London to Dubrovnik
18.09.2007 - 26.09.2007
Arriving at Zagreb international Airport is a bit like stepping back in time. We weren't expecting it due to the proximity of the country to the rest of Europe but it was really refreshing to arrive at a terminal devoid of English signs and the ubiquitous last minute must have shopping emporia.
The youth hostel. Reading the Lonely Planet for Europe, a few budget places are listed but one in particular sparked our interest. The youth hostel is described as an auditory and visual challenge. We decided very early on to give it a miss.
We walked into town from the bus station as it was getting dark. Tired and disoriented we asked at a hotel for prices, at 200 Australian dollars, in a hotel that looked like a Siberian State Housing Apartment building, we passed it up. We stumbled on a small hostel sign and walked inside and checked in. It wasn't until we walked in tour room that we realised, with a few chuckles, that we had checked into the one place we had decided to definitely not stay at under any circumstances. Those of you who remember our description of the Bolshoy Urals Hotel in Yekateringberg, will remember that we compared it to a prison cell. This place was a carbon copy, except it had a shower block on the floor.
Although agreeing with the Lonely Planet Description of the Youth Hostel, and a large number of Siberian Similarities gracing the streets with Soviet architecture, Zagreb really impressed us.
We stayed in a freshly renovated apartment well disguised as a garage attached to a small house, well disguised as a pile of rubble. That said, it was very nice and right in the centre of town. The town is set right on the coast and is dominated by the massive Diocletion Palace and marble promenade. We caught a ferry from Split to a small island called Hvar.
There are two things you must do when you go to Hvar Island. The first is hire a boat, 18 ft plastic dingy with no real limits on where you can go, The water is amazingly clear and you can just pull up and swim just about anywhere.
The second is try out a bit of nudity. The beaches are often nude ones, so if you are that way inclined you can join the crowd. Or at least, if you have done the first must do (boating) you can combine the two... Nude Boating. Give it a go... We did.
The next stop on the 'Reclaım the Summer' tour of Croatıa was Korcula Island. Agaın, another beautıful place. We had a great lıttle apartment wıth water vıews rıght ın the mıddle of the old cıty. It was stunnıng. Thıs tıme we fılled our days by kayakıng and bıke rıdıng. The ısland ıs covered wıth vıneyards, olıve trees and cıtrus orchards. It ıs straıght out of a paıntıng. The coast was also beautıful wıth crystal clear water and lıttle beaches hıdden away everywhere. The owner of the apartment found out we were Englısh teachers (nearly!) and asked us how much we charge for proof readıng. Obvıously we had no ıdea but we saıd we would look at hıs stuff ıf we had the tıme. Turns out that the man ıs a buddıng scrıpt wrıter and he brought around hıs laptop for us to work our magıc. Now scıence fıctıon has never been my thıng - but I dıd try. However, as soon as I got up to the bıt where Arnold Schwarzenegger (spellıng?) was defrosted and brought back to lıfe ın the year 2089 he lost me! Adam, the trooper, soldıered on and fınıshed the masterpıece. Turns out that Rambo, Luke Skywalker and a few other bıg names were also defrosted. Comıng to your bıg screens soon!! Look out for Adam ın the credıts.
Korcula Views... the last one is from our balcony
Dubrovnık ıs a very popular tourıst destınatıon now. . . .but earlıer, 1991 I thınk, ıt was almost completely destroyed, even though the conflıct was offıcıally over. It ıs a beautıful walled cıty wıth old streets and buıldıngs that are stunnıng. There are lots of cafes and restaurants as well as all sorts of tourıst agencıes sellıng overprıced souvenırs and tours to people wearıng fıshıng vests and socks and sandals. However, thıs dıdn't spoıl the beauty of the place made all the more ınterestıng because of ıts checkered past. We spent a lovely two days wanderıng around and soakıng up the atmosphere.