At the Car Wash

Trip Start Jun 08, 2010
Trip End Aug 26, 2010

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Flag of Croatia  , Primorsko-Goranska,
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today I got my car washed. I know it's just a rental car, but it was new when I got it. The outside was starting to look pretty messy, and it didn't seem like it was going to rain in Croatia anytime soon, so I couldn't rely on an assist from Mother Nature. Also, there were a lot of car washes in Croatia, or at least they did a better job of advertising than in other countries, because I was noticing them all over the place, even before I thought about using one.

It turns out Croatian car washes are basically the same as US car washes, or at least the one I went to was. They've got those big automatic washes that move your car through a tunnel. There are a few differences, though. First, an attendant power-washed my car with soap and pressurized water. After that, it didn't really seem like there was a reason to go through the machine, but they sent it through anyway, maybe it applied a coat of wax.

I wasn't allowed to drive my car through the machine wash myself. In fact, in Croatia nobody was in the car when it's being washed. The attendant drove the car up to the start of the automatic belt, then he sent it through sans driver. The walls were glass (or probably transparent plastic) so I did get to watch the car move along its journey. The car was in neutral and little rollers behind each of the car wheels bumped them to push the car through. One odd thing was they left the car running the whole time. I'm sure it didn't waste a measurable amount of gas, but it seemed unnecessary.

Today was mostly a driving day. I did spend about an hour in the town of Krk before leaving Krk island. It was the standard, port-with-small-basically-medieval-old-town town. After that, I left the coast for Croatia's interior. There were two routes to my destination: fast and indirect, or scenic and indirect. There wasn't a direct path because there were some mountains in the way. I chose the scenic route.

I drove down the coast for about an hour, stopping for lunch at my last chance for a sea-side meal before heading inland. I ordered a "tomato salad". I was picturing diced tomatoes with some sort of seasoning and/or dressing, maybe on a bed of lettuce. Or if things went really weird, I thought I might get some sort of "tuna-salad" version of tomatoes mixed with mayonnaise. What I got was a bowl of plain tomato wedges. They were good, ripe tomatoes, but a little less exciting than anything I had envisioned.

The trip through the mountains took even longer than it looked on paper. The problem was giant tractor trailer trucks and people in campers also used the two-lane scenic road. It was a full two lanes, so there were no space problems, but the road was steep and twisty in places, and the semi's and campers were having trouble keeping their wheels moving. At one point, I was stuck behind a tanker truck pulling two tanks of gas.

As with most of these things on this trip, what seemed like a big inconvenience, turned out for the best. Because I was stuck going 20 km/h, I knew I wasn't going to make it to my destination in a timely manner, and pulled off at a scenic overlook to take a break. It was an absolutely amazing view, and the last of its kind before I started down the mountain.

I know my picture won't do it justice. In the foreground, was a valley, then a set of hills, then the sea, then a few large islands with hills, then the sea again, then what looked like more islands or possibly Istrian Croatia on the other side of the bay just barely visible through the distant haze. On my way back to my car, I noticed a small fort at the top of the hill that looks like it was from WWI or WWII. Before leaving, I had a brief chat with a lady at a road-side stand trying to sell me a wheel of cheese larger than my head, one of the many cheese stands I passed today, and continued on my way.

Tonight and tomorrow, I'm staying at a great guest house run by a really friendly Croatian woman. I ran into a little trouble trying to find it, though. Because Croatian town names don't mean anything to me, I have trouble remembering them, so I usually just make up some gibberish reading that sounds vaguely similar to an English word. Usually, I come out okay, but this afternoon I stopped two towns too early, because both names started with "Rad". I was going crazy until I realized the town name didn't actually match the address I was looking for. D'oh.

There are two pigeons fighting outside my window now. I hope they don't try to come in... Darn screen-less European windows.

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