A Travellerspoint blog

Hvar & Split, Croatia

25th - 30th June

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A Hvar Sandwich!!

Onto Croatia and starting in Split which is on the dalmatian coast of Croatia, (what a name) we moved to hvar, one of the up and coming tourist islands and back to split, hence the title... A hvar sandwich :)

We travelled for 12 hours on 3 different trains to get down to split, but we got very lucky in terms of carriages. It was worth a video as each time we got a better car and especially for the long 6 hours we had overnight to get to split we were very happy with 3 seats each with an open window to accompany it! (Train heaven) we stepped off to the warm welcome of desperate landlords trying to fill their rooms, people telling us their exact address just to win our custom. We had booked ahead so we had to see a lot of sad faces :(

Arriving in split I immediately realised I'd forgotten the name of our place so after a short call to mother todd we were back on track. The woman of the place then told us to come back at ten so we could be taken to our hostel?! (This wasn't our hostel..) So obediently we went back at 10 and were escorted by another woman to our hostel. By this time we were bored of lugging bags around but we still couldn't check in. We decided to leave everything there and head for the beach and worry about checking in later on!

The croatia doesn't seem big on sandy beaches and the one we found was no different, huge pebbles but quite a nice bit of clean sea to put our swimming skills to use.

At this point I need to mention, we had text the girls of budapest/lake bled and found them at this beach. I definetly need to name them for friendship purposes. Anna, Alicia and Alice (the triple A's) have been a huge part of our last three places and they deserve a mention. They are from different parts of the UK but all study in
Newcastle and Anna even does medicine, Fretty had a lot to chat about with them all.

  • the beach was to the left of the train station, and stretches a long way round. (Be careful of the steps I managed to slip and add to the numerous grazes I'd already amounted in the bike accident of lake led!)

The sun beamed down and it was a very enjoyable afternoon, I managed to finish my book and also not get any more sun burnt. We swam for a while jumping in off the rocks, big bravery award to alice for jumping with her huge ear issues (by that I mean the problem was big rather than she had problems coping with large ears! Fret and I bought cheap but rather tasty pizzas from one of the cafes on the front.

Then the time came for the suggestion of hiring a pedlo, I'd wanted to do it in prague and bled, fretty always had reservations but with the added pressure of the girls I finally got my way! It was the creme de la creme of pedlos, slides, four seater, good front, ladder at the back. 2 man power engine, limited edition yellow and white... Pedalo heaven.

  • 50 kuna for an hour which is maybe 7 pounds! (Colours may vary)

Heads held high, fret and I set off pedalling and then we swapped to let the girls pedal and us to prat around and push each other off and slide and swim...Everything that should happen on a pedalo, did happen.

After 20 minutes we realised we were quite far out, the current had taken us fairly close to a shipping route and a fair distance from the shore! A tiny bit of panic set in, but fret and I took the pedals and started to rapidly try and improve our position.. It didn't and we were farther than any other pedalo and the shore...a new technique, me swimming two pedalers and we didn't gain any ground, more panic.... I went to the front someone else swam and two pedalers and somehow we managed to overtake a group of girls in the fight for survival who had also been swept away by the current (we weren't getting closer they had just given up and had started to drift further away)

We were near to giving up aswell, panic levels were rising and boats were becoming a lot clearer as we and the girls drifted further out..... We had tried everything.. Without success we suddenly saw a knight in shining armour (a jet skier with some shorts on) who decided we deserved help, even though the girls were further out! He tied on and we were away.

At one point in the rescue fretty decided the water levels were too high in his side (his story was that we were sinking) he couldn't take it and decided to bail, which at speed look rather heroic, we had to turn back to collect him, he was surprised to find all 4 of us with confused expressions still standing on the pedalo!

I decided to make it easier if I clung onto the back and as we set off alice jumped off to join me, this was short lived as she missed her pole and went straight in I let go to join her (again we had to be picked up) as we were about to get back on, our jet skier hero set off again, and I can only describe the picture of me holding the boat with one hand and clinging onto alice with the other as james bond at his best.

We arrived back to shore thankful for the solid ground. looking back out to sea, the girls couldn't be seen, some would say selfish, we'd say sensible! Plus they taunted us with spanish songs before this whole incident so now who's the bad guys?? (Still unsure where they are even as I write this)

The evening consisted of meal out and then some drinks on the front which was enjoyable,

  • beers were 15 kuna, 2 pound make sure you buy the local its called karlvacko

It was probably the last we'd see of the girls on our travels so it was a good but also sad chat, one other highlight was my amazing dance moves as I battled a local in a contest that left people speechless (possibly more in confusion than awe) nevertheless we both endeavoured on some fantastic moves, I feel I was the winner although my counterpart seemed uninterested in any competition.

