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Report 756: Croatia and Trieste

By constance235 from USA, Summer 2005

Trip Description: Two weeks in Dubrovnik, Hvar, and Trogir, with a visit to Trieste at the end.

Destinations: Countries - Italy, Croatia; Regions/Cities - Other Italy Region

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Vacation Rentals; Beach; Foodie Trip; Garden Visits; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 6: Getting There. May 27-28

We started this trip from Romania. Three years ago, we had spent a semester there teaching, and this winter were invited back for a six-week follow-up in April and May. We decided that we wanted to go somewhere interesting at the end of our Romanian stay and planned this trip to Croatia and Trieste fairly quickly. Croatia is a very complicated place to visit: hard to make reservations, difficult to manage transportation without a car. I relied heavily on Slow Travel for help. We decided not to rent a car, thinking that it would be easier not to worry about driving. But that was probably a mistake, as it was a lot of work getting from one place to another. We were at the whim of bus and ferry schedules, plus our small suitcases got heavier and heavier.

I didn’t write down what each meal cost, etc. But prices in Croatia were very reasonable. We ate seafood and drank local wine every night: lots of rissotto and mussels and grilled fish (which, of course, is a bit more expensive). Croatia was a gorgeous experience. It has come back wonderfully from the war. Tourism is a major industry (it’s crowded), but people were very friendly, most speaking some English.

May 27

We boarded the train in Romania about 11:00 am and traveled on the rather dreadful Romanian train system, CFR, for about 13 hours to Bratislava. It was a very hot and tiring day. The train was stuffy, and because Romanians fear “drafts,” the windows and doors in the train compartments generally stayed closed. When we finally arrived in Bratislava, we took a cab to our hotel, only to learn that they were moving us elsewhere. We finally got to the Hotel Tatra about 1:00 am. Fell asleep exhausted.

May 28

Had breakfast in our hotel. Very Eastern European: fried eggs, sausages wrapped in bacon[!], cold meats, cheese, lots of cakes.

We walked through the old city, which was more charming than we had known. Nick realized at one point, he had seven currencies in his pocket: Romanian lei, Hungarian florins (from getting food at Keleti the day before), Slovakian koruny, Croatian kuna, Euros, Dollars, and a couple of Canadian coins from who knows where. We felt like travelers! Caught a taxi to the airport and waited to get the flight to Dubrovnik.

From Bratislava to Dubrovnik, we flew on Sky Europe, one of those inexpensive intra-European carriers. The flight was late leaving Bratislava, and in the end they transferred us to a different plane that had been sitting on the hot Bratislava tarmac all day, no air conditioning. The plane was so hot people looked (and I felt) about to faint.

As we prepared to leave, the flight attendant gave instructions to the four men sitting in the exit rows (all of whom had spent the time waiting for the plane in the bar). One of them “jokingly” tried to open the emergency door; another made lewd comments to the flight attendant; a third passed out. During the flight, one of the men walked to the cockpit door and tried to take pictures of the pilot. I realize as Americans, we are used to tighter security, but this was one of our worst flying experiences ever.

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