We guess we have to do a little check up again. We're finishing off our time here in beautiful Croatia!
We took the train down from Ljubljana to Zagreb. On board, we met a nice Croatian girl named Ana who helped us a lot with the border guards and the transfers. She even helped us find out how to get from Zagreb to Split because the train was not running and bus was the only option. She said goodbye, and the five of us (we had picked up two more Americans by this time) wandered briefly around the square infront of the train station. We would have spent more time, but the rain was not forgiving so we dashed undercover and ate lunch. From what we saw, Zagreb looked like a nice place. Next, we bussed from Zagreb to Split. The roads in the country are awesome because they are all new.
Split is a very nice city with a really big roman ruin as one of the main tourist attractions. As soon as we got off the bus we were swarmed by people. Many family members must come to greet their friends and family when they return? Ahhh, not so much. The hoard of grandmas were looking to host us travellers and backpackers in their spare rooms for a small fee. Peter thought it would be pretty cool, however, we already had a reservation and more importantly, the game was starting!
We parted ways with Mariah, Jena, and Veronica which the swarm got and Peter B-lined it to the hostel with the other 2 in tow. We find our hostel, Hostel Split, where Elda (a sweet old woman) was running the show. Once we got settled in we went to the bar to catch the remainder of the Chelsea - Man U. game. Peter left the bar extremely happy since Man u. took it 6-5 in PK's. That match also made it 4 Man U games watched during the trip, in 4 different countries, and in 4 different languages. The next day, we wandered around the Old Town of Split. The Old Town is really just the walls and a few other buildings that were built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD. It was cool wandering around, but the weather would not cooperate. The skies absolutely opened up on us as we were wandering. We hid under a balcony for a bit, and then tried to find more substantial cover afterwards because the heavy rain would not stop. Just to try and put it in perspective, we crossed a street, and our feet were underwater up to the ankles due to the amount of rain coursing down it!
Since there are no trains down to Dubrovnik we bussed it on down. A good 4 hr journey through 2 border controls! See Bosnia &Herzegovina controls a coastline of less than 20 km that separates Dubrovnik with the rest of Croatia. Peter was excited cause this meant stamps! He was sadly disappointed when he received none. But we were on our way to Dubrovnik!
Now, We'll be honest if we don't come back send the search party here first. Because this place is gorgeous. Touristy, but relaxing, lots to see and do, but also an oppertunity to kick up the feet and relax. And so we did. Good weather followed us here which was gladly welcomed since this is beach area. When we got off the bus more people tried to get us to stay with them but we, again, had reservations. After asking around we found the apartment/hostel care taker, Anka. "Darlings! Welcome to Dubrovnik!"
A sweet, elderly woman who is a social butterfly. Everytime we meet her on the streets it's "Darling! so nice to see you!"
Needless to say, we love her.
Anyways we had a bit of trouble with our accommodation. The people staying at our place had their car vandalized and had to stay an extra night, Anka told us, however, she had another apartment which she could give to us at the same price..... inside the old town. Now the old town is the tourist hotspot in Dubrovnik and to be living in there? That's just awesome! And the place was gorgeous so we took it for the full 4 nights.
We dropped off our stuff and took a look around our new neighbourhood. It was very atmospheric and beautiful, with lots of people hustling and buslting around. We learnt over the days that multiple cruise ships come here and anchor for a day so the tourist industry are the cruise ship folk.
But we simple walked around and took in the sights sounds, and ice cream the old town had to offer.
The next day was an early one since we had tickets to Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The old bridge is the site to see which links the muslim, croat and serb communities in Mostar. This was also a place where a lot of fighting took place during the 90's. The muslims and croats fought in the city and the serbs shot down on them from the mountains. Evidence of all this fighting was everywhere with multiple buildings riddled with bullet holes on all sides. The town is in rebuilding stages, and the people are starting to come around and live together, but it will take time as our tour guides said. The bridge spans only 20 meters or so (and was also destroyed in the war. But they can't say by who, since it is still under investigation) but is also 25 meters above a river. The attraction here is that divers jump from the bridge into the water for money. Kif wanted to do it, but the water below is only 2-5 meters deep and you can only land in 2 spots with out getting into trouble so he decided against it. We were shown the bridge, Turkish House and a Muslim mosque which was all very interesting. Then we were given some free time to wander around so we had some really delicious local food. Vivienne even took seconds! Then it was a nice bus ride home. On this ride to and from Mostar we crossed into Bosnia & Herzegovina border 4 times, none of these times did we even have to show our passports. Peter didn't get his stamp.
That night we walked around outside the old town. We found the Hilton hotel and Peter went off on a mission to take photo's of it. On our way back from the successful journey we were approached by a Croatian guy who asked us why we were taking pictures of the building. We just thought it was pretty we said and he went on to tell us about how it was bombed out in the war. We were talking with him for a while and he said his father died 17 years ago and he went on to say how war was so pointless. After the conversation we figured out that his father was killed in the war. It hit home as to how recent the war was, how affected people still are by it. It was a sobering conversation.
The next day it was Lokrum and the old city wall walk.
Croatia has over 1100 islands. Lokrum is 15 mins away from Dubrovnik and cheap. So that's where we went. You can see it from the city but it has a cool little fort at the top of it which we climbed and took some nice photo's. But we still can't post photo's so apologies yet again! It is beautiful though! But we were there for the beaches... well, the volcanic rock which is really sharp and painful beaches. But we got to go swimming in Croatia! Peter and Kif got sunburned, Peter being part english is now part lobster. But we enjoyed just lying and baking in the sun.
We left the island and headed back to do the city wall walk. The old town is a walled city and for 50 kuna you can walk around the wall and see all the amazing sights, and that's exactly what we did. Again, it was very beautiful with much to see, and again, sorry for no photo's!
Montenegro is next...and then it's a little up in the air.
Things we've learned in Croatia:
- No matter how many times we cross into Bosnia & Herzegovina, Peter won't get his stamp
- If Peter was superman, ice cream is his kryptonite
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