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A night at Dubrovnik

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I was flying to the Dubrovnik Airport when I first saw it. On the very edge of a steep mountain, almost as though it could fall off at any moment. Its roof was caved in, twisted metal lying around it like a skeleton. A car, half blown apart by the mine or shell aimed for a now gone enemy, sat beside it. When we landed, I asked my uncle what it was. He thought for a moment.

“It's a Napoleon fortress. Very old. And bombed by the Bosnians. There's an old trail that goes up there.”

I asked my dad if we could go up to the fortress. It was our third day in Dubrovnik. The mountain had been shrouded in mist the entire time. My dad found a map of the city and we started out to the base of the mountain. When we started on the trail, it started to get darker as the sun set. At the base the trail was well kept. The farther up we got, the worse it got. The trail became muddy and unused, weeds grew across the trail, and a broken typewriter.

As we reached the top, after a long walk, the trail looked like a line in grass, no one had walked on it or years. We were in the center of a cloud so it was hard to see. Then part of the cloud moved and I was staring at a large stone wall. There were several large holes, breaching the thick walls. Twisted metal lay on the ground around what once was a small motor house that brought trolleys up the mountain. Now it was a pile of rubble.

I walked towards it when something caught my eye. An anti-tank mine lay on the side of the path. A vase full of flowers and a blurry photo lay beside it. People died here. I glanced up at the old building and shivered. It was cold up here. I looked for my dad, and found him by a large cross above the fields. It was some sort of memorial, overlooking the city. But what caught my eye was that someone had made a small cross on a table below it. The cross was made of small, twisted pieces of shrapnel, rusting in the cold night air. I'll never forget that place.





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