Caught in a Whirlwind
The past 13 days have been crazy from being based in Dubrovnik and going to Bosnia and Montenegro, to flying to Pula, to taking an early morning bus to Trieste, to day trekking to Venice, to two trains and a bus to Ljubjlana, and one last train to Zagreb. It’s been crazy, but it’s been awesome.
Okay back tracking. From Belgrade my mom and I flew to Dubrovnik (on a Monday). There we soon came to find out that my mom booked quite the interesting hotel. You see we were staying in apartment living, but what we didn’t know was that the apartments were up 162 steps and then to get back down to the street you had to walk down all of those steps (my mom has bad knees so she counted). Normally, 162 steps wouldn’t be that bad, but when you have a medium sized suitcase that ways over 50 lbs and you have a full hitchiker type backpack on your back it can be pretty difficult. Once you made it up the stairs and caught the breath, you could see the view from our room which was absolutely gorgeous and definitely worth all of the stairs. We spent our first night in Dubrovnik booking a couple of tours and going to an absolutely delicious restaurant with another beautiful view.
On Tuesday we headed on a tour to Mostar, Herzegovnia and Bosnia. Now, you have to understand something I don’t particuraly like tours right now. Personally I would much rather buy a map, get some local currency and walk around exploring. To me, at least at this moment, that is the best way to travel. However, my mom and I decided that we had so much time in Dubrovnik and that it would be nice to go to some other places. The drive was like an hour and a half or two hours to Mostar due to border control and such. I was really sad because I didn’t get any passport stamps. I know that sounds silly, but it’s nice to be able to track where you’re going. Mostar is well known for this bridge that connects the city which is split due to a river. One of the cool things to see besides the bridge is that there are guys near the bridge that will stand around collecting money, once they collect enough money they will jump from the bridge into the river (the bridge is pretty high up). It was quite interesting and we actually got to see someone jump. There are also a lot of shops carrying different types of souvenirs, some are the typical things you would expect – postcards, magnets, etc. However there were some really cool handmade jewlery places and I got myself a bracelet. I really enjoyed Mostar and I honestly really want to go back to Bosnia sometime soon (Plus I’d LOVE to go to Sarajevo).
Wednesday was spent on a tour of Montenegro. Specifically we visited the bay of Kotor, Kotor and Budva. The Bay of Kotor was splendidly brillant (this is me attempthing to use other adjectivies, I know I use gorgeous and beautiful a lot, so i’m trying to branch out). The old city was quite cool as well. You had to entire through the city gate but there were a lot of cafes to sit at and churches to look at if you felt like wandering around. My mom and I spent some of our time lounging at a cafe so I could grab lunch (delicious salmon!) and write some postcards since the post office was right across the way. We also wandered around the city until it was time to catch the bus. If we had more time I would have loved to walk up the walls behind the city. If you look up while facing the city you can see walls that connect the city to a church but also extend upwards on the mountain that is behind the city. We then headed to budva which is known as party capital USA. I spent the entire time on the beach. It was nice to have a slower day plus the water was the perfect temperature against the hot sun.
Thursday we headed into the incredible walled city of Dubrovnik. In the morning we walked along the walls enjoying the view of the Adriatic Sea as well as the rooftops of Dubrovnik. It was quite interesting to have more of an ariel view. In the afternoon I got to go SEAKAYAKING, which made my week. It was a three hour tour in which you kayaked (in a double kayak) to a cave where you went snorkeling in the sea (the fishes were really cute) and then went kayaking around an island to see the sunset before heading back to shore. The walls of Dubrovnik were outstanding to look at from such a close and outside perspective. The island was also very interesting to kayak around we went past a nude beach and into a very large cave before finishing going around. The island is well known for its nature and even has a botanical garden. There were also a ton of people at different points on its coast jumping into the water and going swimming. I absolutely loved this tour and would really recommend it to anyone, it was even at a pretty great price all things considered!
Friday afternoon we flew to Pula which was one (if not the) city I was most looking forward to. Pula is well known for its roman influence and architecture, which is probably why I was looking forward to it the most (if you haven’t caught on yet, I’m in love with Rome). We got in late Friday night, so we spent all day Saturday exploring Pula. We got to see the roman amphitheater which was really cool as well as a castle and some other known sites. There were a lot of Italians there and I was really starting to feel like I was home, it was a great feeling. I honestly wish I had spent more time there, and will for sure be heading back there in the future.
Early Early Early Sunday Morning we caught a bus from Pula to Trieste a little before 6 am. I don’t remember how long the drive is actually.
A fun little thing I love about Italy is how easy it is to day trip. Back home in NY, you can make NYC a day trip, it’s a 2 and a half hour train ride down and then another one back. That’s about the same as the distance from Trieste to Venice so we decided to do it on Monday. Well boy is Venice a completely different city. First of all it was the first day on our trip it was foggy in the morning, it’s been sunny and over 95 degrees Fahrenheit pretty much every day before then. Also, Venice is filled with canals, I had heard all about the city but seeing it is much different. It was really intriguing though! We saw all the main points including Piazza San Marco and the Rialtto Bridge. My mom and I also discovered the Jewish Ghetto of Venice. I had no idea that the Ghetto was the oldest one in the world. Also, considering that Italy is catholic the ghetto was pretty large. There are five different synagogue representing Jews of different ethnicities there. There is also a delicious restaurant called Gam Gam. My mom and I ate there and I swear it was the best falafel/hummus I’ve had outside of Israel.y was, but we drove through Croatia and Slovenia to get to Italy. We spent the day wandering around Trieste, thankfully the hotel was willing to take our bags before we checked in. We saw the grand canal as well as this huge square. The square is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the worls because it’s huge and three sides of it faces the city while one faces the sea. I will admit, it was pretty cool. Unfortunately because it was sunday and it was august in italy quite a few things were closed (a lot of italians go on vacation during august so shops can be closed down for the month and such).
Wednesday 8/22 we went exploring around the city of Ljubjlana since our train wasn’t until later that day, again the hostel was nice enough to let us leave our bags. We got to see the Dragon Bridge which was cool along with the castle of Ljubjlana. I also got to eat three large containers of raspberries, I was quite happy (I LOVE raspberrie so much). I really wish we had been able to see more of the city. I think it’s a really nice city and the slow pace of it just adds to its beauty.
By Wednesday night we were settled into our hotel in Zagreb.
Anyways, I feel like I’ve come full circle. I’ve been up since 5 am for a job interview and to see my mom off to the airport. And my carry on bag is yet again strewn across my floor, but this time in my hotel, waiting for me to pack it. I can’t believe I meet up with my program tonight, but until then I get to explore the city.reb after quite a long train ride and ready to go out into the city on Thursday. Thursday we spent finding my next hostel since I’m meeting up with study abroad program today (EXCITING) and going to the museum of broken relationships. I know the name sounds strange and why would anyone go there, but the museum is actually a really intriguing concept. Basically people send in an artifact/memento from an old relationship and write a story about the artifact and how it relates to the relationship. I’m not a big museum person, but I would certainly go back to this one. I’m even thinking of sending something in. If you’re interesting their website is http://www.brokenships.com I highly suggest giving it a look.
Anyways, I feel likeI’ve come full circle. I’ve been up since 5 am for a job interview and to see my mom off to the airport. And my carry on bag is yet again strewn across my floor, but this time in my hotel, waiting for me to pack it. I can’t believe I meet up with my program tonight, but until then I get to explore the city.