The next morning, chocolate croissants in hand we boarded the boat to Hvar

  • 47 kuna one way at 11.30 which is one of two that travel to the hvar part of the island, ticket office is to the right of the station. 1hr 10 mins

We arrived to find more hopeful faces wanting to give us beds for the night, it felt like a cattle market. Although these people were more polite and less disappointed at rejection so it felt easier!

One friendly face also greeted us, a man who held a sign 'dink's place' (which we later found out literally was his house so the name was very accurate) we joined him on the dock along with two canadians and he took us up to his place! Where we had three nights booked (Review as always at the end)

After settling down with out bags we had a tour and a briefing of the island from dink himself, and it seemed the only option was to journey to the beach! And so we did.

More suncream was implemented and chocolate croissants were indulged in. The Canadians girls had already found their spot and we said hello, as we are polite people and that's what polite people do. Later they invited us for a swim in even clearer waters (with less current which was a bonus, even though we vowed never to pedalo again! Dani and amelia, both talkative decided they would cook for us that night, if we returned the favour on the second! Like an international come dine with me.

Soon it was time for tea which both dani and amelia found amusing, as they assumed we wanted a nice cuppa rather than a meal, it was some good pasta.

As we decided we should go out we were joined by our room mate Rory and his friend cindy and we played ring of fire with some very different rules to the ones we were used to, the german porn game (donated by us, the rules are on the 'german porn game' blog) and a game Rory taught based around 21 (rules will be on a blog)

At 11 our plans were directed by Papa Dink (dinks dad) who we already knew was disciplined after he'd forced us to find money for washing earlier in the day. He had decided our time was up and we should leave the hostel and go out..so we did!

Carpe Diem was our first stop although it was a short stay as the drinks were expensive and the seating crowded, we walked round the port and found a small bar with some commercial music which was good for a couple, fretty enjoyed it the most as it had free sweets and I'm sure he left with both pockets full!

In the next (not sure of names) we found a guy on his own dancing in flip flops, the best thing about him was the ability to move his arms in a crazy strange way but managed never to move his feet...strange boy.

As these clubs started to close the only option was to head up the hill to an orange roofed club

  • 50 kunas to get in!

It was a huge place with decent music and a lot of bars, water at the front in a sort of half moon shape and finally the DJ on a stage! It was an epic end, with everyone showing some sort of dance moves. Our night ended when Fret was goaded into jumping into the water at the front along several other crazy people, he went in and not one to be a let down I followed. Who can say they had a swim on a night out! How healthy.

The walk home was eventful with Amelia teasing us by walking at the edge of the dock and then strolling casually onto a boat of three floors, as we finally rescued her we managed to convince a guy that the nearest toilet was on the boat so he then like us casually strolled on. (It was the owners fault for leaving the entrance open!)

A sleepy morning with cereal and Orange juice was accompanied by rory's laptop music, he'd been there for two nights already and had a huge gash on his head where he'd fallen off a balcony in carpe diem the first night and lived to tell the tale. What a legend

A little later cindy joined us and suggested we rented a boat to explore the island, Dink found us a deal and the 6 of headed down to the port.

  • costing 350 kuna, which was about 50 pound but split bettween 6 was very cost effective for a full day till 7pm!

Rory at the helm we set out to explore the islands, such a great experience, I enjoyed the splashing of waves more than others not mentioning any names apart from fretty!! 30 minutes in we pulled into the first little cove, had an explore and a swim then had a beer in the sea, as you do. We then cast off and I took the reins to find our next area.

We found it 20 minutes later, where there seemed to be a lot of activity but no place to moor, we realised this pretty late on and anchored too late, meaning that our anchor rope got caught in the motor! We stalled and found the problem but it was so tight around the propeller there was no way we could do it underwater! (Something always has to go wrong) we lifted the thing up and realised it was more a matter of pulling rather than un-knotting and it was fixed.

After swimming and lounging and beering and taking pictures and finding a small sandy beach (its on the map) we cast off again, Fret and Dani took the first stint of driving until I decided to take us into open water back to shore! (Big mistake) we were told to turn around but in the end unanimously voted to head into the waves (unanimously meaning the person driving decided!)

We started at a leisurely pace until the waves started to make us stop and start rather than having any control over ourselves, we waited until huge waves hit us side on or from the back! Some considerable clinging on was done and serious boat rocking by the waves plus some harsh words towards the captain (me) left us a little shaken (no pun intended) but we finally found land and safely arrived back on the shore! (What is it with us and scary sea rides!!

It was our turn to cook in the international come dine with me competition, and I must say we did the UK proud, chicken, pasta, onion, garlic! The works. Definetly outright winners!

