A Day in Croatia
Let me tell you about a day I had back in 2004. I had been in Montenegro for the best part of the week on the cost in Budva, and visited Kotor from there, and let me tell you, it’s so beautiful and a wonderful place to go and I had a brilliant time. 30 plus each day, sunny skies, cheap digs at 15 Euro split between two people. LOVED it. There was an internet café on the beach. Like open air.
And then I went to Croatia. I was with a friend I’d made in Romania whom I kept by chance bumping into wherever I went in the Balkans. That’s a story (and post) in itself! Hmmm. Anyways we chose Sunday to go from Budva to Dubrovnik. There wasn’t a direct bus, the two countries (Montenegro was still part of Serbia at the time) didn’t really get along, so we took a local bus around 40-60 minutes to the border, not too far from the coast, of the two countries.
That was smoothly done. We got to the border around 11-1130am, so the day was still pretty young as the sun beat down on us. The border crossing was very very low key. I don’t remember getting stamped out, just in at a little shack. A few more metres down the road and there was a sort of umm… petrol station with a small restaurant.
Can’t remember where we’d got our information from, but we were told that there were a few buses a day into Dubrovnik. We had taken the bus to the border we did because the wait time was only supposed to be 30 minutes or something for the next bus. Except. It turned out it didn’t run on Sundays.
So. The next two and a half hours were spent trying to flag down a ride. And I’ve got to tell you, there wasn’t a lot of traffic. Maybe 10 cars in an hour. Maybe 15. Outside. By cars I mean any transport. There wasn’t a lot of shade, it was dry and hot. By 1.30pm we were really getting over it. By 2pm we were cooked. And then finally at about 2.30pm a guy took us on board. For 20 Euro. Which I guess was fair enough and frankly I’m sure by that stage we would have given him a lot more than that!
Down the road we went, it was… I don’t really remember. Less than an hour I think. And the guy didn’t really say a word to us. But he did take us pretty close to the hostel, although I do remember a bit of a walk which is always fun with a full backpack. Ehhhh it wasn’t so bad I’m just imagining it now as a 40 year old.
Now. Finally to get a bed. We walked past a house and an old lady said she had a room. We were going to the HI Hostel, the only one I think at the time in Dubrovnik. As we walked in there was a British guy locked in conversation with the receptionist. Whatever he wanted or was saying, she didn’t care. He turned to us and pointed at her saying how horrible she was, this was the worst place he’d ever stayed at, they’d kept his deposit for some reason and wouldn’t look after his bags for the day as he was leaving in the evening and that reception had his passport.
The receptionist was flatly as rude as it’s humanly possible to be. ‘Hmm. Yes?’ ‘You want a bed? Well we are almost full’. I remember we were taken aback by the price, it was something like 18-20 Euro each in a dorm, and this was 2004 remember. ‘Do you want a bed or not?’ We said we weren’t sure and left. The argument resumed.
We went back to the old lady to see the room. She was asking a similar price, I guess it was around 30 Euros for the room, it was a little cheaper than the hostel (remember that was per bed). So we looked in on the room, in the lady’s house. Well, it had a double bed, and well, we didn’t think that way of each other. So. It had been a long and tiring day and we didn’t have the energy to walk up and down the hills in search of a better accommodation offer which might not eventuate.
So, we went back to the hostel. The receptionist at the time opened a locked cupboard and handed the guy, still there, his passport and he stormed off. We checked in there and stayed the night. Well, I did my friend stayed longer we were due to part sooner or later. I decided that I’d had such a crappy day with the worst vibes I’d encountered and I was out of there. I hated the hostel anyways, one of those places where the rooms just don’t cool down at night as they have 10 people in them.
So I stormed down the street and bought a ticket to my next destination, Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina. Yes, I wasn’t just done with Dubrovnik, I wasn’t just done with the region, I was done with Croatia all together!
Luckily the dun went down late (daylight savings be praised!) and I had a couple of hours to explore the very beautiful and worthwhile citadel. I cooked in the hot but at least vaguely friendly kitchen downstairs where 30 people shared two burners. Yes. It was hot down there. And the next morning I caught the seven am bus to Bosnia. This one went all the way to my destination.
And that was THAT! Yes Croatia, I threw a huge hissy fit at you, but I do feel it was warranted. Maybe one day I will go back though. I had a connection later in Zagreb and it looked really nice around the train station.
So readers? Have you ever got really fed up with a place and just left? And have you done it (or decided to do it) in the space of a few hours? Do tell in the comments! May the Journey Never End!