Night Train That Almost Never Was

Trip Start Dec 29, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2013

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When we booked our tickets in Slovenia for the next leg of our journey, I specified that we wanted to arrive in Split on the fourth of July (and then we were taking the bus to Dubrovnik).  Because we were going on the night train, it should have been leaving Zagreb on the third of July.  Murphy's Law - the one time I did not double check the entire ticket when purchased, we ended up on the Zagreb platform at 11:20pm with a ticket for the next evening.  

It all happened so fast.  We got on the train, into our compartment with beds made and the boys tucked in, packs on racks, getting settled and then the other people came with the same bed numbers.   So we compared tickets, us being sure that the beds were double booked.  And then, we saw it - the departure date on the ticket was July 4th and NOT July 3rd. With only a few minutes before the train left, I desperately asked the conductor if there were any other spaces left on the train. He replied with a confident no, without even checking, I might add.  So we quickly threw all of our stuff into our packs and jumped off the train coach.  We stood on the platform and I thought now we have to try and get a room in the city for the night, try to cancel our first night hotel in Dubrovnik and all the other hassles that go with having plans derailed, especially so late in the evening. 

Another conductor popped his head out the door of the adjacent coach and asked if we were ok.  We explained the problem and he gestured for us to enter his coach.  So we did.  We hopped on and the train started moving.  We were in the back of the coach with a few fold down seats along one side and a wide open floor (the bike storage area).  I thought to myself it won't be that bad.  We'll place the packs and our sleeping bag liners on the floor and create a cosy bed for the boys and Jim and I could sit in the seats all night.  Thankfully the conductor walked through the car and found us a private compartment with six seats that recline together to make beds of a sort.  Se we were able to have a somewhat more comfortable sleep on an area about the size of our tent.  If you can call the stop and go jerks of a train for over seven hours comfortable!  And the compartment was nice and toasty hot so we had the window open and were lulled to sleep with sound of squeaky train wheels. 

We rolled into Split in the early morning, wondering if the first stop in the city was ours, the train having stopped at the previous few small towns.  As we rushed to get our packs on, the train started moving having dumped off thirty or so passengers.  We thought we would have to find a bus or something to take us back to the train station, which doubled as the bus station, to catch a bus to Dubrovnik.  We must have a little bit of luck though, as the second stop was actually the larger in the city and the buses were all parked and ready to go.  We purchased our bus tickets, grabbed some bread, meat and cheese at a convenience store for breakfast and had a quick bite to eat before boarding the bus for five hours.

The bus ride wasn't that bad, even for the amount of time it took as we had beautiful scenery and a pukey boy up front to keep us entertained.  At least he wasn't ours!  We got to travel a bit through Bosnia on the way and had a little stop to use the loo and purchase snacks. 
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grandma on

that is an amazing adventure! I am sure the boys were very excited at least you did not have get off the train. WOW

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