Travel is Unpredictable: Adventure Day 10

I’d title this blogpost with my actual destination, but I feel like that would be false advertising as I actually spent pretty much no time in the place I ended up spending the night, and therefore don’t feel like I can give very good advice about it.

So,  I may have already mentioned in past posts that my experiences with Croatian and Slovenian buses varied. However, the one company I had a very bad time with was Flixbus, which was a pity because I found their website probably the easiest to use and they seemed to have quite a few options.

One of the reasons I made this statement was because a few days before this particular bus ride, I was informed it was cancelled. Rather than simply refunding me, the company asked me to call them (which is always fun when you’re roaming internationally) and get things squared away. I had no luck getting through to anyone and decided to just book another ticket and hope maybe I’d be refunded another time. Tickets at least aren’t too pricey.

So, as a result of this change, I had to take a later bus to get to Zagreb, my next destination. I’ll admit I’d given myself minimal time to begin with, mostly because the guidebooks I’d looked at hadn’t mentioned anything particularly exciting about the city. Other than being Croatia’s capitol, there wasn’t much that really excited me, especially after seeing some amazing historical sites like Zagreb and Split, and beautiful towns like Bled and Ljubljana. The main reason I chose to go, was that it would cut down on my travel time to my final destination of Budapest, where I was schedule to fly back to the states due to good deals I found on tickets. However, the bus change did effectively cut off the minimal time I had even more so.

Travel does involve some flexibility. So I decided to simply enjoy the fact that I could have a more leisurely morning up at Lake Bled. I enjoyed breakfast at my hotel, and then walked around the lake a little bit in the sunshine.

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After a little bit of meandering I headed back to the bus stop. I had to make my way back down to Ljubljana before I could head to Zagreb.

Again I enjoyed the ride through the mountains with beautiful views on that particular sunny day.

Arriving in Ljubljana I was supposed to only have less than an hour to wait for my bus. I used the bathrooms in the train station (actually free–which in Europe is a bit of a novelty), and grabbed something to drink from a vending machine so I would be set for the bus.

However, the bus ended up being more than thirty minutes late. I boarded, heading up to the second story (as it was a double decker which I thought was fun). I had to shoo a lady out of my pre-booked seat, and felt a little bad, but as I had paid more I wasn’t going to be nice about it.

After that we set out. I listened to an audiobook and enjoyed the views out my window. And then we hit the border.

Now, this was March 11th. Coronavirus had just begun to spread worldwide and was beginning to create some panic. My mother in fact had messaged me mentioning that the US was shutting down borders, worried that I might not be able to get home (as I’m writing this at my house in the US I’ll go ahead and assure you that I did manage to get home safely).

And of course, this meant that in Europe borders were getting tighter as well.

At the border we sat there for maybe thirty minutes on the bus. They kept shutting off the engine to save energy, making it very stuffy on the top level. We got out of Slovenia no problem, but at the Croatian border, we were held up for a while.

Finally we were allowed off the bus to get in line to hand over our passports.

I watched in horror as five people ahead of me were pulled aside and told to wait. I could barely breathe as I handed over my passport, wondering if I too was somehow going to be pulled back. I hadn’t been to Italy or other places facing pretty extreme cases, but I wasn’t sure what their criteria were for pulling people.

Instead, I was waved through and headed over to wait with the rest of the passengers. We watched on as two of those held back were sent over to us, and then the other three were left standing awkwardly by the immigration booth. Two girls who looked maybe my age or younger, and then a young nun wearing a facemask. The three of them stood waiting for maybe fifteen or twenty minutes. I felt awful for the three of them, probably unsure what was happening. I was at least glad to be off the stuffy bus for the wait, even if I was watching the time and wondering when I’d be getting safely to Zagreb.

Sure enough, a few minutes later the girls came back over to join us and began to gather their bags from the bus. I eavesdropped a bit and heard that they had been told they needed to go into quarantine and could not pass the border. I guess both of them were from Germany, where the numbers of infections were higher at the moment, and for that reason weren’t being allowed into Croatia.

The bus driver, did at least kindly drive them (with all of the rest of us) back over the border and dropped them at a gas station and then did a loop to go back through.

The whole process was disconcerting and scary. I breathed a sigh of relief once we were through, but it put us more than an hour late on our schedule.

