Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Long Trip Home

The final days of our European Adventure were spent in Dubrovnik and Montenegro. I’d been looking forward to Dubrovnik as I had heard nothing but good things about the city. I loved everything about Croatia, so I didn’t think there was any way that this city could be disappointing. Our arrival was everything I had hoped it would be. The walled city looked amazing and I loved watching the cruise ships pull into the harbor.

The main street in the Old City

I was over my love of the city by the second day. It didn’t occur to me how many tourists were on each of those cruise ships until they swarmed into Old City. I’m not a fan of crowds to begin with, and there were two massive ships each day. The overpriced kitsch mixed with hoards of people and hot, sticky air was overwhelming. Our landlord asked what I thought of the city and when I responded that it was “ok,” he laughed and said that he won’t go anywhere near the Old City unless it’s the off-season.

On the fourth day, we hopped on a bus and headed south. Our bus was a few hours late, which wasn’t a big deal, but then we blew a tire on the Croatia-Montenegro border. Changing a tire on a bus is much more difficult than our crew expected, but luckily a truck driver helped out and it only took a few hours. Meanwhile, the border guards were trying to contain 60 people from various countries, none of whom wanted to stay in the designated space. Herding cats is an understatement.

We made it to Hercig-Novi, were we found a driver who was happy to take us the rest of the way to Tivat. He started the engine of his glorified van, moved two parking spots to the left, and then walked away. Not a good start…

Eventually he came back and took us an hour further down the road. Air conditioning consisted of leaving the door open. Then he parked on the side of the road and gestured for us to join him in another van, which we did because really, what other option did we have?

We finally made it to Tivat and began the long hike to our hostel, which did not have the AC we so desperately needed at that point. After spending 9 hours traveling 65 miles, I was in no mood for a rickety fan, wasps, and a flooded bathroom. Surprisingly, we ended up meeting some great people and had a really good time that night, even with the less-than-stellar accommodations.

We booked into a different hotel that advertised AC the next day. They warned us that the hotel was still “under construction” but we underestimated what they meant by that. We literally stayed on a construction site.

Four stars?

Always an adventure, but at least they had AC! Their work ethic was insane; they ran that jackhammer from 7 am until 9 pm.

We flew home the following day. I have never been so relieved to drop a bag down on my kitchen floor. I’ve always thought that I wanted to travel full time, but I had no idea how exhausting traveling can be. After a month of lugging a 45 pound bag around the Mediterranean, I was done for awhile. By “awhile” I mean 2 days, because that’s how long we had before our next big adventure: flying home to visit the family for a week!

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