Beetle Convention at Dvor Duboković

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A pride of VW Beetles in Pitve. Photo Vivian Grisogono

A celebration in the May sunshine in Pitve’s prized restaurant, Dvor Duboković

As I passed Donje Pitve on my way home early this afternoon, an irrestistible sight met my eye. Two lines of convertible VW Beetles, known as ‘bube’ or ‘bugs’ in Croatian, neatly filled the main parking area. Gleaming in the sunshine, their bright colours competing with the wild flowers around them, they could well be called a Pride of Beetles.

These cars have obviously been around for many years, and indeed we have enthused about them before. Each year in this modern age of people-carriers and 4 x 4s they re-emerge into the Hvar sunshine looking loved, glamorous, festive and functional. They could be described as nostalgic, but they are so perfectly suited to enjoying the wonders of Hvar by road without stress that they are ideal for holiday hire.

It didn’t take much detective work to identify that the only place a group of guests could be was the renowned Pitve restaurant, Dvor Duboković. As I wandered in that direction, I met the group on their way out. Did they have a nice lunch? “Very good”, “excellent”, were the invariable replies. I expected no less, but it was nice to have confirmation from the very contented-looking group who were marching purposefully towards their colourful convoy.

In the restaurant, clearing up was in progress, but I was made welcome and treated to Tiramisu and coffee. A bonus was meeting Toni, proud owner of Rapidus, the company which rents out the VW Beetles on Hvar. He told me proudly that he restores and maintains his 40-odd Beetles himself, having worked as a car mechanic in Germany for many years. The cars are proving a major draw for tourists, one customer even ordering a Beetle to collect him from Dubrovnik: when Toni warned him that it would be expensive, he was told that the price didn’t matter, but the client would not come to Hvar unless the car was sent to collect his party!

In the middle of the clearing up operation, Ivica Duboković took a little time to show me the various improvements that have been done during the short winter months, as well as new additions to the gardens, which are a fabulous setting for the dining tables. It is the garden layout which gives the Dvor Duboković its special combination of spaciousness with privacy for individual groups. Despite having been on the go since early morning preparing the Dalmatian speciality ‘pekas’, Ivica demonstrated for me how he had had to lift up the heavy ‘peka’ lids time and time again for photographs, as the guests were fascinated by the process of cooking ‘under the bell’. No need for weight training in the gym for peka chefs!

It was a perfect day for driving an open-top car and dining in the open air in one of Hvar’s finest restaurants, enjoying the fabulous views over the countryside to the sea and Brač Island beyond.  May is one of the most beautiful months on Hvar, with the wild flowers at their most colourful and the birds singing merrily as they settle in for the summer, having flown in from their winter abodes. On a sunny warm day like today, with temperatures over 22 degrees centigrade, Nature’s abundant gifts are in full evidence, and it is a great joy to share those gifts with appreciative guests.


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