We arrived in Zagreb late in the afternoon, getting into evening time. Of course, the tram was packed with commuters, but I shoved my way on with my suitcase and paid for a ticket with the driver regardless.

Thankfully, a few minutes later we were in the commercial center and I was able to disembark and go find my hostel.

I was staying right across from the cathedral, which was beautiful. I did snap one picture of it before heading inside. Interestingly enough there was an earthquake there not long after my visit and I read that the cathedral suffered some damage. Even though it was a brief glance, I am glad I saw it before the quake.


I stayed in Kaptol Hostel, though I went ahead and paid for a private room rather than doing a dorm. I’d opted to treat myself on the trip and pay a little more for privacy and a good night’s sleep.

Once checked in I put on some clean clothes and headed out to find a nice dinner. As it was my final night in Croatia, I wanted to use up all my kuna before heading over the border yet again.

So I headed out to find food. I’d asked at my hostel for a recommendation, but unfortunately they owned a restaurant down below and would only recommend that one to me. So I set off to find my own. Which is how I ended up at Restoran Lanterna na Dolcu.

I was the only one there, but they had good reviews, and the food sounded good. I took a seat down in their fun old cellar and had a glass of Croatian wine.


For a starter I had baked štrukli which was delicious. It’s a traditional Croatian dish with pastry dough, cream, cheese, and bacon. Super decadent and delicious!


For my next course I ended up with steak, yet again with mushrooms and vegetables. The waiter for some reason recommended I get a side of potatoes with it, which ended up being way too much food. But it did effectively use up my kuna. Unfortunately that left me with not enough for dessert, and besides I was pretty stuffed anyways.


I paid my bill and then wandered around a little bit. I found a grocery store and picked up some lunch for the next day since I’d be on a bus about midday.

Then it was back to my hostel for a good night’s sleep, figuring at least in the morning I could maybe go see some things after breakfast.

Unfortunately, just as I was going to bed, I happened to check my email and sure enough had an email from Flixbus saying my ride the next day had been cancelled.

Less than 24 hours before I was scheduled to leave, they went ahead and cancelled my ride with no explanation. Again, I’m going to advocate based on my experiences with this company not to use them. They seem to be very unreliable, and they definitely messed up my time in Zagreb due to their unpredictable changes.

I looked over my options for alternate buses, and of course I could either leave very early in the morning, or late evening and get in after midnight. I was very disappointed about the prospect of literally getting no time in Zagreb, but knew arriving so late would be a bad idea. So I reluctantly booked a new ticket for 8 in the morning and rescheduled my alarm.

So as you can see, I cannot speak to Zagreb as a city. Due to unforeseen circumstances I didn’t end up getting to do anything more than walk around a bit, eat some good food, and sleep. Maybe one day I’ll get to go back, but that’s just part of travel. You can’t plan for everything and sometimes just have to go with the flow.


Rijeka is Full of Surprises: Croatia Day 6

So sometimes on trips, you end up staying in places not because they are something you really want to see, but because they make for a convenient stopping point on the way to other important places.

Rijeka was one such stop on my journey. After doing some research about Croatia and learning that many of the coastal and island towns shut down during the off season, I realized I would either need to do more things inland or find another place to spend my time. While there are some inland sites in Croatia worth seeing (for example the Plitvice Lakes, Zagreb the capitol, and others), I read really good things about Slovenia which is right next to Croatia.

In order to get there from the lakes, it would be a long bus ride, so I figured I’d stop in the coastal town of Rijeka. I had not heard anything very good about it, in fact Rick Steves pretty much just said it was a grubby port town, but there weren’t very many other options.

Well, I woke up early to make my journey by bus. Of course, to my delight it was pouring rain once again. I hauled my suitcase down the trail to the National Park where the bus stop was. I stood under the shelter shivering, suddenly wondering if this was the right place. No one else was there, and there was no sign of the bus, even though my ticket indicated the parks were the start of the route.

I was just about to give up and figure I’d misunderstood where to catch my bus and had missed it, when suddenly around the bend appeared a bus! I quickly went up and got loaded on. I curled up in the warm seat, shedding my wet layers and laying my umbrella near the heater to dry. I was the only one on the bus which was very strange!

