My favourite part of storytelling in general and travel experiences, in particular, is about the things that went wrong. C’mon, I’m sure you can find the best coffee place on your own, but here’s what they usually don’t tell you about in the travel books. I wrote about the route planning in my last travel post, check it out if you haven’t read it yet! Here come the real impressions! :)
I really don’t understand why this one isn’t covered properly anywhere: Dubrovnik and Sibenik are built on the hills. Those are not just the stairs going all the way up, those are actual streets. Yes, and when you look at the google map and see a street, keep in mind that it can be a super high and very much steep stairway. It is ok for walking (but man were my legs in constant pain!), but it is really not ok if you have a suitcase! Guess what happened to me? Yeah right: I thought I’d be a smart ass and could just walk those 15 mins from the bus station to the apartment. And I did. But climbing up the stairs with the heaviest suitcase (packed with those dresses for the shoots) took me good 30 min and all the sweat I possible had in my body. I wanted an apartment with a view, but I didn’t expect that in many cases it would have been stairs. I have no idea how they get a new fridge or a washing machine up there! Good news, I could eat as much as I wanted to: those hills definitely help to stay in shape :)
Almost all of the properties for tourists in Croatia are apartments. When you open booking.com you will hardly find any hotels in Croatia (especially if you travel on a budget). What I love about apartments is the kitchen so you can store and cook your food (or chill that wine in the fridge). And it also gives you a chance to feel a little bit local, you know? Only advice: read the reviews carefully because some of the apartments I stayed in were really crappy. And a downside of the apartments compared to the hotels/hostels is that it could be complicated to leave your luggage after check out. Bus station storages come in handy in this case.
I used ferries and buses to make my way through the country. You can book your tickets either online or on the spot. Some buses will charge you about €1 extra for the luggage. Buses were pretty cheap (you might get an extra discount if you’re a student) and pretty comfy. And the views were stunning for the most of the time! But, no toilets on board, be careful with your thirst! As I wrote last week, I also hired a scooter for one day in Hvar. It was a totally-worth-it experience!
- Plitvice Lakes National Park
The most confusing one: both the Internet and the travel guide were talking about the park as if it was a straightforward journey yet mentioning the three entrances and not really explaining the buses situation. I wanted to stay next to the park but I couldn’t figure out what was the deal. Eventually, I found a nice b&b next to the Entrance ONE (it looked like the main entrance). There are a few hotels as well but during my stay, they all were completely booked! And all the properties in the area next to the park are slightly overcharging because they know they are your only choice. Staying so close to nature was amazing! I also felt extra tired because of the insanely FRESH air :)
The bus stop is just next to the Park Entrance. So, entrance number one is just on the road connecting Zadar and Zagreb. Easy! You can get one or two days ticket. I went for the latter one and it was a great idea. One day wouldn’t be enough! Also, the weather might be tricky: on my first day in the park I got caught by the massive rain in the afternoon and had to leave earlier. The second day was perfect and I enjoyed a remote hike far away from the tourist wooden paths. There are a few restaurants in the park, and the cute boats will take you over the big lake (this is included in price, but you might be asked to show your ticket) and the train is running in between the entrances (don’t expect to see the railways, the so-called train is actually a long bus haha). On the third day when I was desperate for the bus (which was running late) the rain was so heavy that I doubt anyone was exploring the park. Unfortunately, tickets are not refundable even if it rains. I can say I was very lucky!
I’m in love with Eastern-European bakery! Those twirls with spinach are my most favourite! A nice coffee and a few freshly baked goods every morning would keep me running until the very late lunch! And they were so cheap! Love it love it love it! And another Croatian discovery – white wine! Very tasty and somehow totally hangover-free! And those 1L bottles for 5-7 euros, oh, yes, please!
That’s kind of the main impressions from Croatia. Have you anything to share? Anything you would add? Please comment below!
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xx, love, Liza