Thomas Brock, our resident travelling English teacher has just arrived in Dubrovnik, a city on the Adriatic coast in Croatia! Read, learn some new vocabulary, and practise English!

Vocabulary List

Creep: to move slowly, quietly, and carefully

Hungover: feeling ill with a bad pain in the head and often wanting to vomit after having drunk too much alcohol.

Rakija: a fruit spirit, or fruit brandy, popular in the Balkans.

Brandy: a strong alcoholic drink made from wine and sometimes flavoured with fruits.

Alcohol: a clear liquid that can make you drunk.

Drunk: unable to speak or act in the usual way because of having had too much alcohol.

Travel sickness: a feeling of illness that some people get in a moving vehicle.

Host: someone who has guests.

Announce: to make something known or tell people about something officially.

Fortunate: lucky.

Coincidence: when two things or facts are related in a surprising way.

Enormous: extremely large.

cyclopean: Enormous, related to the Ancient Greek myth of the Cyclopes.

Battlements: a wall around the top of a castle.

Drawbridge:a bridge that can be raised or brought down in order to protect a castle.

Boast: to have or own something to be proud of.

tricky: difficult.

pass on: to refuse something offered to you.

A very tired-looking me when I arrived in Dubrovnik.
A picture I took of the enormous, cyclopean battlements.
I took a walk down to the harbour in the old town.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

I arrived in Dubrovnik, Croatia just a few days ago – I travelled via bus along the winding roads through the mountains that creep down to the coastline. I will admit here that it wasn’t the most pleasant of journeys as I was rather tired, and slightly hungover for this particular bus ride.

The night before my journey I went to a bar in Budva in Montenegro with some friends. There is a popular drink in this part of the world, called Rakija. It is a kind of brandy, that can be made from a number of different fruits, the one that we were drinking was also flavoured with honey. Such a sweet addition to a strong alcoholic drink is an easy way to get drunk fast. And that’s exactly what I did.

At least the bus ride from Budva to Dubrovnik is not too long, shorter than I have become used to recently. I arrived in Dubrovnik a little tired, but not feeling too sick. Certainly not as sick as the unfortunate lady at the back of the bus with travel sickness. I was greeted at the bus station by one of the hosts of my stay.

I have spent my first few days here in Dubrovnik being quite busy actually. This is mainly due to my upcoming poetry course, which I announced a few weeks ago. When I’m not teaching my 1to1 English lessons, or helping Tom out with the weekly conversation clubs and supporting the running of the Thinking in English community, I spend most of my time building the course and learning how to promote it.

I am so very excited to start my first ever English Course!

Read more about the course on my website.

I have been to Dubrovnik twice before and both times stayed in the same apartment. I was very fortunate when first visiting to find an apartment that was available just before the main tourist season started. A friend and I had stayed a week between longer stays in Italy and Montengro. That was almost exactly this time last year. Quite the coincidence.

I am very lucky to have stayed with such friendly hosts on that first visit, as it is the same people who I stayed with the second time I visited and indeed for my stay now. As someone who visits different places, making friends and other contacts locally can make life much more enjoyable for sure.

So what is Dubrovnik like?

Well, it is a pretty amazing city! It has an enormous old town with even more enormous walls. The cyclopean battlements tower over the historic port town, and you have to cross a drawbridge to get in. The majority of the buildings are made of pale, cream coloured stone, with fiery orange roof tiles. The city has been a major filming location for popular TV series Game of Thrones and other historical films and TV shows.

The old town is home to many restaurants and bars and even boasts a night club inside part of the castle. Whilst it is a little touristy for most of the year, I was lucky to enjoy a quiet, warm evening’s walk through the old streets, very much alone. 

Finding time to explore the places I visit can be a little tricky sometimes, as I have been extra busy with my poetry course, but I have also had some new students recently. I am always excited to take on new English students and my timetable is filling up fast!

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I will be here for the next 4 weeks, and so I think I will likely write more about my stay here once I am a bit more settled and have had time to explore. My friends here have already suggested a few places I should visit. I will also go to the beach, but maybe when the water warms up a little first. As for now, I think I will enjoy the view, the sunshine, but probably pass on the rakija.

Caught in the act drinking the local honey Rakija.

Does your job allow you to travel?

Have you ever thought about working fully remotely?

If you could work anywhere in the world, would you stay where you are, move somewhere new, or move around?

Do you have recommendations for places I should visit next?

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By Thomas Brock

Hi I'm Thomas and I'm an English language teacher and editor. I teach English to adults from all over the world. I focus on written English and on conversational English. I also edit written English in a number of different fields and areas. When I'm not teaching I'm travelling as much as I can, cooking new dishes, and trying hard to play and watch sports.

One thought on “Dubrovnik, Croatia (Travel Vocabulary)”
  1. Hi! I also visited Dubrovnik 10 years ago. We arrived there for only half a day, walked around the city and climbed the cable car to the mountain, where the TV tower and the observation deck are located. Great view from there.

    I saw the word “hangover” in a vocabulary list and wished I could clarify the origin of the word. I read about one of the versions. Its essence is that this word appeared in the era of Victorian England, that is, the period of the reign of Queen Victoria – from 1837 to 1901. By the time Victoria became queen, the country was already reaping the fruits of the industrial revolution, after which a lot had changed in the country. One of the side effects of these processes was that the big cities were flooded with homeless people and beggars.

    There is an opinion that the word “hungover” was used even before such a “syndromic” meaning was obtained. And what did it mean something like an unfinished business that “hanging over” a person.

    It is possible that this meaning existed, but many believe that the concept of hungover in this meaning came from the expression two-penny hangover. Do you know what it is? It turns out that it was during the time of Queen Victoria in London that special rooming houses for the homeless of that time began to appear. True, you had to pay for the opportunity to spend the night there.

    There was a certain price for the services of such institutions and, in fact, the services themselves depended on the price. For 1 penny you could get into the room of the bunkhouse and sit on a bench until morning, and, say, for 4-5 pence you could take a horizontal position and sleep. And, of course, we were not talking about beds – either benches or “coffins”, as in this photo:

    Between these extremes of poverty and “luxury” for the poor, there was what was called the two-penny hangover. It is necessary to translate literally: for 2 pence in this rooming house you could hang – literally, on a rope. It looked like either sitting with the ability to put your head on a rope stretched in front of the bench, or, as photo archives testify, do the same while standing, then hanging on this rope like a rag: /394478/394478_original.jpg (This is not a historical photo, but one frame from the film “The Great Train Robbery” (1903), but it seems to be the way it was).

    In such “two-penny” rooming houses, it was drunken people who were “cut down” in such conditions most often. By the way, in the morning the ropes were often simply cut off – such a simple “alarm clock”. So they didn’t have a good morning.

    Therefore, many believe that the word hangover in the very meaning that we are talking about in the English language appeared precisely from such a Victorian era rooming house service. And I would like to know how true this version of the origin of the word is. What do you know about it?

    P.S. The old name for Dubrovnik is Ragusa. 🙂

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