So, we decided we would be super organised and arranged for a transfer from the airport to our hostel as we were getting into Dubrovnik quite late. We were ready with a camera to take a photo of the guy holding a sign up with our names on it but as we walked in there was nobody… L So, a super long story short, we watched 3 flights come and go, I became super pissed off and after 4.5 hrs we FINALLY made it to our hostel in the wee hours of the morning. After an eventful night/morning and running on no sleep (a combination of arriving to hostel late and a hot room with zero air conditioning) we pushed through and did some sightseeing of Dubrovnik. Our first stop was taking the cable car to the top of some hill to see the sights over Dubrovnik which is definitely well worth it if you get a good spot in the cable car plus you are also guaranteed to get the cable car cables in most of your photos as well (yay). It was quite nice at the top though as you get an amazing view of Dubrovnik and there is a restaurant there too where we had a couple of drinks overlooking Dubrovnik. We made our way down for a cheap lunch and then did the walk around the wall of Old Town which is another must do but in summer it’s best to do it during late afternoon or early morning as it gets quite hot and the walk is about 1.5hrs long. Also be prepared for cruise ship passengers during summer as they just seem to fill up Dubrovnik. The next day we went on a search for some sandy beaches and failed. One thing to note about Croatia is that their beaches are pebbles or rocks (quite literally big rocks and then water). We made our way to the Eastwest beach which is quite small and filled to the brim with tourists. After a while we actually started sweating in the water (it’s that hot) and opted for a quick bite to eat before heading over to Lokrum Island. Lokrum is a small island but it’s quite nice as you could easily take a picnic there and spend the day just relaxing by the rock beaches and napping.
We said our farewells to Dubrovnik and made our way to Split via bus. Firstly I’d like to note that you pay for your bus ticket but if you want to store any luggage underneath it’s an extra 8 kuna! We stopped off in Bosnia for lunch (oh yeah we can add another country to our list!!) and continued on our way. Split was definitely our favourite place in Croatia. The city is quite funky and small but there is so much you can do as Split is such a good base. Our first night there we decided to go on a pub crawl to end all pub crawls with an American and some Brits from our hostel (FYI – Split is known for its pub crawls!). Now the point of pretty much all the pub crawls is that you have an hour of power where you drink an unlimited amount of alcohol (shots, cocktails, mixers etc), you name it and you can drink an unlimited amount of it – there is no catch and I am not joking! Now all that I’ve been given permission to say from here on is that it’s a night we will never remember but we will be constantly reminded of. Sorry to keep you guys hanging but that’s it – so feel free to use your imaginations!! It was physically impossible for some to move out of bed the next day (ahem not naming names *cough* Renee) so we’ll skip to the next day which was a bit more productive.
Today we organised to go out to the Plitvice Lakes National Park however we failed to realise that it’s a 3.5hr drive out there which was a biatch but definitely well worth it!! There is no way that I can describe these lakes and the pictures don’t even do them justice but the whole area is just amazing! We were lucky as our driver also guided us around the park (which was good because knowing Renee and I, we would have gotten lost and ended up in Serbia), but it takes a good 4.5hrs to go explore the main parts of the lakes (yep not even all over). The downside is that obviously being peak tourist season you will be shoved, pushed and have to patiently wait for thousands of other people to take photos (you are on a narrow walkway over water so no way around it really). I would definitely recommend going during the off peak season as you can go at your own pace and relax a bit more whereas we just got over it quickly. After our massive day and on the drive back home we were all talking and laughing when suddenly our driver hit a little old lady… yes you heard me right, a little old lady trying to cross the road. In fairness it was her fault as she stepped out onto the road in oncoming traffic but still! WHAT! So a few words were exchanged and she seemed to be fine and smiling (all the while she probably has internal bleeding) and we drove off… no police, no ambulance, no lawyers or court cases, just drove off into the sunset. WHAT! Obviously Australia has pretty strict laws compared to other countries…
Moving on… We kind of made a split decision (haha get it) and decided to go to Hvar (an island off Split) for a night with some crazy but wonderful Brits from our hostel. So the next day we jumped on a catamaran (we literally could jump because we took about a third of our entire luggage with us, joy!) and headed over and made our way to our apartment (yep, there was enough of us to afford an apartment – we lived it up for a night!). Near our apartment was a very cool little beach, absolutely beautiful (pebbled beach of course) and a couple of nice restaurants but be warned, it is a hike down and a hike back up as the path is extremely uneven and rocky but well worth it if you are able bodied. After an afternoon at the beach we made our way back to make dinner and have a few cheeky beverages before heading out. Of course we chose the night to be in Hvar when all of the Sail Croatia cruises started so all of the clubs were packed to the brim to a point of it took you 10mins to get from one side of the room to the other (the clubs weren’t even that big)! At about 2am all of the clubs close on Hvar, buuuuut we found out that there is actually another one that keeps going all night long on another island. Yes that’s right, we took a water taxi to a club on a different Island (while in Hvar, why not)! I would just like to point out that a bunch of drunk idiots on a water taxi with no real safety measures is probably not a great idea as one guy on our taxi actually jumped off the boat in the middle of the ocean (I’m assuming he got rescued but I’m honestly not sure). So anyway after paying an arm and a leg to get in, it was one of the coolest things I’ve come across. It’s literally just an island with a massive open air club on it and that’s it. Be warned though, it gets pretty packed and after a while there is just glass everywhere on the floor. I ended up back on a water taxi in the wee hours of the morning (in other words I watched the sunrise on my walk back to the apartment….). After a big night we were ready to leave and get back to Split, however it’s more complicated to get out of Hvar then to get on it. Definitely recommended to book your catamaran ticket the day before you want to leave, otherwise you need to catch the ferry (as the catamaran books out really quick) which means you need to catch a bus as well and it works out more expensive we learnt. We eventually made our way back to Split in time to catch up yet again with our dear friends from Morocco for some cheeky drinks and an official farewell dinner as our paths would more than likely not meet again in Europe.
After our exciting times in Split we made our way to Zagreb which was a nice change of pace. Zagreb is pretty much dead during summer as all the work is down south due to the tourist season but it’s a beautiful city and doesn’t feel like a typical capital city at all. We saw all of the main sights in 2 hours, which included going through the new town and the old town and then we had our last Croatian meal in a traditional restaurant to say farewell to Croatia.
Stay tuned for our next instalment of our love affair with Italy!