Entering Croatia

Trip Start Jul 23, 2007
Trip End Aug 23, 2007

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Wednesday, August 8, 2007

As I retype this at 10pm at night, I am reading the Save Often notice at the top of the page. One day maybe I'll pay attention. I was trying to upload photos at the same time, which is evidently not appreciated. So I'll keep todays entry short.

I went to buy my ticket to Dubrovnik early this morning, and discovered that the buses only leave on Monday Wednesday and Saturday. I am now very pleased I wasn't able to delay my bus to Montenegro! As I board the bus, I'm a bit disappointed to discover it's nearly already full and there's no chance of me getting extra leg room. However... 5 minutes later, the bus driver comes on and shouts (from what I can gather) that there are so many people there are now 2 buses, one to Dubrovnik and one to Split. So half of us uproot again, get our bags, transfer them over, and I end up being the last one on the bus. As I get on, its clear there are too many people for the remaining seats, so I say a quick prayer and sure enough the man on the front seat (legroom!) realises he's on the wrong bus just as I pass.

The drive to Croatia is fantastic, we spend a good 45 minutes just driving around the Bay of Kotor, which is beautiful, the lake is like glass. The trip to Dubrovnik is only meant to take 2h20mins but we get held up at the border by problems with our passports. Even after we've got through the first checkpoint (in an hour), a border patrol comes on board to have a glance at our passports, and spots a problem with one of the passengers. He's taken off to talk to the border control, and 30 minutes later we're on our way again, minus one passenger. No consideration about how he's going to get back to Montenegro, he's just left at the border. Apparently he didn't have a Croatian visa.

The first think I notice when entering Dubrovnik is the blackened hill sides, smoking ground and burnt out signs. The forest fires only became under control very recently, so were were lucky not to have our journey affected. When I arrive at my hostel, the Dubrovnik Backpackers Club, I have just one thing on my mind the shower. I am not disappointed. Running water. Hot water. Clean bathroom. Nearly a power shower. No time limitations. I nearly cry tears of joy, I don't think I've ever enjoyed a shower quite so much. I am staying in Lapud, a suburb of Dubrovnik, where most of the hotels are. It has a relaxed holiday atmosphere, and is only a 7 minute bus ride to the Old Town. It also has many of the 'beaches' so I wander along the rocky coastal path for a while before catching the bus into town.

I cannot do justice to how busy Dubrovnik is. It's literally crawling with tourists. All taking identical photographs, using the same guidebooks, eating the same icecreams. There are guided tours everywhere, even in a Cathedral where the tourists are sitting in the pews listening to their not so subtle guide stand at the front and explain for the 12th time this month. I have to shuffle down the streets. There is a queue to walk around the city walls. It's like Oxford Street on a Saturday and I can't bear it any longer! I go back to the hostel for a nap (am feeling drained by the travelling and/or crowds) before finding somewhere in Lapud for dinner. I manage to find a bar/restaurant looking over the water so I sit on the sofa, eating spaghetti (trying to save the pennies) and watching the sun set. It's spectacular, and helps prepare myself for my inescapable return to the Old Town the next day.
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