Summer Holiday: Croatia
Getting into Croatia
I left Kotor, Montenegro at 08.30 on a bus headed into Croatia; we would be in Dubrovnik at about 10.30, or so I thought. I snatched a window seat so I could watch us leave beautiful Montenegro, and I was not disappointed. All along the coast, the water was bright blue and towns quaint and gives a vibe that instantly makes you feel like you could live there forever. I’m tempted.
We passed through the exit- border of Montenegro, and that’s where the trouble began. Almost immediately after leaving, we were in stopped traffic for maybe 5 kilometers. Five kilometers. Just five. It took us about 3 hours to get through that wretched line. 3 hours!! It was miserable.
After about an hour of driving along the coast, we could see Dubrovnik from the window. We were at the very top of the hill and the view was spectacular. The contrast between the orange roofs of the walled city and the blue water is impossible to capture on a camera or explain in words. We headed down the mountain with this view. It was a very terrifying trip down (we’re right on the edge! in a huge bus!) but if you could focus on the view, you hardly noticed.
I caught a cab from the harbor/ bus station to the entrance of the city and tried to find the hotel my mom booked. It was impossible. I walked along the same street looking for the number 6 three times before caving and buying some ice cream. Which I ate while contemplating my map. Seriously. I was on the street of the hotel. But there was no hotel. Luckily, I asked for directions from one of the many waiters from one of the many restuarants on that one tiny, tiny street. And he found it with no problem.
Meeting my Family
After a much deserved shower and checking of my family’s itinerary, I decided to wait downstairs for my family at the Mexican/ pizza restaurant in front of the entrance of my building. Two gin n’ tonics and a plateful of chips and the best guacamole I’ve ordered in all of Europe (seriously. from a Mex- Tex Woodfire Pizza restaurant), I saw my family walking down the street completely confused by the lack of a hotel. Ah. They’re lucky I was waiting for them out here or else they would have wandered as I did.
They joined me for some more chips and guac and drinks before we started to do a mini tour of the city before it got too dark.
Exploring the City in Photos
Traveling up the Coast
Instead of traveling by ferries and buses, we decided to rent a car in Dubrovnik and drive up the coast to Korçula. It was such a gorgeous drive. About half way through we decided to stop for some wine tasting along the way, where my mom ended up buying 4 bottles of wine!
Then we finally got to our wonderful AirBnB.
The next day we decided to tour around the island and stop wherever we pleased.
Here are some extra photos taken near our AirBnB. Check out that sunset!
Heading to Split
We split the drive from Dubrovnik to Split by stopping in Korçula so that we didn’t have to drive all day long on the teeny tiny curvy road. So after staying on the island for 2 nights, we headed back out. This drive was wonderfully beautiful, so beautiful that I really didn’t take that many photos.
We eventually got to Split, found parking, and got settled in our AirBnB. After which we were all so hungry and ventured out to the city center for some sightseeing and dinner.
Since I didn’t bring my flash with me on this trip (oops) and I don’t know how to work it anyway, I really didn’t take many photos of Split either. It simply got too dark. But it’s a really wonderful, quaint city center with narrow streets lined with so many shops. I definitely recommend stopping by and wandering around for a bit. However, most people use Split as a kind of anchoring city: they stay here or leave their cars/belongings in the city and then venture to other islands by ferry, only coming back to maybe eat dinner or sleep. Which is kind of what we did the second day we were there.
We headed out pretty early to catch a ferry to Hvar Island and didn’t return again until the sun had already set. Hvar was such a wonderful island as well. Mostly known for partying, the island is very tranquil and is perfect for aimlessly wandering on a hot summer afternoon.
I think the town was still sleeping off its hangover from the night before because it was pretty empty, except for the seaside touristy shops of course. Anywho, we managed to find this wonderful cafe that served lavender everything!! (Hvar is known for their lavender production, it’s heavenly). I immediately made everyone stop so we could have a drink or coffee or something lavender here.
So lavender champagne it was.
With some lavender cake…
Then we headed back to Split on the last ferry of the day.
Krka National Park
The next day was our last day together. It wasn’t even a full day. We were debating if we should make the drive to the Plitvice Lakes or to Krka; Krka was the eventual winner. It was much closer and I had to be back in Split for my 20.00 ferry to Ancona, Italy and my family had to head to Zagreb for their flight back home. Also, it was a huge plus that you could actually swim in the lakes right next to the waterfalls (you can’t really in Plitvice Lakes).
And with that day trip, our week in Croatia came to an end. My family dropped me off at the port and I hung around waiting to board my ferry. It was an overnight ferry and really not comfortable at all. There were actually people who brought mattresses and pillows with them and I thought it strange at first but they seriously had the right idea. Regrets.
I’m so glad that my parents and brother were able to join me in Croatia. My mom had been dying to go for awhile now and it was such a great excuse to see them halfway through my au pair year.