Tranquility for as long as you can get away with..
Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
46Trip End Sep 29, 2009
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We have pretty much spent the last week or so swimming in the crystal clear waters, driving the length of the country down to Split and then back through the countryside. Croatia is so underdeveloped with hundreds off little towns and farming communities its a old comparison but it genuinely feels like stepping back in time.
Not really having a plan for Croatia other then just taking it all in was perfect for this country, we followed a rough route we found in a tour brochure visiting towns and national parks they stopped off along the way, we would have continued to Dubrovnik after Split but we felt a bit like we were just ticking boxes to say we'd been there, if we weren't heading back north to meet Dad we may well have carried on south but a 600km drive there and back just from Splt seemed a bit to much.
The country at the moment is predominately visited by Germans they seem to have kept it quite and managed to keep the place pretty much to themselves. We stopped at a site that seemed exclusively for them, they weren't very friendly for some reason, maybe they though a British invasion was finally on its way! The site had its own private beach, what you don't get in Croatia are sandy beaches, but for our money a few rocks on the shore and hundreds of km's of secluded coves, with hardly anyone around more than makes up for it. Who honestly likes sand in every nook and cranny anyway!
A friend commented on how he would charter our progress by the local cheap booze on offer and we predictively have found each local tipple to be the cheapest on offer, so far its been pretty much wine all the way but now we've hit eastern Europe its a welcome return to cheep beer. Every night this week we have nipped to the local equivalent of Tesco that always has a large hilled beer section and buy a 2lt. bottle of the local brew and sit on the shore watching the sun set, sorted. We even managed to sit near all the posh cafes along the coast front in Split, when your traveling and saving money there is nothing better than enjoying the same experience at a fraction of the cost, with the only difference being drinking out of plastic glasses!
We had done pretty well with free parking (4Stv) that week, while sleeping overnight in your van is not strictly allowed the locals don't seem to mind and we'd found some amazing spots most notably in a place called Marina near Split where we stayed two nights as we had the perfect view and the lovely cool water to dip into every now and again wen it just got a bit to hot.
So as we headed back to Slovina on our last night it was unfortunate we finally had our first brush with the law, we were about 10km from the border and found a spot that overlooked Slovina and Italy. It seemed a fairly secluded spot and we settled in and had some dinner. Then a police car pulled up and decided to run a spot check, probably realising what we were up to they just wanted us to move on. Looking at our passports he asked how long we had been in Croatia, when we said a week he told us we should have reported to a police station to let them know how long you intend to stay, I thought thats what border control were suppose to do when they stamp your passport? For some reason our passports weren't stamped on entry so we were apparently illegal immigrants with no right to be there?! Great, "sorry officer we were just having tea and then heading back to Italy anyway..." "car papers please", he then had a good read over our documents, (his English was annoyingly good), after a few minutes he then declared our insurance was invalid because Croatia is not a member state of the European union.
Now I thought I checked this before we left but it seems we'd overlooked this little matter, I felt pretty sick in my stomach at that point, he was talking about a night in jail and I didn't know weather to laugh or cry! He finally let us off with a warning and said he'd be gone for a hour and when he came back we shouldn't be here. That was fair enough so we left Croatia pretty sharpish and back to a spot we knew in Italy, It was a sad but in retrospect funny way to end our Croatian leg and a relief in hindsight that nothing bad happened.