Thursday, October 9, 2014

Croatia and Montenegro: Water, Pizza, Water, and Burek

I'm really bad at updating. I'll never have a really great cool informative blog and I've come to terms with that. Information is boring, anyway, right? Right? Will add pictures later!

Zagreb, Croatia

After Ljubljana, we took a bus to Zagreb. The bus was coming from Munich and was an hour late. All we did in Zagreb was walk around and eat at a vegetarian restaurant, which was pretty great, since we got to eat some actual vegetables. I don't care what congress says, pizza does not count as a vegetable....

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes is one of Croatia's most popular destinations due to its brightly colored lakes and many waterfalls. We got a late start as usual and didn't get to Plitvice until late in the afternoon. We stayed at a guesthouse type place, which was really nice and cheap, and the owner insisted we have two shots of homemade rakija when we got there. There was a pizzeria nearby where we ordered a veggie pizza, and it literally had frozen vegetables sprinkled over it (corn, diced carrots, peas...?) but it was somehow really good. We were hungry? Pizza in Croatia is really good in general, in my opinion. 

The following day we went to the national park and, although the weather was pretty foggy and drizzly, it was really beautiful. The trees were all changing color and the lakes were blue/green with super clear water. Steve figured out how to change the shutter speed and aperture on his camera and was taking nonstop pictures of the waterfalls with that blurred water effect. 

We also went on a hike in the forest around the lakes and it was kind of terrifying. The informational sign about the trail said there were wolves and bears and it was insanely foggy. I expected to see Slenderman at any moment. We made it out alive, though, and in time for our bus to Zadar at 5pm.

Zadar, Croatia

Zadar is a city on the coast of Croatia with a lovely old town and some "sea organ" steps leading down the to water that play "music" as the waves come in. We tried to go swimming from the steps, but I was too scared to get in. I kept thinking there had to be a body down there (no, I don't know what's wrong with me). Steve found a bar that was playing the Tottenham game and I tried Agwa de Bolivia, an herbal liqueur made from coca leaves among other things.

Split, Croatia

We only meant to stop over in Split for the night, but it sounded like there were fun things to do that I didn't do the last time I was there so we stayed another night. Diocletian's Palace truly is an enchanting place at night. During the day, we went to the outdoor market before walking up to a viewpoint, then went swimming. 

There were two Canadian girls staying in our four-bed dorm room who were the rudest dorm mates I've had in recent memory. They were storming around, talking loudly and zipping things late at night without even trying to be quiet. I knew they were Canadian before Steve even asked them, because there are way too many Canadians who think they can do no wrong because they're not American. It makes no sense to me. It's never even occurred to me to poop in someone's luggage before, but I gave it a good long think.

The night before we left, the hostel was offering free vodka, so we had some of that with a few other people staying there. Steve was hungover and/or ill in the morning when we left for Dubrovnik. I made breakfast for him and then made him wash the dishes.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

The bus to Dubrovnik goes through Bosnia very briefly. We had a 15 minute break there where I was reunited with a snack-sized bar of my beloved halva. It was a joyous occasion.

Dubrovnik is famous for its beautiful walled old town on the Adriatic and is the first place we've been so far--and we went to Venice!--that really seemed ruined by tourism. The last time I was there, I remember being annoyed by the many tourists and high prices. Well...that was nothing compared to this time. It was an absolute zoo, and the prices had gone up probably 30%. I can't complain too much, though, considering I'm also a tourist ruining things. Like last time, it was the best place so far for cappuccinos. Also, the worst for gelato. Just don't even try. Ah, what a difficult life we lead. 

We had a nice meal at Nishta, Dubrovnik's only vegetarian restaurant, and visited Buza, a bar located on some rocks about the sea through a hole in the wall around the city. The rest of the time was spent getting annoyed at people stepping in front of as we were walking along and just stopping and making us walk around them.

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor is another city with a walled old town and is nowhere near as busy as Dubrovnik, even though it is set in a place at least as beautiful (the Bay of Kotor, an inlet surrounded by mountains). We decided to stay two nights since Steve isn't feeling well and we wanted to hike up to the fortress on the mountain behind the old town. The hostel staff told us about a side route to get up without paying the 3 euro entry fee, which was a little longer but goes by some really nice scenery. 

I finally feel like I'm really back in the Balkans here in Montenegro. BUREK! SO GREAT! Eurocreme block chocolate bar? Awful. I LOVE IT! That is all.

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