(5) Split to Vela Luka, Croatia: Hitchhiking gone bad

Oh dear, what a day. I had hoped to get Dubrovnik today, which would have been easy if I had just taken the bus, but I really wanted to get out on a ferry and see the islands and coast from the water.

There used to be a ferry that travelled from Split to Dubrovnik, but the ferry company was having some financial difficulties earlier this year, so no go.

This should have been easy to do, if the first ferry left in the morning. I could then catch a bus on my destination island to the other side, and then a passenger ferry and another bus to Dubrovnik, but it was not to be. The ferry didn’t leave until 2:30pm (which ended up being a catamaran in which you wouldn’t be outside during sail, which was the whole point of me taking it!!), and when I arrived on the island, it turned out today was a holiday (Labour Day) and there were no buses to the other side of the island (40km away).

I was in the same boat (literally and figuratively, pun totally intended) as two travellers from Boston. Chelsea and Bryan (?) were on a year long trip, and were camping as much as they could. We three thought it would be smart to hitchhike to the other side. I mean, who wouldn’t want to pick up 3 backpackers with huge packs? Well, as it turns out, no one does. We had walked about 5km before we sensed this impending doom. The only car that had even slowed down for us turned out to be a car full of nuns. They gave us a little honk.

After 5km we had reached the turnoff to the next town, of which we didn’t know the accommodation situation, or the bus stop situation, plus Chelsea and Bryan wanted to camp by the beach, and this town was not on one. So we parted ways. I successfully hitched back alone to Vela Luka, where the ferry had originally dropped us off. I found a sobe (like casa particulares in Cuba; homestays) and had a fabulous mussel risotto dinner by the ocean before hitting my hot shower and comfortable bed. I suspect Chelsea and Bryan, who had continued on when I turned back, had a different end to their day. I hope they got to where they were going.

(4) Split, Croatia: The empress and her new clothes

I’ve been on the go for over 5 days now, and today will be the last one with this set of clothes. I only have two sets of clothes (plus pajamas) with me – 2 shirts, 2 pants, and 2 different thicknesses of fleece.

Sure, it may sound rank wearing the same clothing every day, but thus is the life of someone that lives out of a 30L bag.

My day this morning started in a bit of a panic – I caught my 6am bus only by a few minutes because the reception at my hostel slept in accidentally. The ride was a lovely one, especially as we moved through the less populated Hercegovina. The area reminded me of Kelowna, or northwestern Vietnam. I actually wrote in my journal that some of the towns reminded me of quaint European towns, after which I reminded myself that these were quaint European towns.

After arriving in Split and finding a hostel (Silver Gate Hostel – I highly recommend), I explored the historic area. Much of the Croatian coast was developed with fortified Roman cities in the fırst millenium, and the Roman complex (built at the turn of the 4th century) in Split is the focus here. The old city was lovely, but what was craziest was though although this is a protected area, you didn’t just find tourist stalls around in and outside it, but the place was absolutely full with homes, stores and cafes. It was just like an extension of the modern city outside the fortress walls. Totally bizarre.

There was also a great walk around and up a forested hill overlooking Split, complete with fragrant flowers. Met a few other travellers, and shivered my way through some great conversation with two Swiss (it gets chilly at night!). More – you guessed it – walkiıng the next day and planned out the next step in my journey – Dubrovnik.