It didn't look like a night was on the cards until we suddenly seemed to snap into action, drinking games were started knowing that at 11 Papa Dink would be out to tell us to go out or bed! we were in the middle of 21 at 11 and a suggestion was made to keep it silent and lights off, which made the game so much more hilarious and hard, Dink himself joined us and we waited another hour in the dark until we ourselves completed the game and went out.

To be truly honest, apart from being more drunk the night was the same clubs, despite trying to be different, we missed out carpe (expensive) dium, fret pocketed lots of sweets again in a club we had realised had a looped song playlist! The same sandal wearing dancer wanted to party with us and this time he actually added a jumping movement to everyones amazement and then finally up to the waterpool club!! Where Dani and Amelia both taught us some more moves!

The way back started later in the morning and it wasn't until 6am that we were joking about climbing on the boats as we past them, Fretty also challenged amelia to a pencil rolling competition which was a huge win by her doubling the distance of fret who was hindered by a car wheel! (Although he would like to add that amelia had two attempts)

Bed!!!

We awoke expecting not to see any of our friends as they all were getting the ferry away but due to the late night antics, we found them chilling round the table, they had a new plan which involved buses and boats, we were happy not to join them and said our goodbyes and headed for another day at the stoney beach once more!
A relaxed day and tea to be proud of (chicken sweet and sour with rice) we hit the hay after another conflict with papa dink over paying for washing!

It was the same stern face waking us up as we were late for check out 'you leave today?' Yes papa dink we are leaving.. Sorry sorry.

We headed back on the boat and back to split for one more night, in the same hostel..where in fact I'd left my shoes and they had been kept perfectly safe at the hostel. We went for a walk along the beach and carried on as far as we could until something very funny for me happened, not so funny for fret, (it'll be frets regret of croatia) we spent the next two hours sorting it out!

The evening we found a fantastic burger takeaway for dinner, it was a hearty burger (better than anything maccies could muster up)

  • on the front if you find the seating areas near the port its tucked away but its worth looking for.

We then had a walk up and down finding street performers who used fire, but we were unimpressed even though the public around us were mesmerised! Especially with and an irish lad whod obviously not perfected his technique! He spent a long time on one thing, kept getting distracted, couldn't find volunteers and left a guy holding a unicycle for at least 20 mins in the end he finished with some mediocre breakdance move we gave him coins for pure comedy value rather than anything impressive!

Bed again before 12 in preparation for our epic journey across 2 borders.

  • hostel bulovic in split was cosy and a very easy hostel once there although the method of getting there and finding it was strange so don't be disheartened by that! They have ps2 and satellite tv its really good
  • dinks place literally was his house, it I have nothing but good memories from this place, with its own cooking area, cheap washing and papa dink looming at every corner it really is a great stay, loved it so so much possibly with the people included it was better but Dink was so knowledgeable about Hvar and deals, its laid back and so much fun big big reccomedation to go!
  • frets regret as previously mentioned was on our last day as we walked on the beach!!!! I can't wait to write this. As I took a picture of the waves fretty backed into a cactus. Hahahaha as I looked at the problem area of his neck and head there were at least 200 little yellow needles from this cactus, it must of been painful, I wish I got a picture. So this is his regret of backing into a cactus on the last of 5 days. As I say we spent nearly 2 hours tweezering them out! Not his best moment.
  • notes on split/hvar I definetly couldn't do many more days in split whereas hvar I could certainly enjoy the beach for a couple more days, I think we made a good decision to have more days in Hvar although Split is without a doubt worth a visit.
  • we missed out Zagreb through advice from others and even now we are hearing stories of little to do, although there is a national park which apparently is so beautiful so that is the only thing that I might have been wanting to see.

Posted by davidt.ontour 16:26 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Lake Bled, Slovenia

22nd, 23rd, 24th June

You can't spell slovenia without oven, I realise that this fact is irrelevant but don't worry little readers all will become clear!

Train from budapest started in a great way, a lovely man (when I say lovely I mean a power hungry idiot) he asked if we had tickets when we said 'no' he said 'this is problem' when we said no to reservation 'this is problem' we eventually got some great seats and made sure we waved everytime he came past our carriage to which he was not impressed.

The connection from salzburg to slovenia was 8 minutes we knew we already were pushing it and when the train was delayed we knew we had missed it. We had no clue of our next move, stuck in salzburg 3 in the morning until we saw a coach, now this couldve been one of our bravest hours, it seemed all too coincidental that a bus would be waiting for us??

Several groups were in the same situation. So we thought safety in numbers and we all baorded the newly named 'rapey bus' to our surprise nothing came of it and they dropped us off at another station where a train was waiting. No casualties and we felt bad for not trusting the lovely Austrian authorities!

