We are back home again. And have been for a couple of days. We went home on Tueseday, a very uninteresting flight from Krakow to Copenhagen and then the train back to Gothenburg. Now all we have to do is to upload the last pictures to the gallery and live our lives as normal.
Today is election day here in Sweden and we have cast our vote. Yesterday we were at a homewarming party hos Marcus and Anna, and before that we visited Sofias parents. Today is the first day we can just relax and that is whats going to happend. Relaxing.
Today we did two things. We visited Auschwitz / Auschwitz-Birkenau and then finally also Wieliczka Salt Mine. We had made a booking with a company called Auschwitz Tours that took us to both the infamous concentration camps and the salt mine. We paid 600 zlotych for the trip, or roughly € 140 for this. Very convinient with our own driver taking us from site A to site B and so on.
The visit to Auschwitz I really can’t describe with words. It’s something you need to go and see for yourself. You can watch the pictures though as soon as I can upload them. But I strongly recommend you go there in person. It needs to be experienced. The extreme heat and the sun did not make the place feel as somber as I imagine it would have if it was cloudy and some rain. Still horrible though, but don’t forget the atrocities that are still going on in the world today.
Wieliczka Salt Mine on the other hand is easier to tell what we did. Basicly we walked in old mining tunnels quite far below the ground. The depest we went was 135 meters below ground. Now a salt mine can’t be that exciting, right? If it just had been a salt mine that would be true. But this salt mine is a bit special since it has a lot of rooms in it with sculptures, some churches and even event arenas. And of course it holds a lot of salt. Everything is made of salt.
Both destinations are reachable from Krakow and can be combined for a day tour which actually takes a full day. Back at the hotel we went out for a late dinner, and could not find a single restaurant that was open. We finally found an italian restaurant in a back alley that served really good food. And on the way back to the hotel the rain started to fall, we just made it through the front doors before the sky finally opened itself.
We decided to sleep in this morning, then check out as late as possible and then eat breakfast at some place out. So we did and after breakfast we took a taxi to the central station and then we waited, and we waited and we waited. And then it was time to board the train. At 13:36 the train departed from the station. It was almost like flying, a train host who sold snacks and drinks and also handed out free water. Free WiFi onboard. And on time. Not like old “SJ” back in Sweden.The 3 and a half hour we spent there was smooth.
We arrived in Ostara on time, then had to wait for the next train that was a bit delayed. We were a bit worried since we only had a window of 30 mins between our next change of trains and we were like 25 minutes late. Turned out that the “classic” central european train we switched to managed to get back on scheadule more or less so we had to wait almost the 30 minutes in Katowice before next train departed.
The previous train was alright, the new one was a wreck. And it stopped on every single small stop it could find. After two hours in the terrible diesel train we finally arrived at the Krakow main train station. About 21:15 we stood on the platform. And since the main train station in Krakow is new and fresh everything felt a lot better. Then we found somewhere to get some food before we tried to find a taxi.
And a taxi we found, a nice guy called Mario who took us to our hotel which is situated in the jewish quarters. After a well needed shower we’re more or less done for tonight.
The day begun with us more or less rushing to the train station. First we bought a ticket to the old mining town of Kutná Hora, then we also bought a ticket till Krakow, our final step on this journey. Then we got ourself some well needed breakfast. While eating our breakfast we tried to figure out which track and platform we should be standing on to get to Kutná Hora. After asking we got the information we needed. Only 8 minutes until departure.
Well onboard the train we felt a bit if relief. That would only last until we went past the sign of Kolin, the place where we were supposed to change train to another train but our train only kept going. Ooops! That was my thought, Sofia was more like “Shit!!!”. Turns out the train stops a bit after the town of Kolin, so we could change train without problems. But you always gets a bit nervous when stuff like that happends.
Well in Kutná Hora we went to the tourist information to get a map and some advice along the way. Kutná Hora is built on a hill and in the heat that was yesterday we thought we should only move down hill and not uphill. So we took the bus, it only cost us about 12 CZK each for the ride. Then when the bus hit the highest point in town we simply hopped off.
