Monday, May 28, 2012

Making Our Way to Croatia

After yesterday, we were pretty tired. But there is no rest for the weary! The night before I had laid out my clothes for the next day. We were going south to Croatia = Warmer Weather. However, that was not what we found in the morning. 

In fact, when I woke up, it was the middle of a hurricane. No joke. The shorts and tank top that I had laid out before had to be repacked and then I had to dig out my pants and raincoat. I am so tired of these pants! And my legs are so "ripped," that they don't fit my other pants! No but really.

Here is the creepy hostel room. It turned out to be fine because no one else stayed there, again, so we had the whole place. And there was a TV. Ok, wait interjection. So you know how other countries know so much about America and we are like clueless to the rest of the world. Well it's because they watch our TV... in English. We got CNN, Fox, Discovery, TNT, shoot what else, anyway, a ton of American channels in English. 

We grabbed out stuff, checked out, the guy tried to charge us twice what we owed, Brandon accidentally left our lunch, the leftover pizza from the night before, and we headed out into the storm.

Oh my gosh, it was crazy! Wind! Rain! It was bad. Brandon almost blew over. We got to the train station and it was deserted. But I did see this poster, which is where we went the day before so that was cool.

There was no one at the station. We were like, "Do trains even come here anymore?" Finally, there was a board which said our train number. Okay, great. So outside, in the rain, we stood, waiting for this train.

To our surprise... it came! But literally, it stopped for 15 seconds. We ran to the door, jumped on, and before we knew it, we were moving again! Okay, good to know, board trains quickly in Slovenia.

And we were on our way to Croatia. Super pumped too because that means warmer weather and new passport stamps! Leaving the EU finally!

We made it to the border!

Slovenia exit stamp.

Bummer, wish I had taken a picture of the Croatia entry stamp. Anyway, here the real adventure begins.

So Croatia is really hard to do by train. They are slow, the country is incredibly long, and there are tons of small towns and things to explore that make it hard to do by train or bus. So we had decided to rent a car.

We found a website called, Economy Car Rentals, and the prices were ridiculous, they were so cheap. It was so suspicious, but after reading a million online reviews, we decided to try it. We didn't really care what we got as long as it drove. Overall, for a seven day rental, it was to be 105 Euros. Doesn't that sound too good to be true!  It is like priceline almost, where you don't know what company you get, but after you commit they give you company info. We were given a company called Oryx, which when I looked it up looked totally legit! Perfect!

We were about to find out.

We got off the train in Rijeka, a port town in the Northern part of Croatia. It was still raining, the wind was howling but here we go. I had the address of the place, and had looked up walking directions so we were off. It wasn't supposed to be far, about 10 minutes.

So we make it to the address and find no car place but a really nice office building. We go inside, nothing, then we proceed to walk around for about 10 minutes, go to McDonalds to try to make a call in wifi, but we can't make the Croatian area codes work and the connection wasn't great. So back to the address we going inside. All we find is a lobby and a security desk.

Okay, so what should we do.

I'm like, "Well, there's a phone on the desk, let's use." So again, we try to make some calls, still with no clue how to get their area codes to work. There are security cameras everywhere, but whatever, the place is deserted! If someone would come out and find us that would be great!

So at this point, I am like, seriously, really, this sucks. Because I was really looking forward to the car. So walk outside, and now I am starting to ask people if they know the address. They knew the company, thank god, but the first guy I asked said they had moved offices, the second guy said it was in the building we were just in. Great! So we went back into the building one last time.

And there was a security guard there! Yes! The phones was still turned around, but we asked him and he called the number for us. Turned out they had moved across the street like the first guy had said, onto a pier.

Great! Back out into the wind and rain we went.

And we found it!

We walked in, it was totally legit, and the guy had Audi keys on the counter. We got our sick rate, full insurance for 12 euro per day, which apparently meant if we scratched the car, we should just total it. Turned out the smaller car we had selected was not available so we were getting a bigger one! Oh yeah!

Check out our car! I was freaking out! It is so cool! So cool! We get to drive this!

Oh yeah! So pumped! After figuring out how to put in in reverse... you push down.... we were off!

Isn't this awesome!

So the weather was terrible and something we learned about Croatia quickly is that their road aren't fully developed yet. They have roads.. just not tons. Anyway, we were immediately heading South, about halfway down the country to a town called Split. The weather was terrible but hopefully it would be better in Split. We jumped on the highway for all of five minutes only to find out that it was closed.

Great... ok now where. We didn't really have a map, Brandon had printed off directions for the highway, but not that it was closed.... However, what is great about Europe it that is it so well signed. We found a sign for Split and were off again, this time on the Coastal Road. Which would have be amazing, had it been sunny. But it was so windy and rainy, it was more treacherousness than anything.

One thing about Croatia, 80% of their roads have you driving switchbacks on sheer cliffs. High cliffs too! Add wind and rain to this. Wow! Okay.

There was so much wind that it was creating this cool mist storm over the water. It almost looked like it was steaming.

Another detour. Seriously, road construction EVERYWHERE! But is guess that is good. We were wondering if all the construction was in part to meet to the regulations for Croatia to join the EU. But we'll see if that even happens right.. go Greece.

Finally back on the highway.

And Brandon is sleeping. Thanks.

But we finally made it to Split. We checked into the hostel, found out they highway was closed because of the "Bora," pronounded boola, a Croatian wind, which is why we drove the "safer" costal road, and then went to find some street parking. We were parked in a lot that we had to pay for and after trying to exit through the entrance to avoid paying, we were off to scower the streets for a space. After me almost killing us in a high speed illegal u-turn, I have no clue how fast i'm going, it's in kilometeres, we found one. We parked and then walked around.

If you rub his toe you have 7 years of good luck. So I rubbed it.

He is very tall.

Then we went for dinner and oh my gosh, this was the worst meal of the trip. I ordered the mackerel and wanted to die. It looked gross when it came. Here it is.

It wasn't that the fish was bad of that it was prepared badly, although it was a big greasy, I just know now that I don't like mackerel. It's so oily! Brandon kept telling me it was good for my health. Insert the Claire Glare here! :)

The city had been not so great by day because of the weather, but after the sun set it was so pretty!

We got some pastries for dessert. Brandon really like the pastries in Split. I was not crazy about them.

By the way, our hostel was awesome. Big beds with curtains and good lockers. We talked to the owner, Filip for a long time, he is Croatian, raised in Germany, and then he moved back here. We told him our plans for the time in Croatian he recommended a place for us to eat.

Tomorrow, the plan was to explore the rest of Split, hopefully it would be sunny and then head South to Dubronik!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you were able to post again. We missed your post! hope you are enjoying the end of the trip. For some reason couldn't hear the video??