We stopped shortly after at the other park entrance and picked up another passenger. I was relieved to know that apparently the bus did stop at both bus stops, which would have been nice to know before panicking.

The ride wasn’t too long, but it remained rainy and gray, so not the best for enjoying the scenery. But before too long, I arrived in Karlovac where I was going to catch a transfer bus to Rijeka.

I had a short layover (do you use the term layover for buses?) before I was able to board my next bus and continue on my way.

The sun had appeared again by the time I made it to Rijeka. I disembarked towards my hotel, not expecting much.

I arrived at my hotel, right off the port called Prima 4 Rooms. It was one of my pricier stays just because of the location, but it was well worth it to be so close to everything.

I dropped my things and then took off to go explore.

The first thing I enjoyed was just wandering around the old town, especially the small market very close to my hotel. It was fascinating to me because Rijeka had a lot of charm to it. The architecture in particular was very beautiful. But, for whatever reason it was kind of grubby. Just a good washing could really help them with their image. But nonetheless, I still enjoyed looking around.

After that, I decided to head up to the castle. I always love exploring local castles, and this one was free to enter! I figured that was a win win.

It was a long climb up to the fort. I took a few breaks along the way and just enjoyed the views. But at long last I arrived at the top and was able to enter the castle.

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There wasn’t a lot to explore, but I walked around a bit and then settled at the cafe in the center and enjoyed a cup of coffee.


From there I wandered over to the nearby church and monastery and peaked in. I always enjoy seeing cathedrals. I know some visitors to Europe tire of them after a while, but to me each one has something unique to offer.

From there I headed down the hill and back into the center of town. I decided to do some more wandering and see what else there was to see. I actually found that Rijeka had some good signs in the historic area offered in a variety of languages. I looked at another cathedral and then also found a cool old tunnel from WWII that was open to walk through.

After all of that I took a little break back at my hotel and did some research on where I wanted to grab dinner. But there was one more thing I wanted to see. The Maritime Museum in town was supposed to be interesting, but also housed in a beautiful palace. It was open until 8 PM, so I figured I’d stop by before dinner.

I arrived at the museum and asked for a ticket. However, the man at the desk informed me sadly the museum was closed for a wedding. He told me I was welcome to look at the maritime and temporary exhibits, but wouldn’t be able to tour the palace itself. Graciously he offered to let me in for free as a result.

I was a bit disappointed, but figured I’d go ahead and look around at what was available anyways. I’ve seen some much better maritime museums before, but this one was still nice.

Thankfully, by the time I was done wandering around the exhibits, the man ran up to grab me and let me know the wedding was over and I was welcome to see the rest of the building!

It was indeed beautiful and I enjoyed getting to see it. Highly recommend the museum to anyone spending a day in Rijeka!


After I finished wandering, I headed back off to go find some food.

I stopped at Maslina na Zelenom trgu (Olive on Green Square) which looked good and had some decent reviews. I started off with some homemade hummus which sounded good, though was maybe a little too much for one person to eat on her own.

My main course I settled on having pizza. For those who don’t know, as Croatia is pretty close to Italy they do tend to have a good amount of Italian food as well as their own more traditional dishes. Besides, the pizza was supposed to have a local sausage, sheep cheese, and caramelized onions which definitely sounded unique compared to what I’d find in the US. It did end up being delicious!


I paid my bill and walked around a little more. I bought some Croatian brand ice cream at a grocery store and ate it on the way back to my hotel. Then it was off to bed, knowing I’d have an early morning ahead of me as I set off to Slovenia!

Stay tuned for more adventure posts ahead!

Lost in the Lakes: Croatian Adventure Day 5

Okay, I’ll admit that the title is a bit misleading, but day two at the Plitvice Lakes was a bit of an adventure! Make sure to check out my first day at the lakes here.

I woke up that morning to find that there was pouring rain outside, much to my disappointment. I had breakfast in my room with some yogurt and fruit I’d bought at the supermarket the day before, and some instant coffee the hotel had provided. It was my one hotel that didn’t have a breakfast included (a priority for me when I choose places), but the location was just too good to pass up on without renting a car.

Now, I’d done a bit of research the day before, and realized with surprise that the upper lakes were closed for trail maintenance. Once again the off season was thwarting my plan. I probably should have chosen to do just one day at the lakes, but unfortunately it was too late to reschedule at that point, and with the limited hours it probably was good I had made sure to give myself enough time in the event of a delayed bus or some other problem.

