Finally I get to talk to you about Croatia; Croatia has always been one of those places that I only associate with yachts, beaches, partying and more recently Game of Thrones, but the country just has so much more to offer.
Nuni and I were planning to spend 2 days in Dubrovnik, 2 days on the island of Mljet and 2 days in Split before she would leave from Split on Saturday and I would continue on my own in Split for a couple days and then make my way to Dubrovnik via bus to take my plane back to my Norwegian home on Tuesday morning.
Arriving in Dubrovnik we were welcomed with a gorgeous sunset and unlimited sea views all the way throughout the wavy mountainous roads to the town; it was truly spectacular and we were oh-so-excited to finally see it in person!
Over the next two days, we walked around town (A LOT!), went on a walking tour, took the cable car up, and walked on the walls of the city; we also had some delicious seafood and took in plenty of Vitamin D and the feel of salty sea air; it was the best!!
Wednesday morning we made our way to Mjet with the ferry; we had booked accommodation in Sobra the day we left Berlin because the little info available about the island online claimed that it was the “hub of the island” and that there would be busses to the rest of the island. However, once we reached the Sobra port, we realized the ‘ugly’ truth (but honestly not too ugly once it settled in!). The port was a mile and a half from our ‘hotel’ for the night but since we had some heavy backpacks we opted for the only taxi in town after discovering that there’s only one bus from the port to town and it comes around 10 hours later…
Once we checked in at the ‘hotel’ we made friends with the wife of the owner who had lived in Germany for 30+ years and immediately liked us more when we spoke to her in German. She told us that there’s not that many inhabitants on the island anyways and that everyone knows everyone so hitchhiking is extremely safe. Nuni who was a little weirded out by the idea when I first brought it up at the port agreed to try it and so we made our way to the main road after having bought a lunch picnic at the supermarket in the hopes of finding a car to drop us off at the beach on the complete opposite side of the island.
5 minutes later this awesome woman and her mom and daughter stopped for us; they said that they weren’t going the entire way to the beach but that they’d be willing to drop us off somewhere in between and so we hopped in the tiny rental car. Once in, I asked where they come from and the woman said France; I immediately told her that I’ve been studying in Paris for a year and soon enough we were having a conversation in French (or attempting to from my side!). Having to explain to the grandma my life story and what I’ll be working on in French was not the easiest but we managed and had some good laughs.
Once they dropped us off, Nuni and I started walking by the side of the street in the hopes of seeing another car and hopping on; however the few cars that passed by were either super full or didn’t stop. At this point Nuni and I wondered if we should possibly cross the street and just head back; it would take us an hour minimum to walk to the beach and it was too hot. While debating this question, we saw another car roll up the hill and immediately struck the autostop pose; the car came to a sudden stop and the smiling girl inside asked us where we’re heading. “To the beach” we said to which she responded “Perfect!” and started cleaning up the passenger seat next to her. Nuni hopped in the back, and I in the front and off we went. Turns out the girl is from Bordeaux and is traveling with friends but needed a day break from the company so decided to rent a car and come to this side of the island. I guess all our saviors that day ended up being Frenchies ❤
The beach was perfect; hot sand and cold waters! We spent a few hours there and even took a nap before heading back to the main road and trying to find a ride home. No-one stopped for a while and we were almost giving up before the awesome French girl came cruising in her tiny car, saw us and stopped once again. 🙂
The following day we planned to go to the north of the island where there’s a gorgeous national park; during this time of year there’s a ferry that stops in the Sobra port in the AM (9.05AM) and goes until Polace (the port closer to the national park). In the afternoon the same ferry stops in Polace first (4.55PM) and returns to Sobra before continuing on to Dubrovnik, so it worked out perfectly for us. On the morning ferry, I ended up sitting next to a girl and we started chatting; turns out she works at Microsoft in Seattle and did her MBA at the UW (the same school where I did my undergrad!). What a small world, we both said, and immediately started talking. Once the ferry reached Polace, Shivani, my new friend, joined Nuni and I during our day of adventures!
A small tip in case you’re heading to the National Park in Mjet: You’re supposed to pay an entrance fee, but there’s mostly no-one that checks. Only on one trail did someone stop us to check our tickets. There’s also a shuttle bus that takes you from the Polace ferry stop and drops you off by the lakes!
Friday was an early wake up call and we got to see the sunrise for the first time since we’d been on the island! We took the 6AM ferry to Dubrovnik, walked around town till 2pm before taking the bus to Split.
Split was one gorgeous city and reminded me so much of Alex. Funny enough in one of the main squares we found a sphinx, a few Egyptian columns and a cafe called Luxor; that’s when I turned around and told Nuni that I had found my place in the city. After Nuni left on Saturday, I met up with Shivani again and we grabbed some drinks and sat by the harbor to watch the sunset and then grabbed dinner 🙂
Sunday was a solo day for me, so I decided to follow the advice of some guy in my hostel and head to the Bol beach; it was SO great. It took me an hour long ferry and a 50 minutes bus ride to get there but the day spent at the beach was oh so worth it!
I woke up Monday morning and immediately made my way to the bus stop where I took the bus back to Dubrovnik. I swear I’m not an idiot but tickets out of Split were three times the price of a flight out of Dubrovnik. Gotta do what you gotta do, no?
Croatia, I will be back; until the next time, here’s a couple of songs that I’ll always associate with this country!
Howling at the Moon — Song that was playing on the bus when we first landed in Dubrovnik
Wir werden sehen — Song that the French girl was playing in her car when she stopped for us.