This past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending my time in Croatia. I must say, it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen – and I almost missed it.
Let me explain – on Thursday, a small group of us heading to Croatia were to catch the 5:45 pm train from Perugia to arrive in Florence at 7:45 pm. We were going to Croatia through Bus2Alps, which is a travel company geared toward study abroad students (makes traveling a lot easier since everything is pretty much planned). We were supposed to be in Florence by 9 pm.
Well, 5:55 pm rolls around, and the train is still not there. Not very surprising – Italian trains are notorious for being ritardo (late). However, 5 minutes after that, the sign for the train changed to show us that the train would be 40 MINUTES LATE (good thing I had my book). We did not panic – we would still arrive in Florence by 8:30 pm, plenty of time, right? Well, at around 6:15, the sign changed again – this time it was left blank. Now panic was starting to set in. One of my fellow travelers went inside the train station to find out what was going on. When she came back out, she informed us that the train was not coming. The next train was going to come at 7:45, which would mean we would be 45 minutes late for the trip. We called our trip leader right away to inform her what was going on, to which she replied that she could not guarantee that they would wait for us, but that we should still wait for the next train. Great.
By 7, some of us were pretty hungry. There is a large supermarket across from the train station, so half of the group decided to go over to grab food. When my friend asked me if I wanted to come, I jokingly said, “Yeah right! Knowing my luck the train will come while I’d be gone.”
I really wished I hadn’t said that.
Sure enough, while they were at the supermarket, the original train (that was supposed to have arrived at 5:45 mind you) decided to show up at 7:15 with no notice. I couldn’t even believe it. I watched helplessly as the train approached – I couldn’t leave my friend behind, so I stayed back to wait for the 7:45 train while the rest of the group went on that train.
Once Emily came back, we could do nothing but wait for the next train, hope it would be on time, and hope that the bus would wait for us in Florence.
Luckily, they did
Once we FINALLY arrived in Florence at 9:50 pm, we sprinted to the huge, double decker coach bus that we were thankful was even there – and then endured an overnight 12 hour drive that was somewhat uncomfortable, but had an incredible scenic view of the mountains the next morning.
By 10 am Friday, we were finally in Split, Croatia and checked into our hostel at the Diocletian Palace (an ancient palace built by the Roman emperor Diocletian, which is now the city center of Split). At 11:45, Emily and I left to catch a ferry for the Brăc “Island tour” (Bus2alps said it was a tour, but a huge group of students essentially just went to the island to swim in the Adriatic Sea and played on a bunch of inflatable obstacle courses, but I’m not complaining too much ;)) We were there for a couple hours before returning to Split in the evening in time for the Pub Crawl (I only lasted at the first bar – I was way too exhausted to be up until 2 am drinking with everybody).
The next day, we awoke to pouring rain. While this meant that the Sea Kayaking trip was cancelled, Emily and I made the most of it and embarked on a shopping trip through the stores and the markets with our umbrellas. It cleared up later that evening so we were able to venture around and take some great pictures. For dinner, we went over to Trogir (about 30 minutes outside of Split) where we dined on prawns, mussels, clams, and cuttlefish black risotto (don’t knock it until you try it, it was delicious).
On Sunday, the final day of our time in Croatia, we left early in the morning and headed to Krka National Park. We only got to spend 2 hours there, but it was definitely my favorite part of the trip. It was so unbelievably beautiful – I could have spent the whole day there admiring the waterfalls and the forest. I had to have taken 100 pictures in Krka alone.
While the 12 hour drive back from Croatia felt longer than the first (simply because I was awake the whole trip this time – thank goodness, once again, for books), it was thankfully uneventful and we arrived back in Perugia without trouble.
Croatia was absolutely spectacular – I would go back again in a heart beat. So those of you who are thinking of traveling abroad, I would definitely try to go there if it is in your budget!
Hope you enjoyed this post!
Prima di prossima volta!