 16th century Sponza palace.  It’s a pleasing mash-up of Gothic and Renaissance styles, but the best part is inside the courtyard.


Let’s get a close up on that lower archway, shall we?


On the edge of the archway is Latin quote.  (Thank you Wikipedia for the translation):

Fallere nostra vetant et falli pondera. Meque pondero cum merces ponderat ipse deus.
“Our weights do not permit cheating. When I measure goods, God measures with me.”

What I love about this is how a secular activity (the weighing and measuring of retail goods) is given the most severe religious importance, overseen by the ultimate regulatory authority, God.  (I want to see a rendering of God wearing a hard-hat and wielding a measuring tape and a clip board, don’t you?)



Later that evening, HOB and I really could have used the assistance of Orlando and/or God in choosing the proper settings of our apartment’s washing machine.  Having found ourselves on one of those semi-miraculous situations where our rented room contained a washing machine, we stuffed our dirty clothes inside (using dish soap since we didn’t have any laundry detergent).  As the machine’s setting were in Croatian, we turned its dial and pushed a few buttons at random.  Well, this random selection resulted in an unbelievable two hour long wash cycle, quite a pain in the ass since we were exhausted and had to delay going to bed until the machine finally stopped tumbling.

Photos (above) are provided for your reference, in case you too do not understand Croatian and find yourself without the aid of Orlando/God in programming the proper length of a washing machine cycle in Dubrovnik.


How we got to Dubrovnik: bus from Split.

Where we slept: Apartments Superb View.  Price: €36.90 for a double. Recommended: yes.


  1. This was wonderfully entertaining! 🙂 Using any kind of machine that isn’t apparently easy to operate abroad is always an experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kaitin–on the plus side, by the time we finally got to go to sleep, our clothes were really, really clean.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would choose your travel book for any trip I took. Hilarious and informative. I visited Dubrovnik many times but never knew all that fun and funny stuff.
    And I think that long wash cycles is kind of a European thing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the compliment, triciatierney. We’re you there after the siege before reconstruction began? It is so insane to think of such a gorgeous and historic town being bombed!

      Agreed that long wash cycles is a European thing, also motion controlled lights on a short cycle. Once we rented an apartment in Romania and the washing machine was out in the hall for several rooms to share. We had to study the inscrutable machine for long time to get it to work, but the light timer was so short that one of us had to stand in the hall waving our arms while the other one fiddled with a machine. Add that visual to the fact that all our clothes were inside the machine, so we essentially were naked under our winter jackets waving our arms in a Romanian hallway. Not a lot of dignity there….


  3. Right..I got ‘eco’…..and I bet Pamuk is cotton but that’s my limit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re way ahead of me, Helen–I got lost after ‘sport”.


  4. Dubrovnik looks beautiful – the architecture as well as the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s the most photogenic place, though after walking around on the city walls I understand all those internet stories about “selfie deaths”—people all over the place were just popping up onto unprotected walls fortresses, in the strong wind, water crashing a hundred foot drop below them while they made peace signs in front of selfie sticks…….


  5. So beautiful! When travelling to many sought after European destinations, I find it beneficial to travel in the off-season – it’s cheaper and you’re not crammed in with all the tourists. You get a real feel for the culture and the city/country. Also, Happy New Year to you! I have really enjoyed following your blog and also wanted to thank you for being a follower on Scribbles and Scripts. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year to you too, hhirtle. Looking forward to many fine Scribbles and Scripts postings in 2016! 🙂


  6. Thanks for going to Dubrovnik for me so that I could just hang out in Split instead.

    Happy New Year, and maybe next time try Pamuk at 40 C?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy New Year to you as well Nathan, and thanks for the washing machine pro tip.

      We also visited Split and loved it. Have you taken to smoking and wearing sweatsuits with fanny packs like the rest of the young men of Croatia?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem, WOB.

        I’m sure you liked Split–how can anyone not love it, with all those Venetian palazzos sprouting out of Diocletian’s Roman palace?

        And please–I’m much too haute couture for sweatsuits and fanny packs. I prefer flip-flops and shorts like the rest of my San Diego brethren.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Was in Croatia in March of 2012 and it was incredible… Beautiful weather but minimal tourists. Wonderful food, great wine and very, very affordable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d add great olive oil to that list (I’m an olive oil junkie!)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. European washing machines are always so puzzling. We stayed at a house in Iceland where the host had thoughtfully provided instructions “This is similar to all washing machines – add clothes and turn on.” Ah, yes, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean, thank goodness for those instructions—otherwise you might have thrown your husband in there.


      1. It’s always something I consider, until I look at the size of my husband versus the size of the machine 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This historical town in Croatia has a medieval era look to it with a touch of Gothic and Renaissance art which is so amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The towns with the mixed architectural heritage are my favorites!


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