I noted there were some other trails in the park, though perhaps not quite as impressive as the lakeside ones. So I opted to enjoy the lower lakes again in the morning, going backwards on the route I’d taken the day before to enjoy some different angles of viewing. And then after that I’d try to take a hike in the woods. With any luck I was hoping the rain would stop by that point.

After bundling up in my fleece and rain jacket, I headed out. I hiked down to the park, caught a shuttle over to entrance 1 and then proceeded to hike down into the canyon and enjoy the lakes.

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I was soaked by the end of my time there. The sun was peeking out, but I was feeling pretty cold. I opted to go get a cup of coffee at one of the cafes and relax there while drying off.

Once I felt a little warmer, I opted to try to do a hike. I took off into the woods, heading up hill. Supposedly I might get some views of the lakes from some of the nearby peaks. I figured I’d do the trail loop and then catch the shuttle back to the entrance.


Of course, as I started up the hill rain started again. I debated turning around, but hoped maybe it would clear off.

The trail had a few painted markers on the trees, which I hoped would keep me from getting lost. I had noted as I continued hiking, I didn’t see any other people or signs that anyone else was hiking the trail.

As I headed up I kept waiting to reach a switch back that would take me further up the mountain. But I kept hiking straight ahead and had no sign of a switchback.

Now, not going to lie, I definitely started thinking of worse case scenarios. But I kept it together and realized maybe it was time to just turn around and head back. The trail was getting rougher, and I figured it was better to go back while I could still tell which direction to go.

Once I had gone a ways I did find my way back to the real trail. I had completely missed the switchback and kept going straight on what was probably an animal trail, or maybe just a route other people have taken that isn’t official. I started heading up the trail. It was still sprinkling off and on. I’d been hoping to have a picnic lunch at some point, but with the continued rain, I opted against it and just had some trail mix.

I reached the summit. Unfortunately I didn’t get a view of the lakes which I’d been hoping for, but still felt pretty accomplished.


I enjoyed the view before looking at the time and realizing I would be pretty rushed if I wanted to get all the way back down in time to catch a shuttle before the park closed at four. The whole getting lost and off the trail had cost me some time. With a heavy heart, I opted to just head back down the same way I’d come.

Thankfully I didn’t lose my way a second time. I got back down to where I’d started safely and then hiked back to my hotel.

I relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and then went to the bistro in my town for dinner again. Unfortunately, there really weren’t any other good choices.

I had a burger made from a local type of cow and with some unique cheese and toppings. It wasn’t great, but again filling and different.

Then off to bed from there, excited for another amazing day ahead.


Off to the Lakes: Croatia Day 4

From Split I had planned to head to another one of Croatia’s most famous places. Now, before I picked up some local guide books, I’d never heard of it. But it turns out it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and pretty famous place in the country. Pictures of it made me eager to make it a stop on my trip. Which was how I ended up heading to Plitvice Lakes National Park.

For those like me who have never heard of it, let me just tell you it’s a beautiful natural area with sixteen lakes that cascade through a limestone canyon. The park provides several trails and boardwalks around the lakes, shuttle service, and boats to get across sections.

Of course, first I had to get to the park, which is inland. So I caught a bus from Split heading in that direction, enjoying the beautiful countryside along the way. The company I used was a smaller Croatian company called Promet Makarska. It was the only time I used their service, which I ended up being very glad of. They made several stops along the way with breaks. Which was nice for using the bathroom or grabbing food if you wanted, but did result in the trip taking longer than I’d expected. And of course, being the off season the park closed at 4, not letting anyone in after 3 PM.


The only good news was the bus staff were very kind. I knew my hotel was slightly outside of the park in a town called Mukinje. It was a slight walk to the park, meaning if the bus dropped me off in the park, I’d have to walk back to my hotel, and then back to the park again. Which was unlikely to happen in the amount of time I had. But, when I asked the staff if it was possible to stop in Mukinje instead they very kindly agreed and even warned me when my stop came.

I walked to my room for the night which was Eva Luxury Rooms & Apartments. I met with the owner who let me in and then dumped my stuff as quickly as I could, grabbing what I thought I’d need for my time in the park and then took off running hoping to make it to the entrance before 3. It was probably around 2:30 by that time.

