It feels like weeks have gone by, yet its only been days. Time moves slowly when you’re hopping on and off trains, boats and buses. Jay and I have cleared a lot of land. Our motto is, we came, we saw and we conquered. I’m thirsty for adventure, and each new train ride takes us somewhere more exotic, into a new country, a new city. Croatia is the only country we’ve managed to hang around long enough to really grasp the culture, food, currency and even language.
We stayed an uneventful, if not creepy night in Ljubljana, in an old prison cell. Yes, that’s right. It was a military prison until 1994, and has been ”tastefully” redesigned by numerous architects. It was still creepy, but kind of fun. We were locked in by two doors, one heavy metal, one made of bars. We had a tiny loft, one window and white walls. Luckily the 8 hour train ride from Budapest knocked us out, so we slept.
Besides Jay knocking off the side mirror on a poor, unassuming car (by accident), and unsuccessfully trying to find horse meat burgers (I managed to sway Jay away from eating any, with stories of sweet little horsies and gagging noises), Slovenia was calming and green. We made it to Zagreb and treated ourselves to two nights in a hotel…with a BATH! It was truly amazing. Thanks Dad for allowing us to splurge!
We were itching to head to the islands. So, we boarded the intercity train, that took us from Zagreb to Split through the Croatian countryside. Thankfully we never have to ride that again. Jay was green at the gills, and pretty grumpy. He felt very sick. I didn’t blame him. I’m not one to get motion sick, but even I could barely lift my head off the headrest, for the train was speeding along like a roller coaster, up and down, back and forth, rocking and licking the sides of the hills hungrily. It was a long 6 hours. But alas, the fresh air was healing and Jay felt much better. Split greeted us with sunshine and tourists. We stayed one night, and walked through Diocletians palace, staring in awe at the open air museum.
Hvar Island was a mere hour boat ride away from Split, and a magnificent experience. We stayed in the middle of Hvar Town, up a craggy pathway, into a small home with twirling staircases that lead to a beautiful little terrace overlooking paradise. Clean, turquoise water, Venetian style churches and spires, a rolling green hill holding a gray castle, cacti and jasmine blossoms, lizards and fish. It was just like Mexico, but better! I couldn’t believe it. We had a little kitchen to ourselves, so I grabbed some fresh gnocchi, juicy, sweet tomatoes, white wine, shallots, butter and rosemary, and made a mighty fine meal for us. The next day we wandered through the streets awash in the fragrance of lavender, and felt the sun beating us with its rays. I still feel the sun beating me actually, but luckily our day in Korčula is turning out to be a torrential storm, complete with thunder, lightning, sheets of rain like I’ve never seen before (imagine someone holding a bucket of water and tossing it at you’–for real), and wind. It’s rather fun being stranded on an island like this, nestled inside the castle walls, built to protect the tiny village from storms like this. Korčula is an honest to goodness pirate island, that has changed owners throughout the centuries. Around every corner we find damp and musty cellars, housing tiny bars, trinket stores, and many winding staircases leading to the castle walls. Stray cats wander everywhere and the sunsets are magnificent. At the moment we can’t see past the edge of the island, for the storm has churned the waters in a frothing, turquoise mess of waves and the mist is covering the surrounding islands across the water. But, we are happy sipping 9 Kuna cappuccinos with foam that would make any coffee critic swoon, with a view that inflicts goosebumps. Tomorrow we catch a bus to Dubrovnik (still don’t understand how a bus gets us off an island…) where we’ll be swept away by the beauty of the pearl of the Adriatic, I’m sure.