Monday, 8 September 2014

Croatia: Chapter 4 - Dubrovnik

Good evening, it is I LeClerc!

So I was at the bus station in Zagreb wasn't I? Well so we could go round the city without them, we left our suitcases in the luggage office earlier that morning. However given our issues with the tram we were running rather late to get our bus at 12.

At 11.51 we got off the tram at the station. Ami bolted to the luggage office and I hastened (I had both handbags and enough food and drink for 2 for the next 10 hours) to find the bus and stop it from leaving without us. It was platform 403. I was at 101. Damn. Following the numbers up I got to 208 at 11.53 and it stopped! Panicking mildly I dithered. 11.54. In my dithering I spiraled round in frustration and noticed a bus going round the corner. Could there be more bus station round there?? There was! Pegging it along I found 403, explained I was waiting for someone else and got on the bus so I could make a fuss if they tried to leave. 11.56. I then worried if Ami would not be able to find the platform either but she must have spiral dithered (my signature move) as well as she arrived at 11.58. Phew.

About 3 hours in to our journey I was well engrossed in Stephen Fry's Moab is My Washpot while snacking on chocolate wafers the bus started making an odd noise. It pulled over to the side of the road but there was no hard shoulder so we had to continue again. The noise got louder. About 5 miles down the road we came across a stopping point. It was a random car park at the side of the road with nothing in it.

Ami was settled so I left her and went outside to see what was going on. Not a lot really. The bus drivers were looking at the front wheel so I presumed that was the issue. The younger one went and changed his crisp white shirt, got out some tools and attempted to unscrew the wheel. Nothing. At one point he was bouncing up and down on the lever and even his approximate 18 stone had no effect.

Best game series ever!
The other guy must have been phoning for help and soon another lurid pink bus arrived with even bigger drivers! I'm not sure why they have to be pink but this company was. So The Dainty Lady II came to our rescue and started to take the wheel off but it took all 4 drivers so I was reassured that one of the other wheels wasn't going to spontaneously fall off or anything; those suckers weren't going anywhere! During this unexpected non-bus time I made friends with an Aussie lad and got some tanning in accidentally as I noticed the backs of my legs were burning where I had been watching the wheel change for too long.

Anyway back on the bus and now near an hour behind schedule we got back to the road. The next few hours were largely uneventful. The food got eaten. The olives leaked. That was as exciting as the bus trip was. However just after dark we were stopped and everyone had to show their passports. This confused us a little bit but upon later examination of a map we realised that the bit of Croatia that has Dubrovnik in it isn't connected to the rest of Croatia! What's with that?! Anyway who I now assume were boarder control came on board and took away the Aussie boy with all his stuff. He reappeared about 15 mins later. Random check? Mafia drug lord who bribed the officers? Ninja assassin who left none to tell the tale? Who knows.

We arrived in Dubrovnic at goodness knows what time and set off to find our accommodation. We soon came across a hill and still mentally scared from biking up a mountain the day before we went back to the station and got a taxi. The taxi dropped us off seemingly nowhere. Not outside one of the houses but outside an ally with stairs disappearing away in both directions. He told us to go down the stairs. Slightly creeped out we stood on the pavement and found money. When I looked round there was a pale thin old woman silently standing right behind me. I honestly nearly screamed. She had long wispy grey hair and a long dress. I don't think she made eye contact but I VERY quickly moved out her way and she glided past.

With the woman/ghost gone we started down the stairs. We were very tired and it was very late. This is a bad combination when you have suitcases and have to go downstairs. Bang-bang, bang-bang, bang-bang, the poor locals heard our suitcases hit every single stone stair. About half way down a woman came out of her house and I thought she was going to shout at us. But instead she maternally inquired if we were looking for number 6 and when we answered that we were she phoned the lady we were staying with and showed us where it was.... back up the stairs!

Thankfully, the hostel owner came out and took one of our cases and between us we managed the other and finally made it to our room. She gave us some guide books and some home made lemonade and we gratefully went to sleep.

That feels like more than enough to have written today! I will talk about what we did actually in Dubrovnik tomorrow.

Night night