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Croatian Adventure “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do... Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

24 hours on a boat

CROATIA | Thursday, 30 October 2008 | Views [683]

walking the wall...

walking the wall...

The drive into Dubrovnik from Split was very spectacular and of course enhanced by the discovery of a great supermarket! Isn’t it weird how life can revolve around a good cup of tea and familiar pantry products?

We made our way to the old city, stari grad, as all we knew about our apartment was that it was close to the old city. Never having been to Dubrovnik before this didn’t really mean much. We were delighted to discover that we were indeed only 5 min walk from the Ploçe Gate and better still our apartment was just above a great beach and the weather had turned it on for us. After finding somewhere to put the car (for free, naturally) we hit the beach and all went for a swim. The beach became a major attraction over the next few days and it was hard to resist the temptation of lying in the sun and swimming but we managed to squeeze in a few sessions between sight-seeing and touring.

Montenegro was the first item on the agenda as it is so close to Dubrovnik. Ruby was really excited to go there because it is where Casino Royale was filmed. Monday morning we were in the car by 9am – pretty good going for people who have been on holiday for 6 weeks! The border is only 45 mins drive from Dubrovnik and we made it in good time. Passports at the ready we went through the Croatian checkpoint and proceeded to Montenegro passport control. Passports handed over, ‘but where are your car papers?’. Whoops, left them in Dubrovnik, so Montenegro was no go! Nema problema, girls were happy to go back to the beach and on the drive back we discovered an Aldi so all was not lost. And as a consolation prize the girls and I went to see Mumma Mia in a little cinema in the old city. It was just as good as the first time even though the seats were a bit hard and the change between reels was a bit rough.

We did manage to get to Montenegro the following day and had a wonderful day driving around the bay of Kotor. We stopped in Kotor to explore the stari grad and decided to attempt to climb up to St John’s Fort, maybe just have way. In the end Murray, Eva and I climbed to the top – there were so many oldies doing it we just had to! Once again, we discovered OH&S is no big deal over here. The climb was steep (and hot) and the steps were broken and crumbling with no hand rail. We are constantly reminded how over regulated we are and how much we try to protect people in spite of themselves at home!

When we got back down I decided it was time to attack the on going headlice problem with some heavy duty gear. We went into the chemist and Murray decided the best way to explain what we need was to describe it as ‘flies in the hair’. This created much hilarity in the chemist and of course they knew exactly what we wanted.

Dubrovnik is a very charming city and it was also our first direct experience of the civil war. Unbelievably the old town was heavily shelled by the Serbs with nearly 80% of the buildings a direct hit. Apparently the Serbian Army was prepared to completed destroy a city which has survived for centuries if not for the intervention of Bill Clinton. He let the Serbs know that if they bombed Dubrovnik the US would not be able to sit on their hands. Seems as though history has more currency than human life. (We are now living in a town that was under the control of the Serbian Army during the war but, more about that later.)

Dubrovnik was also the official end of our holiday so we decided to celebrate with a 24 hour ferry ride all the way back to Rijeka. We were up early to finish packing and be on the boat by 8. It was a struggle for the us girls (me) but we pull through and we were waiting in the que for the boat right on time. We managed to find good seats by a window taking up two tables but unfortunately in the smoking section and right next to our new friend Nancy. Nancy introduced herself within minutes of us taking our seat but was a lovely lady from San Diego, who is travelling through all of Eastern Europe and was keen to swap travelling tips and stories which were quiet interesting. The time on the boat went very slowly after the first 50 minutes we were knew in for a long 24hours, with having already played most of the various games we had bought to keep ourselves occupied. After lunch, time seemed to pass faster, mum and dad went outside to read and we watched harry potter on the laptop. From a distance we pasted Duboka bay, which we never thought we’d see so soon. We arrived in split, stopping for two hours, which we took as a chance to get off the boat and strech our legs, We didn’t go far when we spotted an interent café, so decided to stop in for a check the emails instead then back on the boat for dinner and bed. When we got off the boat at 7 the next morning we could tell that our summer holiday was finally over as it was cold, raining and winds that could easily knock up off our feet. We stopped for 3 hours in Rijeka, then moved straight on for Dads family in Donji Vidonvec and Legrad where we spent the weekend visiting Dads rellies.

Of course, everyone was very happy to see us again especially as they thought we would probably never come back to visit! Murrays Auntie,Teta Angela, moved from her daughters home in Ljublijana to their family home in Donji Vidovec for the summer. It was great to see inside his fathers old home but we were all a bit nervous that our home in Gvozd may also be as basic! She has made it very comfortable and is obviously very happy living there. Slavica was also happy to see us and sent us off to Gvozd on Monday morning with a fresh chicken, walnuts and apples all from her garden. We left Legrad in a thick fog and cold cold weather and headed for the motorway and Gvozd with promises to return again soon or get together for a weekend in Zagreb.

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