|11:45 pm finally came around and was able to board a 9 hour train from Munich, Germany to Zagreb, Croatia. There were 6 of us crammed into a private cabin with 6 chairs. By 4 am the other four passengers had departed and we were able to convert the chairs into a bed like fashion to get a little sleep.
A little after 9 am we arrived in Zagreb to warmer weather a bit groggy. I was feeling a little under the weather with a sore throat and runny nose. We secured tickets on the next train to Split for 37 Kuna (Croatia currency) or roughly $5.
After storing our bags we found coffee and pastries at an outdoor cafe. Brian and I walked around Croatis biggest city for a few hours before shopping for lunch at a grocery store off the main park. We then headed for the park before boarding the 3 pm train south to Split along the Adriatic Coast.
We arrived after 9 pm and found our apartment relatively easily from the station. We are on the coast and it brings a bit of energy, so looking forward to the next 3+ weeks of it.
The 3 Turtles Bed and Breakfast was just 10 minutes from the station. There we met Marion, the brother of the two owners, that lived on site. Marion runs a 26 bed hostel in the Old City called Silver Center. We talked about real estate a bit before I took one of the better showers of the trip. That night we met a couple of Aussies that were on a free trip through Europe for winning a music magazine writing contest. There were coming from Greece and headed to Oktoberfest., so we shared some stories.
After a good nights sleep I put on my swimming trunks for the frist time and Brian and I set off for the beach. We found some nice beaches and unbelievably blue water. The Adriatic Sea is a the color blue, blue was intended to be: a beautiful, deep and rich blue that remained almost transparent. Afterwards we stopped at an outdoor cafe to read a paper and have the first bad beer of the trip, Kaltenburg.
We decided to grab some beers and cook in tonight. We grabbed some grocies at Tommys to go with a nice bottle of Merlot. Back at the B&B we seemed to have the place to ourselves, so decided on all of our immediate travel plans. Then booked flights to meet back up in Istanbul on 10/21. Brian is going to meet a friend from the states in Rome on 10/14 while I will stay to travel on through Greece.
After dinner we welcomed 3 cool British friends to the hostel: Darren, Jo, and Christine. They all just graduated from Canterbury Uni together and are traveling eastern Europe for a couple of months. We played 'shithead' drinking game with Bob's Dry Gin and Fanta while they taught us some great British terminology. I absolutely love the way Brits and Aussies talk along with their creative vocabulary.
Friday B and I found out the B&B was booked for Friday night, so we set dinner plans with our British friends and set off for Marion's hostel to check in.
We then went to book a ferry to start working our way down to Greece. A 630 am ferry would take us to two Croatian islands then to Dubrovnik and on to Bari, Italy.
It was back to the hostel after exploring more of Split's coastline and huge park on the North side of the city. At the hostel we showered and recruited some new friends for dinner at Fife.
As we met up with our British friends on the prominade, our dinner group had grown to around 15. We really had a great mix of people and had my favorite meal of the trip so far. We drank Lasko beer, ate fresh silver haver fish, grilled vegetables, and really dug our dinner group.
After lingering for good convo the majority of our group moved down the road to a cool upstairs bar looking out over the coast. The great weather during the day made for great patio weather.
As the clock hit 2 am we had to bar hop. We were lured to a beach front dance club. A short cab ride took us to Havana Club for aggressive dance moves with crazy dance faces in a full sweat til almost 5.
Arriving back at the room after 5 am there was time to check the email and grab our packs. We walked, zombie style, for 5 minutes to the harbor where we board the large ferry for Hava and eventually Dubrovnik.
I slept nearly the entire 7 hours from Split to Dubrov on the open floor of the ship. It was more uncomfortable that you would imagine but given the circumstances it didnt much matter where my body fell...I desperately needed sleep.
Our attempt at skipping the additional fare to Bari was foiled by a member of the staff, so we deboarded, purchased tickets and went through the Italian passport check and got right back on the ship starving.
The ship would leave at 4 pm to cross the Adriatic from Croatia to Italy.