Our first stop was the cathedral of St. Barbara. A giant cathedral that took over 500 years to build. It was finished in the early 1900. With my luck it was some kind of Europe Exchange day in Kutná Hora so entrance fee’s was either lowered or removed so many places did not cost anything to visist. In the case of St. Barbaras chatedral, there was a wedding going on so the church was closed until 14:00. Only 1 hour and 30 minutes left until it would be open to the public.
We decided that we don’t want to wait for that so we went to have a look at the town. Kutná Hora like many other towns consists of two parts, the old town and the new town and it’s of course the old town of Kutná Hora that all the commotion is about. After having looked in some shops we arrived at the Hrádek / Czech Museum of Silver. They had two guided tours, one of the town and one of a silver mine and it was the silver mine that we wanted. About 30 minutes waiting time for that one.
We decided to wait for this one. Turns out we are the only ones who doesn’t speak czech so we get a folder with information that we an read while the guide speaks in czech. First we get to look at a mine replica, then some old mining equipment and then finally it’s time to get down into the mine. Now, the mine is not something you simply walk into, like Mordor. No, it’s at it’s narrowest point 40 centimeters wide, most of the time it’s about 70 centimeters wide. And the roof get’s as low as 120 centimeters, but varies greatly from 120 cm to over 3 meters.
The mine is of course situated under ground, about 35 meters and the path we’re walking is about 300 meters long. Not really an ideal place for a claustrophobic like Sofia but she did great. Before entering the mine we were given some equipment. A helmet (mine was very much needed, I kept hitting the ceiling all the time), a robe and a flash light. At one point in the mine the guide tells everyone to turn of their flash lights and we’re surrounded with total darkness. The only thing you hear is water dripping and our guides voice.
After a while we came out of the mine, Sofia was reliefed. I think she did very well in there. Despite beeing cold inside the mine we were soaking wet with sweat. This was a general thing for the entire day, it was extremely hot. Anyway, a look at the clock told us that the bus back to the Kutná Hora train station would be leaving soon so we proceeded towards the bus stop. Well at the bus stop it turns out that since it’s Friday the bus does not use this particular bus stop. AAAAaarghle! We can see the bus driving a block away.
The reason most people know of Kutná Hora is probably the Sedlec Ossuary, or the more common name of “The Bone Church”. Of course we also wanted to visit this and that was why we wanted to take the bus. But since we missed the bus there was no other option than to walk. So we walked for a while until we found a store, went in and bought something to eat and drink the refill our energy. Then outside there was two taxis so we took the taxi the last part.
Well at the Ossuary we paid the entrance fee of 90 CZK and then we could look at the macabre bone church. There were bones everywhere, used as decorations for everything. Lots of skulls in piles. The pictures in the gallery gives a good idea of what it looks like (problem is that I cannot uplead any pictures from this hotel, so pictures will come at a later stage). The bones used for this church are from a 30.000 people or so who died in the great plague. The piles and decorations were made sometime during the 16th Century.
Having seen the bone church we felt that Kutná Hora had given us it’s best so now we wanted to go back to Prague. Walking down to the train station took maybe 10 minutes, then we had to wait another 30 minutes or so at the station before the train would leave. During this wait it began to rain heavily, lucky for us the platform was under roof. Then the train finally arrived and we could take the about 1 hour long train ride back to Prague.
At the Prague main train station we thought that we should take a taxi back to the hotel. So we started to look for one. The taxi stations at the “sides” of the train station turned out to be really expensive, about 500-700 CZK to old town. We didn’t want to pay that so we went to the “front” of the station, the part of the station facing towards the old town. Just walking through the park in the front and down to the street there we found some taxis that charged more normal prices, about 200 CZK for a ride to old town.
When we arrived at the old town square we started to look for some place to get dinner. We ended up at one of the more expensive and not czech restaurants but it was okay. We were extremely hungry. We finalized the day that had turned into evening with a trldenik of course.
We skipped the hotel breakfast again. We went to Starbucks to get coffe and the same guy flirted with Sofia again. Then we walked through old Prague to a restaurant to get gulash soup in a bun at a place, but when we got there it turned out they don’t have it. Bummer.
