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Published: September 25th 2009
After the experience of crystal clear water in Hvar and Korcula, it was time for the token visit to Dubrovnik, of which I had mixed reports from other travellers. I was extremely lucky to avoid an early sdtart on the Wednesday by not leaving at 6,45am, and instead leaving at a civilised hour of 10,30am. I decided to get accommodation from an agency in Korcula, whom the lady knew having flatted in this apartment before. On this recommendation and 240 kuna later, I stayed in a lovely new apartment in Lapad, 10 mins by bus to the old town of Dubrovnik. This peninsula is surrounded by quaint if rocky beaches, and the view toward the new bridge (aka Golden Gate bridge!) stunning from the patio at night. The man had business errands to run in Korcula, and after passing via his mates place to drop off bread and sip some tasty rakija (grape brandy) it was happy if slightly nauseated days all the way to Dubrovnik. Miro was a nice man and had excellent English for my past experiences here, of course they exist on tourism! His lovely wife was also kind in welcoming me and I sussed out the bigger
apartment for future stays should I come (or people I know!!) again.
But ther was some small damper on the day, having had to visit the hospital for my failing big toe. I tripped down some unforgiving concrete steps in Hvar 3 days earlier and scraped shins, sprain and cut toe later, it was hard to walk without pain. So after the usual goose chase for a doctor that takes foreigners, I ended up in emergency at the local hospital in Lapad where I HAD to go evidently. My emergency took 1 minute to attend to, and I strongly persuaded them I need not have orthopaedic surgery as I wasa Phzsiotherapist and it was not broken!! They happily prescribed me antibugs, again, with probiotics for intestinal health, at no cost.....but the drugs did at 50NZD approx for 5 days treatment! Opposite to home but gladly received. Thereafter, health in check, I made headway to the walls of Pile in the old town. This was worth every 50kuna I spent on it, for the vistas were incredible. There are though only so many terracotta roofs and destroyed edifices, religious or otherwise, you can see! Taking a leak for 4 kuna,
I rested by the fountain and chatted to some nice Brits I met, exchanging pictures and stories of bad customer service, seemingly normal so far. But it was not all bad, as I got some internet time, expensive at 25 kuna for 30mins, and exchanged kuna for Bosnian currency (which later was a waste too as they take euros willingly!!)
After a late night, with some good quality if poorly cooked steak and eggs (feel the IRON!) I decided that a late start was better than an early one, and rose at the civilised hour of 8am for a swim at the local Solitudo beach, where a total of 3 others sought the same solitudo as me. The owner of the apartment allowed me a cruisy check out at 11am and minded my bags whilst I went walkabout taking pictures of the gorgeous waterside, gigantic cruisers across the bay towards the port, as well as making enquiries about Split and Zagreb accommodation at agencies, which was not so fruitful. I am getting annoyed with the do-not-care looks, or slamming down of change and groceries when I buy something. Apart from in Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar and Opatija, it has not
The trip to Mostar that afternoon at 3,15pm by bus was through beautiful valleys and along stunning coastline. We crossed the border 4 times, and hence 4 checks of the passport which stopped our journey by only 5 mins. The Croats certainly lapped up the cheap booze and cigarettes in Bosnia, as about 2 euros cheaper a packet, and coming to Mostar an agency awaited arrivals and offerred accommodation near the Stari Grad (old town) at 20 euros single use. It was modest but adequate, and as the man that picked me up spoke little English, communication of niceties was contrived! Despite this they were very hospitable and welcoming, nice for a change. Mostar has signs of destruction with, like Croatia, roodless buildings, dangerous sites prohibited from entry, and beggers on the main street.........on the other more positive side, the old town is just beautiful, cobbled and slippery, and with several preserved buildings and mosques relating to the recent and distant past. The gallery was interesting in that I learnt 20,000 Mostar people experienced concentration camps, and 12,000 Muslims fled to the eastern countries. From NZ I could not even gauge what that war would be like,
but the word horrendous may do that justice.
Today I took the 10,15am bus back to Split, having not alternative later, but this made me make use of the cool mornings away from the hot Croatian Adriatic. But the mercury rose steeply as we drove the again scenic rocky and turquoise coastline through Makarska to Split............. being 28C now and finally checked into my first hostel (Pletkovic, nr Old Town) after battling the touts at the station on my arrival I am well happy, especially with free internet access. I met some nice people from Argentina oin the bus, and we exchanged emails as it seems her cousin may work with a friend of mine in Canberra. Small world!
So in Split, I had a quick streak through Diocletian Palace on my way to the tourist info centre and will do a tour tomorrow before heading to Zagreb on the 3,10pm departure. Thankfully this hostel is 300m to the train station, if that, and 10 mins walk to the beach, even more attractive right now! Sunday I will join the Intrepid journey in Hungary, Budapest, and head to Romainia from there. Looking forwards to easier travel as this
planning business on the hoof is getting me tired!!
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