Postcards from a post-war resort
Kupari in Croatia is a former military holiday resort for the elite of the then Yugoslav army to rest and recuperate and could accommodate thousands of families comfortably. The Grand Hotel has pride of place overlooking the turquoise bay quickly joined by several more hotels. A sandy beach was constructed in the 1960's, all surrounded by lush gardens of exotic planting, the perfect escape for military families living in communist run Yugoslavia in a Cold War era.
In 1990 I visited and stayed a few miles up the coast on holiday with my then husband, we were in our 20's with a bright future soaking up the beauty of the country and dramatic coastline, taking time to think about having children of our own.
In 1991 the Homeland war broke out and everything changed. Kupari was heavily bombarded with shelling, targeted as a symbol of decadence for the military elite. It wasn't just hit, it was systematically destroyed, cleared and looted, then each floor of every hotel burnt out. Overnight, families in the area were extricated from their homes and village fought village, war had arrived. People fled to Dubrovnik to hide in the safety of the stone cellars and medieval underground vaults.
Just 2000 miles away in England, my first daughter was born and my attention was with her, I wasn't truly aware of the devastation and hardship endured in this part of the world until this recent visit 25 years later.