Another 6 hours and an hour long bus

  • runs every hour on the hour from ljubljana to bled for €6.30

and we arrived in bled!! The one word to describe it is breathtaking, it was a far cry from any of the city life we had been living before, lots of scenery and sunshine. We knew we needed more than one night there

Our hostel, castle 1004 (review at the end) wasn't far from the bus station, and as soon as we arrived we booked another night, we got lucky and checked in early and found three girls we'd already met in budapest in our hostel room!! (Seems to be happening more and more) they told us about grassy beach area on the other side of the lake. It was a very hot day so we decided to take their advice and head around (which took at least 35 mins whichever way you take,)

The lake is beautiful, please search it on google and be jealous of the views we had absolutely stunning. To have to all day was bliss. We found the grassy area and set up camp! The best part of the day had to be when the girls joined us and we tried to take timed pictures as we jumped off a small pier! Several attempts later using two cameras we still weren't any closer to a decent picture. Such a good day by the lake with the sun beaming down....

This is where the oven reference occurs. We as brits do not take well to sun. Andrew and I both lacked in suncream on that day and ended up royally baked! Our backs literally stung with burn! Cream up people!

We went out for food and found a lovely pizzeria just around the corner that was both cheap and gave us huge pizzas! Really good evening meal we were stuffed.

The evening was spent at the bar next door, nightlife in bled isn't....huge let's say, but we still managed to have a couple and tell some good stories with some aussies who did not take well to being asked if they'd all starred in neighbours!

The next morning was the day of advernture.

  • It was called the emerald river adventure run by a company called 3glav. We spent 90 euros all together but well worth it.

We set out at 8 for a twelve hour day, it included hiking up mountains, traversing a risky part of a waterfall to find its source (which definetly wouldn't be allowed in england!)where we filled our bottles with its water! We moved above the clouds to journey some of the highest slovenian peaks. Then onto lunch which was a hearty meal filling us up ready for white water rafting down the soca river and swimming under waterfalls. The best thing for us though was the 12m high jump into the river, we video evidence, we both agree it was a huge adrenalin rush.

The day ended with our third surreal moment as our car pulled onto to a train! It wasn't the eurotunnel but it was good, open air and bumpy through some funny tunnels (nearly a good rhyme) and across some fantastic scenery. With a celebratory beer in hand it was an utterly epic day.

Extremely tired we headed back and again found another friend from budapest in our room! (Told you it happens a lot) we didn't feel like doing much at all... So we went to bed

Final day started sadly as we looked out of the window and saw dark clouds. We decided to rent bikes and head over the gorge, which was a good decision!

  • 8 euros from a place called fun rafting for a half day (6 hours)

The gorge was 4km away which took half an hour only because it was all up hill! We looked forward for the return journey, it was well worth the trek

  • 3 euros for student, 4 for adults

It was at least 2 miles long full of walkways and paths that lead through the gorge, following its most powerful places and biggest waterfalls, it was a morning well spent. Throughout the time it was raining which actually made it a bit more dangerous and therefore for us more fun!

The rain continued as we set off back downhill towards Bled! With the intention of riding around the lake and the excitement of moving onto a new city in the evening we sped down the country lanes, through the rain that was pouring down and the wind that blew with us. We rocketed through the straights and the sweeping bends until....I fell!! Crashed out slipped round a corner! Fretty came down aswell after trying to swerve round my crumpled mess! eventually round. After several minutes of expletives and an innocent woman showing concern we laughed about the childlike grazes on knees and arms!

Needless to say our plan to ride the lake was abandoned and we returned the bikes pretty quickly!

Few hours to spare before the bus we decided to sample lake bleds gambling lifestyle(The casino) we both left with 15 euros less but also we had sampled as much of the free food this casino had to offer.
Little fact actually is the reason slovenia has so many casinos on its border is because gambling in italy is illegal so they all come over the slovenian border! Clever eh!

7.10 train and we were out of there, such a beautiful place we both agree wee could've spent several more days there.

Frets regret (which was started in the budapest blog about the thing andrew fretwell regrets) in slovenia is..... Letting david todd lead the bike home from the gorge and eventually causing him to fall! He realises now this is why he loves cars so much!

  • Castle hostel was an easy hostel, not so sociable although the BBQ area had potential, the location was perfect, supermarket, bus station and lake all very close. Good for advice aswell!
  • bled is a must see, we at first had not planned to go but for sheer beauty and range of things to do it would've been a huge regret if we hadn't gone! Still need to tick off canyoning on our list as well as skiing and boat hiring.

Posted by davidt.ontour 05:11 Archived in Slovenia Comments (0)

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