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137: to Split, Croatia. 2012/9/15

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[Croatia’s 2nd biggest attraction (according to LP) = photos.]

I got the bus ticket to Split yesterday and had to get up early for the bus at 7.10.  One of the two German girls I met the other day in the hostel – the one with a readily nice smile – soon showed up as well: she was going to Dubrovnik.

Upon opening my passport, the customs official immediately asked, “What did you do to your passport?” Yeah, he meant the photo and the glue.  I did expect to be detained for the fishy look of the passport re-issued in Warsaw, Poland, but it was still a bit much to shiver in cold wind for 20 minutes.  Again, the customs official asked whether I have any other photo ID.  To simplify my account in a reasonable way, I told him that I lost my wallet and don’t have any photo IDs left.  (I mean, gosh, what are these guys thinking?) I told him that, however, I do have scanned copies of those IDs and also a photo-less entrance permit for Serbia.  (Yeah, I know Serbians and Croatians have their bloody history, but I’ve got to try.)  And then I even showed him the police report registered in Kraków.

None was useful.  Eventually the official came out with a colleague of his; this colleague said that my passport is “no good.” I explained to him what happened and said there was nothing I could do, and this is indeed a valid passport.  At last, I got the stamp.

Since Bosnia and Herzegovina has a tiny bit of the coastline and essentially broke Croatia’s in two halves, we had to pass two more passport controls.  Luckily everything went only very swiftly.  At one point, we stopped at a restaurant with quite a view of the coastline, and there was a souvenir-slash-grocery store downstairs.  That’s where I saw our flag.  (Cf. this previous blog entry.)

A couple of days ago I tried my luck again to find a couch, despite the obviously very dim hopes in the Balkans.  I was very lucky to find one in Split! This host writes in his profile that it’s best to contact him just a couple of days before arrival, maximum one week, and that was exactly what I did.

As soon as our bus arrived, many locals came forward to offer private rooms (sobe).  I told them I don’t need one, but I’d like them to help me call a friend to pick me up.  In a short while my host Ivan appeared – this is a tall guy with a big smile and strong handshakes.  I felt happy and lucky to see a smile like this, and soon we drove to his pretty nearby place.  After dropping the thing, we went to a nearby café overlooking the harbor, joining two couchsurfers already there for a coffee.  One of these two is from Makao, so the conversation switched shortly in Mandarin.

Ivan told me that it’s a pity that I didn’t arrive one day earlier, since the day before they just had a rather precious CS meeting.  Many/Most people got drunk, including quite some girls, and Ivan ended up having two young girls in his bed – in a totally innocent way, mind you.  That is, if you consider two girls taking turns VOMITING into a big bowl between them innocent.  (Well, it indeed is.)  Obviously many participants of the party drank all kinds of shots.  I secretly thought that it’s lucky that I did NOT arrive one day earlier, since that is really not my scene 🙂

Earlier in the house Ivan told me that he lives here in winter, and during summer he rents the rooms out for some money, and in a couple of days some students will come check the rooms for a longer-period lease.  There’s to be a Belgium young woman coming to stay in the room next to mine, and since she’s a paying guest, Ivan told me to say that I pay 30 Euros per day as well.  Well, I’m pretty lucky.

Ivan told me that the regular exchange rate is 1 EUR = 7.4HRK, but as I walked around, I found that no place offers something better than 7.35HRK, so I changed probably 30 or 35 Euros, and knew that I probably have to make an ATM withdrawal tomorrow.  (I also noticed that there’re quite some Taiwanese.  Oh, what a thrill to hear Taiwanese and Taiwanese-accented Mandarin again!)

After the afore-mentioned meet-up, I went for my walk in the old town.  The town is really not very big, and since it was already 5pm or later, I went to a place Ivan highly recommended named Fife.  I guess it is not all that common that in Europe one is asked to share a table with strangers, (unlike in tiny eateries in Taiwan,) but obviously this place is so popular that we’re asked so.  Shortly after I sat down, a senior Swedish couple on my left-hand side started to talk to me, and later the Californian couple (mid-30-ish I assume) to my right, having heard of what I said about my RTW trip, started to discuss couchsurfing experiences with me.  Man, this is a real backpacker scene.  (To my ears Swedish sound a bit like Dutch, except not with many a nasty vowel in the latter.  Btw obviously there’re hundreds of Swedes in town, since they and this couple all took the same flight.)  Since the Swedish couple’s “mixed grill” plate is so gargantuan, they even invited me to try.  How nice!

After this dinner (or lunch-dinner, since I had nothing but some waffle cookies and chips on the bus), I started to have my walk, even though my cold started to catch up a bit.  The light was no longer the greatest, but even with my eyes, which already started to focus badly due to the fatigue, I could tell how the tiny entwining alleys have their charms (despite the horde of tourists, yours truly among them).

At the square in front of the theater I heard some cars honking, and that meant only one thing: wedding.  Soon a car succession approached, some men sat half outside the cars, and every single car in the succession honked.  For me it’s always fascinating to see a local wedding, and it’s amazing how many beautiful women there are: they all have lightly and beautifully tanned skin,  enticing features, ultra long legs, and very shape-accentuating dresses – and yes they have their assets to accentuate indeed.

After the walk I went back to my room, sparse yet with a very solid bed (thank you!).  At one point I wanted to get a bottle of red (despite the cold, yes), but I was too late and the supermarket was already closed.  Well, that’s obviously all for the best, considering my ever-expanding waistline.

Facing a major road with a mild slope, this room boasts quite a blast of never-ending rock concert of car engines.  And yes, this is in the “rock zone.” But even this didn’t deter me from falling asleep.

9/15記帳:1HRK = 0.135EUR, 1EUR = 7.415HRK, 1HRK = 5.195TWD
Kotor – Split公車:26+ 1EUR
零食:5.1 => 20?HRK(刷卡)
總計: 27 EUR+ 125.3 HRK = 1732TWD


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