Friday, June 18, 2010
Well upon leaving Krakow late at night, Brent and I were venturing all the way down to Croatia, via Vienna. Taking a sleeper car to Wien, we lucked out and had ourselves to the room. I was out like a light, and apparently snoring like a madman to the chagrin of the people in the next room I was told! haha. Anyways, we made it to Vienna where we had to wait a long time to catch anther train to Split, Croatia.....all in all it was a 27 hour journey, but very beautiful. Once we finally got going again, we were astonished by the beauty of the Alps in Austria! They were really amazing. We were also lucky again, as we had a whole cabin to ourselves, and decided to get on the bottle.
** I believe at this time Brent and I were very well considered alcoholic.....no joke**
Passing through Slovenia, we made it to the Croatian Capital of Zagreb, where we had to switch trains....unfortunately we were shit out of luck once again...or so we thought. Upon getting on the train, we found ourselves in a very similar situation as when we left Assclaw, going to Krakow. We set up shop on our bags again, but this time we had good fortune. A female usher came to us and asked where we were going, disappeared, then returned to tell us to follow her. Getting some mighty dirty looks from other commuters, we were taken to a cabin that was occupied....however, she opened the door, kicked an old man and told him to sit up, and gave Brent and I two seats! What a doll she was! Again, with some dirty looks flashed our way, we weren't too comfortable. But, out of nowhere, one of the guys spotted our Canadian flags (cliche yes, but does actually come in handy!) and proceeded to tell us that he had previously lived in Vancouver for a period of time. After a long chat, he left us, and soon we arrived in Split.
Arriving with the sunrise, we didn't know where to go, and were a bit out of it. We also knew that we wouldn't be able to check into the hostel for some time, so we just sat down on the main promenade and enjoyed quite a beautiful boardwalk. Eventually, after regaining some energy, we set out to find the hostel....which became quite a task in this tiny walled town....but eventually we found it. However, upon checking in, the dink who worked there (and i think had a broad in the common room with him) wouldn't let us check in yet, so we had to go back out and kill some time. Actually, when we were initially looking for the room there was this old guy who kept trying to convince him to go with him....throughout our 2 days there we kept running into him, which was good for a laught...guess you had to be there. Anyways, we stayed at the Silver Gate Hostel (recommended, again, by the Gorsebrook fools) and it had a really nice view of the old city.
The little town was like a maze of marble paths, that you could just get lost in, but it was incredibly beautiful. The old town square, St. Dominus Bell Tower, the cathedral, boardwalk, and market were all classic, and actually reminded me a lot of what I expected Italy to be like!
We also made it to a club one night there , which was ok I guess, and we also had quite an entertaining meal with an British guy who had the most ridiculous stories from his travels through South East Asia.
Split was beautiful and I'd love to go there with Andy, but I am afraid it will lose it's appeal if it becomes a tourist trap!
We took a bus from Split, going along the Adriatic coast and through a part of Bosnia, to reach Dubrovnik. And let me tell you, the coast is beautiful, but it's like taking a bus here in the Philippines...you honestly think you're going off the cliff at any moment! Actually, when we made a pit stop in Bosnia, we ended up meeting a guy, Jessie, from Fredericton....he simply saw Brent's X-ring, and knew we had a Maritime connection. Upon making it to this city, we were at a loss from the beginning. Once getting off the bus, we were bombarded by old ladies trying to get us to rent a room (again, just like the Phils!), but we got out of there and took a public transit bus down to the old wall city. Little did we know that our hostel was far away. What made it even worse was that we forgot to write down any information about the hostel! haha......after a few hours, and getting pretty pissed at each other, and thanks to the girl at the local tourist bureau letting us use her comp, we finally made it to "Yuitsi's" ? I think...hahah....anyways, it was a family run hostel, and it was amazing!! haha. The son ran it and was so excited "HEY BOYS," the mom was cute and just sort of out of it, always just commenting "oh my god," and the dad was a beauty. He actually had just came back from Bosnia, and decided to share his homemade brew with us (moonshine)...needless to say, we were all in a good mood. This is where we also met Dave & Dan, whom we'd travel almost the next month with! Dave was from London, Ontario, and just a youngin', while Dan was actually Jesse's buddy from Fredericton, and it so happened that we had many mutual friends....more about them later.
Anyways, we made it to the old city, which was really cool. Still in great shape, you can walk all the way around the old city on the top of the wall, and some really spectacular sights! The pictures speak for themselves. I'd love to go back, but again, very touristy. This is also where, when walking within the old city, a ton of pigeons flew by my face, so I promptly shaved the beard I was growing when I got home. SICK!! We also went for a swim at a nice beach....my first time encountering a stone beach! And the water was frigid, but it was all good because I found some money on the way home! haha. That night we had to make some hard decisions where to go, and we decided on going to Corfu, Greece....and more importantly THE PINK PALACE. However, we took strange routes. Dan and Jesse decided to go by land through some sketchy countries, while me, Brent and Dave went by sea. However, you can't go directly to Greece, so we had to cross the Adriatic, stay the night in Bari, Italy.....where we slept in a park....and then made it eventually to Greece!
Croatia is definitely one of the most beautiful places we went!