The rest of this awesome coast

Trip Start Aug 28, 2006
Trip End Aug 31, 2007

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Monday, May 14, 2007

Okay, I am smushing the rest of croatia into one entry because I am getting behind.  Travelling with someone else makes it hard to go in to use the internet, there are more fun things to do!  But it is totally raining today and we are fed up and the museums are closed now. 
So, we didn't realize how good we had it with the weather, it was so picture perfect everyday.  We drove down from the national park, almost ran out of gas, and made it down to Zadar.  walked around the town a little, lots of roman ruins, and then hung out at our hotel, where the owner just wouldn't stop talking and he showed us all of his fruit trees in his backyard (sound familiar?) They are very into having an arbor over the driveway covered with a kiwi vine.  looks good, and delicious. everyone has one.  We drove the next day down toward Split, stopping in some nice little seaside towns on the way.  Every town is so picturesque, full of cafes and places to sit on a rock and stare at that awesome aqua water.  We can't get enough!  We had directions to get into split from the rental car place, but of course we got lost...the girl was nice and came and found us and led us back to the office.  After following her there we realized there was NO WAY we ever would have found it so we didn't feel so dumb.  Split is a big place, but has a cool old town that we wandered and I actually ate an ice cream cone! soooo good, the hazelnut is the best.  It was too hard to resist, people here are born with an ice cream cone attached to their hand.
We took a ferry the next day to the island of Hvar.  beeeautiful.  stayed in a place where you could walk down to a little lounge area on the water, read, swam. it was totally great and relaxing and a good break from just walking on cobblestones all day.  We tried rakija, the local brandy, some made with fruit, some with herbs, it tastes like liquid fire.
After two nights there we took the ferry on to Dubrovnik, that was a long one, seven hours. so we could hang out more and read, look at the view.  Dubrovnik is a beautiful walled city that was under attack in the war, but is totally repaired now and FULL of tourists.  We walked the walls and had some nice hang out time in outdoor restaurants.  We were met at the ferry by my friend Cathie's friend Marybeth's friend Marko, who is croatian and does trips for tourists (his company  He was great, set us up with a zimmer( we were hoping to get a zimmer from a widow, but this was just as good) with vine covered terrace with a view of the walls and the sea. NIce, thanks Marko, thanks Marybeth, thanks Cathie!  Marko's brother Goran (marko, earthy boat guy, goran, super slick, couldn't be more opposite) took us around on our last day to see some views and to a great country inn style restaurant where we gorged ourselves on local food.  Lamb on a spit anyone?
The exit from croatia was not as fun.  We had it in our head to go to Sofia, in Bulgaria, but there were no direct ways to get there.  I think because of the break up of yugoslavia, they have not reestablished all the transportation connections.  Noone could help us.  Finally marko figured we could get a bus to Beograde, then make our way to sofia. Way out of the way, but the only way.  So, hopped on the overnight bus, great, had to change in Mostar (bosnia) and finally got off at 7 am in belgrade, serbia.  Needless to say there were a record number of passport checks, crazy.  We were sooooo lucky when we got to belgrade, a train was leaving for sofia 40 minutes after we arrived.  Bought our ticket with dinar that we ran and got out of the atm, which we had know clue as to the value. jumped on the train, full of toothless characters and men in bad suits ( one guy forced his menthol candy on us, we gave him a cookie) Soooo so  tired, but made it to Sofia after 24 hours...finally!
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