I wrote a description of Cattaro, the ride to Ragusa, and Ragusa before 6 a.m. after only about four hours sleep. After breakfast we went ashore, and visited monasteries, etc., under the direction of the head of a museum. Some of us left him early and sat in a cafe. Then rejoined the yacht at the small port and sailed to old Ragusa.
The entrance into Ragusa is formidable, a curving canyon cut deep through rock, with a warning archway at intervals, and extremely formidable battlements above. But once within the city nothing frowns on you. For years I had formed the idea that Ragusa must be among the most picturesque cities of Europe. It is. But my picture of it was completely wrong. I had thought of it as being in an advanced state of ruin, decay, and secular dirt. Despite its age - and its houses are largely fifteenth century - it is the most spick and span town I ever saw, the cleanest, the neatest, the brightest. And it is a mass of smooth granite. Its streets are paved with granite, upon which there are no irregularities to martyrise the feet. Its tram lines are more truly laid than any others I have examined in a small town. Large open-air cafes. Bands that play native music. Excellent hotels of which I sampled two. Good food. many barbers' shops. Scores and scores of beautiful women who are neither shy, coy, nor pert, but charming with dignity. Some local costumes. A large cenotaph by Mestrovic on a wall. Wild and majestic scenery all around. Ragusa is obviously a rich city, but, contrary to what too often happens with rich cities, the peasants of the countryside are not down-trodden; very much the reverse.
Ragusa had a most destructive and yet most happy effect on my preconceived notions of the Balkans.