To my relief, the walk was mostly downhill, so I was able to go quickly and arrived in time to show my two day ticket I’d already purchased and get in the gate.

The weather was perfect. Sunny and clear. I was so unbelievably happy that I’d made it in time to spend a short time enjoying the natural beauty of the park.

I took one of the boats over to the far shore and began to work my way around the lower lakes. The lower ones have some of the more impressive parts, including the Veliki Slap (Great Waterfall), the biggest in the park.

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As someone whose last two trips had been to Colombia and Costa Rica, I wasn’t too sure how impressive the Veliki Slap might be. It’s definitely not the biggest waterfall I’d seen, but was still very beautiful and actually larger than I think I’d anticipated. The lakes themselves were crystalline, the canyon that housed them impressive. My only regret was that as it was early spring, most of the trees were still bare. I definitely hope to go back some day when things are more lush.

Having finished the trail, I caught a park shuttle from Entrance 1 back to Entrance 2, which was closer to my hotel. I then hiked back to my room and had a relaxing rest of the afternoon, doing some laundry and having some coffee.

Unfortunately options for dinner were extremely limited. Without a car I was forced to rely on what was nearby. The town I was in was puny, and while the park itself has a few restaurants, many were closed for the season, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to hike through the dark woods anyways.

So I settled on going to Bistro Vučnica one of the parks restaurants that was actually located in my town, and was supposed to be a little more budget than some of the other options.

I had pizza, which was at least filling and enjoyed a local lemon radler (beer with sparkling lemonade… it’s actually one of my favorite types of drinks). Though it was probably my most mediocre meal of the trip, I knew that that was part of the experience, and I was at the park to enjoy the nature rather than the culture like some of the other places I’d chosen.

From the restaurant I headed back for some good sleep, exhausted from all my hiking. I was excited for another day ahead enjoying the beauty of Croatia’s natural wonders.



Exploring Split: Croatian Adventure Day 3

The next morning I had breakfast at a local cafe associated with the room I was staying in. From there I walked around the old city a bit before going to meet up with a tour guide for a walking tour I’d scheduled.

To my surprise the tour guide showed up, but no one else did. Apparently being the low tourist season I was the only one to book a tour. So it became a private tour! Very unique experience, but actually quite fun. My guide took me places he said he’d never take a group, would duck into the occasional shop to let me taste something, or notice something that caught his attention and would point out that he might not normally. We spent a lot of time in the heart of the old city where the Diocletian Palace (a Roman emperor’s palace) is located, which is pretty amazing to see.

After the tour I went to the Split City museum. It was pretty small and not very interesting, but cheap and the building it was in was sort of fun at least.


Once done with that, I bought a few things at the grocery store for a picnic and breakfast the next morning (I was leaving too early to get breakfast at the cafe).

I took my food down to the Riva, which is a beautiful seaside promenade with palm trees. I sat and people watched while I ate, and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh sea air. I had hoped to do some island hopping, but unfortunately with the off-season I was unable to book a seaside tour, and I think those operating were worried about the weather potentially being poor as well. It was a bit disappointing, but I did at least get a little time to enjoy the sea.

After that I did more wandering around the city. I also paid to go into the cathedral and the baptistery, which used to be a temple to Jupiter. Both were very interesting and worth the ticket to get in.

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I finished off the evening with a little more time around the old city before I took off for Marjan Park again, thinking I might get a good view of the sunset. It ended up not working very well, as I wasn’t willing to climb to the top of the hill again. I did see a Dalmatian though, which I thought was funny considering I was in Dalmatia itself (the region of Croatia). I ended up climbing back down the hill and enjoying the sunset from the port instead.


Since the sun was down, I went to find dinner. I ended up at a small local place that hand wrote their menu daily depending on the ingredients they had. I had a lentil stew to start and some meatballs with sauce and mashed potatoes. Very hardy traditional food that was enjoyable and filling.


I wandered the old town a bit in the dark, and enjoyed seeing the beautiful sights all lit up. The cathedral had a choir and organ practicing and it was delightful to hear standing outside.

With that I headed off to go to bed and get ready for another eventful day of traveling ahead of me.

Time to Split: The Croatian Adventure Continues–Day 2

I couldn’t resist a Split pun, because of course my next trip destination is Split, Croatia!

