Published: August 7th 2008August 7th 2008
Like the plethora of Croatian alleycats slumped across scorching stones, we are drunk on sunshine. Barely able to manage simple daily tasks, we stumble between the Supermercato and the beach, before crashing, like the cats, for hours, with the sparkling ocean horizon working hard to prop open our heavy eyelids.
After 2 weeks travelling all corners of Croatia, we feel we have done the country justice. We've graced nearly every beach, admired clifftop fortresses guarding precious harbours, and joined the oceanside fashionistas by purchasing a couple of sexy fluoro li-lo's... best $2 ever spent.
After a false start involving some dead-end Adriatic towns, on a fateful whim we discovered the magical island of Losinj (pronounced "Losheeny"). A quaint harbour village far from the tourist hoards of Dalmatia, Veli Losinj saw us feasting on freshly caught grilled fish so close to the sea we amused ourselves by feeding the ones still swimming with the remnants of their mates. A walk around the island to the main port of Mali Losinj wove in and out of secret turquoise swimming bays. Here we discovered a prime spot for wasting away an afternoon.
However all was not so rosy when we arrived
at Krk island to find our prebooked hostel abandoned to the rats and mould. Ah well, Krk was a hole anyway, bursting with Zagreb's trailor trash escaping for the weekend. A quick plan swindle and we were on our way to the capital: Zagreb. It was here that Penny developed her unruly obsession for all things "LUSH". We hijacked a yellow pages to hunt down these overpriced but scrumptious cosmetic goodies. (Clearly a cupcake replacement). For everyone else in Croatia treats come in a cone-shaped waffle piled high with 1 or 2 of the many exotic gelato flavours and eaten at ANY time of the day, (including breakfast).
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Plitvice Lakes stunned our senses (as well as every Japanese tourist's this side of the Black Stump), with its cascading pools of crystal clear water (clear enough to see what the trout had had for their last meal), and of course an endless number of magnificent waterfalls.
A ride on the world's largest sauna-on-wheels then dumped us down south on the fabled Dalmatian Coast where we've been island hopping ever since. The exclusive celebrity isle of Hvar boasted beachside sunset nightclubs. Korcula was all
about the bling. Private drug-baron cruises lined the harbour: 4 stories high, auto-sliding doors, helicopter landing pads and even 'garages' beneath to store their smaller speedboats and jetskis. The wealth around these parts is truly astounding!
We are now lapping up Dubrovnik's culture, awaiting our 8-hour ferry back to Itlay. Wrapped in another UNESCO World Heritage listed city wall, Dubrovnik surprises with obscure doorways leading to rocky alcove cafes and diving launchpads into the cool Adriatic Sea below.... An endless parade of people balancing whole watermelons on shoulders en route to the oceanside for a fleshy pink feast highlights Croatia's life theory: it's all about simple pleasures and getting through each scorching day.
The Croatian hospitality is unsurpassed. Upon finding ourselves lost in a maze of cobblestone laneways, a friendly old man with a rank dog cooling off from the midday sun actually couriered us to our accommodation door where we were greeted with ice-cold cordial, fresh figs and plums under a shady grape vine. The elderly lady we're staying with has opened her house so generously to all manner of world travellers and she does everything in her power, despite not speaking a word of English, to
keep us all happy. Croatians are beautiful people.
Gotta add a funny story......Not really a funny story but one of those things that happen whilst on holidays that make or break it.
We are in Zagreb, our bus to Plitvice Lakes leaves the bus station at 9.40am sharp and our ticket(s) are non-transferable. We awake early enough to check an email or two at the hostel, scoff down a quick brekky and grab a 10-15min tram-ride so that we are at the bus station around 10 past 9.
Of course, while we were checking emails and itinerary's, Dave moves the tickets to an unknown location so that upon arriving at the bus station, the tickets are no longer where they should be. Immediately, Dave tries to get a bus station ticketperson to re-issue the tickets as he can remember their seat numbers. Denied!!!!!!
Upon RE-checking all pockets and turning the moneybelt and wallet inside out, the only place they could be is back at the hostel.
Dave jumps on the next tram (fortunately the correct line) and arrives to the hostel with 20mins to spare, where he turns that joint upside down, whereupon again he finds himself
sans two bus tickets. The lightbulb appears above his head, as he is pretty sure he left the tickets in his notebook of course less than one metre away from Penny at the bus station (times like these you really appreciate the potential of mobile phones. Ours are back in Sydney collecting dust).
Sprinting back to the tramstop, Murphy's law finally kicks in and deems that the next tram will deliver him back to the bus station and will get there 5 minutes after the bus is scheduled to leave. What else to do but 'Run Forrest Run'!
A good 2 and a half kilometre run through downtown Zagreb gets Dave to the Bus Station at 9.37am.
Penny, still fuming at Dave's incompetence, barely manages to follow Dave once he produces the tickets and he tells her to haul arse towards the platform at the other end of the bus station. (Murphy's Law at play again).
Arriving at the bus with two minutes to go, Penny announces to Dave that her bladder is calling to her. The brave girl hops on the bus and crosses the legs for a full hour and a half before the first restroom break.
Our seats All Dave can do is apologize to Penny and sweat over his fellow bus compananions after his mini-marathon.
There are more photos below