After improvising with the breakfast we continued to Charles Bridge, walking over it took longer than I had expected. There was plenty of stuff to look at. Finally on the other side we quite quickly realised that the castle was situated on a hill and that the only way there was by walking. Normaly I would not complain much but it was extremely hot today. Turned out it was 27C degrees. But finally we made our way to the top, we thought. Turned out to be yet another slope to walk before we arrived at the castle entrance.
The Prague castle is supposed to be the worlds biggest castle. How big can it be we thought. Turned out that it can be extremely big. It contained numerous churches for example. And to explore it all you would have to go there for days is my guess.
We had bought the “B route” ticket which included the entrance to 4 of the main sites. The Old Royal Palace, the St. Vitus Cathedral, St. Georges Basilica and the Golden Lane. The Old Royal Palace and the St. Georges Basilica did not impress us so much, they were a bit lame to be honest but the St. Vitus Cathedral just blew our minds. The sheer size of the cathedral, the rich decorations, it was just so beautiful.
Then the Golden Lane impressed us as well. Not because it was beautiful or something like that, it was more because it was a small museum of sort. Each of the small houses gave a glimpse of what life could be during the medieval times. And on the upper floor they had a huge collection of armours and weapons from past times.
After the castle tour we decended from the hill and went back to town. Bought limonade from a hatch in a wall and did some shopping and then had dinner at a place called U Supa. Food was good, service was not so good. A stop at the local trldenik stand before we returned to the hotel was a must. Now I have sugar all over my part of the bed, but it was worth it!
A few words about the hotel we are staying at. It sure is cozy, it looks like one of those hotels in an old movie with a desk and you turn in your key when you leave and then get it back when you return. Then you have to walk up windling stairs turning back and forth, the floor boards are squeeking a bit and so on. It’s not until it’s time for breakfast you wish you were somewhere else. The breakfast room looks and feels like an old canteen in a prison. I won’t mention the food because it sucks. Luckily for us there is a Starbucks not too far away.
And on Starbucks we start todays report. We order some coffee and the guy behind the counter flirts a lot with Sofia. Then we go to the Tourist Information to get a map and get some info on what to do in Prague. One of the guys there speaks Swedish so I have a short chat with him. Speaking of language, everyone here in Czech seem to speak very good english compared to other places during our journey.
Our first stop for today is the Sex Machines Museum. Located just a stones throw from the big main square in old Prague. Costed 250 CZK to enter but I think it was worth it. Here we got to see early sex toys, the first porno and some history about sex. It was a fun but a bit oddd thing to go and watch. Some of the machines was… strange.
After that we went to our local trldenik dealer. I’m totally addicted to these pasterie spirals.
Then we checked out some churches and around a corner near Charles Bridge we found a torture museum. It’s amazing how many ways there are to inflict pain to others in order to make them confess things. Sofia felt a bit disgusted after the visit here so I had to cheer her up by buying a cristal necklace. Cristal is a huge thing here in Czech Republic. There are shops everywhere.
Torture also makes you hungry so we found a nice restaurant and had dinner. I had rabbit with potate and bread dumplings (traditional Czech dish) while Sofia played it safe and choose grilled meat and sallad. After food we had to hurry a bit to reach St. Giles Churh where we attanded an classical organ and string concert that lasted for about an hour.
Now we are chilling in our hotel room, soon it’s bedtime. Tomorrow will be another adventure.
If it’s raining in Vienna maybe it’s sun in Prague? We left our Vienna hotel this morning and took the U3-line in the metro to the Erdberg station and then walked to the VIB (Vienna International Bus Station). We had bought tickets from Eurolines for € 22 per person. 4 hours by bus to Prague is not to shabby.
After about 4 hours of very uninteresting bus journey we arrived at the Prague bus station. We found an ATM, withdraw some money, bought a bottle of water to split the bigger bill into smaller ones, then took a taxi to our hotel. Just our luck to get stuck in rush hour. After an eternity we could get out right in front of our hotel, which is located in old town, just behind the big town square.