I woke in Dubrovnik to pouring rain. I gathered my things, put on my raincoat and headed off to the nearby bus stop to catch a ride to the autobus station where I could catch my bus to Split, a city north of Dubrovnik.

Now some might ask why I didn’t just rent a car. I will admit driving is one of my least favorite activities even in my hometown. On top of that, it’s very cheap and pretty easy to get bus tickets in Europe, saving some money. And of course once you’re in the big city it’s usually easier not to have a car anyways and to rely on public transportation. Which was what I opted to do.

Now, I consider myself to be fairly adept at utilizing public transport, but I will admit city buses tend to be the form that gives me the most trouble. So, thinking I’d be proactive I asked the driver if the bus was going to the autobus station. He nodded and I went back and found a spot to stand with my suitcase.

I kept an eye out on my phone to try to see where approximately I might need to get off. However, I watched in surprise as the bus zoomed right by the autobus station. I had a brief moment where I thought maybe the bus stop was a few meters further down the road, but as I watched my dot on the map moving out of Dubrovnik and heading for the next town in the metropolitan area, I realized I had clearly missed my stop. I pressed the button to request a stop and watched as the bus driver looked back in time to see me and throw up his hands in disgust.

I got off at the next stop, finding myself back in the pouring rain. I had left early thankfully, but looking at my phone it still approximated at least a fifteen minute walk back to the station. I was just about to panic when I realized my bus ticket covered transfers, so I could technically go over to the stop on the other side of the road and catch the bus back into town.

Thankfully, another bus pulled up shortly after and I managed to get off at the appropriate stop. I breathed a sigh of relief before going to find my bus to Split.

I used several different bus chains during my travels, but my first I started with was Arriva. All in all they are actually my top recommendation for anyone travelling by bus in Croatia.

I spent the drive listening to audiobooks and looking out the windows. I actually found it kind of fun because we drove through Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Due to how the borders are drawn Croatia actually is not all interconnected. Bosnia has a small strip of shore access at the city of Neum. So delightfully in driving from Dubrovnik to Split you get to stop to cross into Bosnia and then maybe ten or fifteen minutes later you get to stop to cross back into Croatia. Interesting experience to be sure.

Other than that the drive was uneventful. I arrived in Split in the early afternoon and thankfully it had stopped raining. I found my way to my room for the night called Ziggy Star. It was interesting because I had mistakenly assumed it was some kind of hotel or b & b but it actually was just a single room in the old town, not unlike an airbnb. It did come with the advantage of breakfast at a local cafe in the morning though and was altogether a great location for a stay.

After my stuff was dropped off, I decided since the weather was so lovely I’d take advantage of the sunshine and head to a local park. Marjan Forest Park is a coastal hill right near the main city that you can climb for fantastic views as well as beaches and fun wandering trails.

I ended up spending several hours wandering the hill. I think I ended up walking about eight miles. It was fantastic. The views were beautiful and I even dipped my aching feet into the Adriatic (it wasn’t warm enough for anything beyond that).

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Tired out I took a break at my room and then cleaned up to go to dinner. I decided to try Bokeria, a restaurant in the old town I’d heard good things about. It ended up being one of my favorite dinners of the trip.

I had a “bruschetta” which was actually pears with Gorgonzola, balsamic glaze, and nuts on toasted bread. Then for my main course I had “ravioli” which was more pastry like rather than like pasta filled with wild game meat. And then for dessert this yummy little white chocolate raspberry coconut treat. And of course a glass of local Croatian wine as well!

After eating well, I headed back to my place for a good night’s sleep.

Thanks for reading about my second day of my adventure! Hopefully I will have more up soon.

I did have a question on my last post which was “Why Croatia?”

Well, the most simple answer comes down to these criteria. I wanted a place that:

  • I hadn’t been to before (you can check my “about” section to see what countries this ruled out).
  • Somewhere I’d feel somewhat safe as a female solo traveler (I mean someday maybe I’ll take more risks but for now that pretty much took Africa, South and Central America off my list).
  • Somewhere that wasn’t in a crisis (meaning no Australia with their wildfires or Asia with the COVID19 crisis– it hadn’t spread to Europe at the time I was planning my trip…).
  • Somewhere not outrageously expensive.

