alex & tash

CROATIA - DUBROVNIK & SPLIT

Croatia

Originally we were planning on signing up to Croatia sail, a week long cruise around the Croatian islands. As enticing as it sounded, we decided instead to sign on for the Ottoman Trek - a tour through Bosnia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Turkey. We had a few days to spare between Venice and the beginning of the Trek, so decided to spend it by the beach in Croatia. A fair compromise I think!!

Busabout dropped us off in Ancona, Italy - the biggest hole in the world. It’s a port town, so really not much to do there except complain about how there’s nothing to do. From Ancona, we boarded an overnight ship to Split, Croatia. The ship ride took about 12 hours, but went pretty quickly as we managed to find a few seats free a lie across and fall asleep easily! From Split we caught a bus along the Adriatic Coast down to Dubrovnik . By far, this was the the most picturesque bus ride we have taken so far. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous as the bus winded up through the mountains…

Dubrovnik was really cool. Surrounded by the old city walls, the Old Town in Dubrovnik is all cobblestones, winding alleyways and really old buildings. We purposely went exploring without a map, and stumbled across some cute restaurants, hidden beaches and an amazing bar that was nestled into a cliff. We spent a whole day at the beach and I got pretty burnt - woops! I was no match for the rocks in place of sand though - hurts so much!!

After a couple of days sunning it up in Dubrovnik we took the worlds longest bus ride back to Split - for some reason it took 2 hours longer than the ride in the opposite direction. Split is a cute, coastal touristy town full of food and clothing markets and some great bars and beaches. On our first afternoon exploring we ran smack bang into Cara who we met a few weeks ago in Belgium, so we all set off to conquer one of the mountains that was meant to have amazing views of Split, and the following days just lazed around the “beach” … tough life!!!

Dubrovnik, Croatia (Taken with Instagram at Dubrovnik)

Dubrovnik, Croatia (Taken with Instagram at Dubrovnik)

VENICE, ITALY

Bloody Bratislava in Stupid Slovakia

The not so great thing about Europe when you’re travelling is that on Sunday, EVERYTHING closes. If you wanted to pop down to the shops, check out a museum or hire a bike you will be out of luck. There is nothing to do on a Sunday. Our last day in Vienna fell on a Sunday. It was a gorgeous, sunny day outside and I was determined not to waste the weather by spending it inside the hostel!

The hostel receptionist suggested we catch the bus across to Bratislava, Slovakia- only an hour away. Awesome, I thought - I can check out a whole new country in a day! The receptionist printed off the bus timetable and a little map of Bratislava, and off we went.

Little did I know then, Bratislava is divided into Old Town and the New Town. The bus dropped us in the New Town, the dodgy industrial end of Bratislava. Everyone I had spoken to earlier in the week had gushed about how beautiful Bratislava was  - cobblestone streets, quaint little restauarants and a magical castle towering over the city on a massive hill. The Bratislava I saw was a hole.

Determined to find the castle we were supposedly be able to see from any point in Bratislava (lie), we set off on foot and a crazy tram system and eventually, about four hours after arriving we found the Castle in the Old Town. The OT was exactly what everyone had described Bratislava to be - gorgeous. Satisfied after a couple of hours exploring the Old Town and climbing the big hill to check out the castle, we decided to head back to the bus station before it got dark. After trying to retrace our steps, we quickly realised the tram system goes one way only - meaning we had to find our way back to the bus station (that we forgot the name of) on our own. And we had to do it before the last bus home to Vienna.

In Bratisava, NO ONE speaks English. NO ONE wants to help you and cabs WILL NOT stop for you if you try to flag them down. BEcause it was a Sunday, the city was pretty dead and as the sun began to set it got scarier and i started to panic. We had no idea how to get back to the bus stop and there was no one around to help us. There was no Plan B either!!! After about an hour (which felt like about 3), Mike managed to convince a security guard in an office building to call a cab for us. FINALLY the cab arrived just as it became completely dark outside and he was able to interpret from my bus ticket where we were meant to go.

PHEW! Saved!! Our happiness was pretty short lived when we realised we missed the last bus to Vienna and the next one wasn’t til 5:30 the next morning! By some miracle, I managed to get through to Tash (who was in Vienna) and she was able to get the hostel reception to direct us to the train station via a crazy bus ride in time for us to get the final rain back to Vienna. Very lucky - otherwise we would have spent the night in a bus station.

Lessons learnt - ALWAYS check the time of the last bus back (even if you’re tol otherwise- reception told me last bus was at midnight) and ALWAYS have a Plan B!!!!

Cycling through Munich (Taken with instagram)

Cycling through Munich (Taken with instagram)

Streets of Grinzig, Austria (Taken with instagram)

Streets of Grinzig, Austria (Taken with instagram)

Apple strudel… Delish! (Taken with instagram)

Apple strudel… Delish! (Taken with instagram)