Croatia ended up fitting all of those things pretty well at the time. It’s a pretty safe country. In the off-season it’s not quite as expensive. And I’d never been there but had always heard good things. I found a pretty budget flight and the pieces just all fell together!

Feel free to ask other questions and I’ll do my best to answer in the next few posts.

The Spontaneous Adventure Begins: Dubrovnik

Hello everyone. I know it’s been quite some time since my last blog post, but I haven’t been traveling as much now that I live in the States again. However, I recently had a pretty fun spontaneous vacation and have had several people ask me to blog about it. And since I’m currently in isolation due to the COVID-19 situation, I have some time on my hands.

A little more than a month ago I was feeling a little bit drained from my daily life. I keep some travel photos by my desk at work, and I remember looking over at them and thinking how much I could use another adventure about now.

Which was how I very spontaneously decided to purchase plane tickets to visit Croatia. I had two weeks of paid time off saved up at my job, a decent amount tucked away in savings, and as it was March and therefore the off season, I knew I could find things for much cheaper than I would normally.

Of course, when I booked all this Coronavirus really hadn’t become the pandemic it is now, or I obviously would have chosen to postpone my trip to a better time. But it did make things kind of an adventure, which I hope to elaborate for you here.

The first stop on my tour was Dubrovnik. For any who don’t know, its a beautiful UNESCO protected city on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, surrounded by strong fortifications and filled with history. For any Game of Thrones Fans, there was some filming done there (I am not personally a GOT person so cannot attest to everything the city has to offer– but it definitely has upped the popularity of Dubrovnik as a travel destination).

I’ll skip the boring travel details for you. I flew from Seattle to Frankfurt and then down to Dubrovnik from there. It was a long two days of travel. So I was pretty exhausted when I arrived in the evening. But even then, as my taxi driver delivered me to the walls and dropped me off to walk to my hotel (as there are no cars allowed in the old city), I was pretty awed by what I saw.

Driving in at night really served to highlight the beauty of these strong walls surrounding the old town. They looked so impressive lit up.

The town itself was completely quiet as I snuck down to my hotel. I stayed in a cute bed and breakfast called Andio (meaning angel in Croatian) tucked back in a street in the old town.

Needless to say I turned in for the night, and woke the next morning ready for an exciting day.

When I opened my blinds I was delighted to see sunshine. Rain had been in the forecast before I arrived, and it had been pouring on my way in that evening. Thankfully the sky was clear, making it the perfect day to get out and explore.


I had breakfast at my hotel before taking off for the city walls. It is, after all, one of the most famous parts of Dubrovnik.

Once up on the walls, I had fantastic views of the old city and the sea. It was pretty warm in the direct sun even in the spring, so I cannot imagine doing the walls in the summer. For any visiting in June-August I recommend some sunblock and going early in the day!

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Nonetheless, I continued walking the walls, getting all the way around the city and taking a bunch of photos. Please enjoy them if they will load for you. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen!

After that, I met up with a walking tour. I’d originally booked a free one. For any who haven’t experienced free walking tours, they are some of the best things to do in a new and unknown city! You meet up with your guide, do the tour, and then tip what you feel is the appropriate amount based on how good it is. I’ve done a couple dozen at this point, and have never had one I felt was “bad” and many that were simply excellent. However, due to the off-season and lack of interest, my free tour ended up cancelling on me last minute. So I had to book with an actual paid tour company instead, though it ended up being worth the money. I showed up and to my surprise only one other person was there! Our guide Ivana walked us around the old town telling us more about the history. I learned a lot and had fun.

Once we were done, I decided to take the cable cars up to the top of Mount Srd (got to love Croatian words without vowels… no it’s not an abbreviation of some kind). It had fantastic views over the old city. Unfortunately it was cold and windy so I didn’t linger for very long.


I spent the rest of the afternoon just wandering the city enjoying the sites. And then I went to find dinner. My tour guide had recommended a restaurant just outside the old city called Dubravka.

I had fresh squeezed orange juice (you might notice some oranges in the pictures above… definitely a good local fruit option), and then a steak with a mustard and gin sauce. It was pretty delicious! On top of that I loved having views of the walls from my table!


After a fantastic first day I turned in for the night. I was ready for the next day of adventure ahead. You’ll just have to wait for my next post to read about it.