Checking in and getting a room on the top floor, Sofia is convinced the hotel is haunted. This night can be very interesting, in worst case none of us will get any sleep.
We took a short walk around the area and got us something to eat as well. We tried some traditional czech food. After dinner we also bought something called trdlnik, which seem to be a bun cooked over fire. Very tasty.
Internet on our hotel seem to be unreliable, at least in our room so no pictures today. But I managed to fix the Budapest gallery which can be found here: Budapest.
So Vienna did not give us the best weather possible. It has been raining for two days straight now which has hindered us from doing things the way we would like. It has also prevented me from taking pictures since dragging a camera along while trying to keep it dry also is quite annoying. But I’ll give you a small resumé of what we have done so far.
Monday we met my old friend Jutta who took us on a tour through the more central parts of town. Things we saw was the town hall, some museums and the Heldenplatz. Today, Tueseday we went to the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien but it was closed. Bummer. Then we went to the Hofburg Palace and took a look at the Kaiserappartments, Silberkammer and Sisi Museum which was nice. We also managed to visit a couple of churches.
And since it is my birthday we also had some cake and coffee in a place called Café Griensteidl where I managed to order in german and I don’t even speak german. Sofias jaw dropped. But most funny was the waitress who obviously thought I was a true german speaking person and continued to do so throught our visit there.
This day was finished on the hotel restaurant, which recieved a star in the Michelin guide 2011. We had a true wienerschnitzel of course!
First day in Vienna. First impressions of a new town. OK, not entierly true since we arrived yesterday but we did not do much after having checked in on our hotel. Since I was still feeling sick we just ordered room service and watched the tellly until bedtime. Normally I would think it’s stupid to have the bathroom in the room so to say but this is a pretty cool setup. Check the picture for reference!
Anyway, today it’s Sunday and we slept in a bit, then went for a late breakfast and then we geared up for a day in town. First stop was Westbanhof to get the Vienna-card that gives us free rides on the tram, bus and subways/metro for a measly €22. That also gives a lot of discounts on about 200 places, mostly entrance fees and such at various attractions. When that was done our first real stop for today was…
…Prater(?) and Madame Tussauds. It was a lot of people in there and that did not make the experience so enjoyable. We exited quite fast and went to have ice cream instead. Reb Bull icecream is quite disgusting by the way. Austrians are strange people.
Now we felt ready for something more serious so we took the subway to Schloss Schönbrunn. Got our tickets and started the tour of the Habsburgs Palace. It is an amazing construction, the mainbuilding is huge, but the parks and the other buildings surrounding it just makes it massive. We started with an audio-guided tour through about 40 rooms of the castle. That took about one hour. Then we went out and into the parks, I guess we spent another hour or so there. We could probably have spent way more time there but after a while it just get’s too big.
In one of the gardens I took the moment to propose to Sofia, again. She said yes, again.
Arround half past four in the afternoon we decided to head back to the hotel and get ready for the evening. We had bought some tickets earlier to a concert with the Wiener Royal Orchester. So we spent the evening with classical music, opera and ballett. The ballet we could do without but the rest was really good.
First off I must say that this hotel, Loft Hotel is awesome. The room is big and really nice, the breakfast was fantastic and they seem to have understod that people don’t want a sip of juice in the morning, we want a glass. So a big plus for large juice glasses!
After breakfast we headed out to (old)town again to have a look at the St. Michaels Gate, St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Bratislava Castle. We started with the gate, then took a coffee brake and then we started walking towards the castle. This proved to be a bit of a challange since it was stairs up to the castle from the direction we approached it from. The sun also did it’s worst to slow us down on the stairs.
Then it turns out that finding the ticket office proved to be quite difficult since there was no sign announcing it. When we finally found it we bought our tickets and started our tour of the castle. The castle was really nice, a little mixture of new and old and held a bunch of different exhibitions. It also turned out they sometimes holds concerts inside. The only exhibition that I didn’t like was the “Treasury”, I was hoping to see gold and royal stuff, instead we got to see some old pots and pieces of ancient things.
After the castle we ended up at an restaurant which was over 250 years old so we thought we should try their flagship course. Roasted wild boar with mashed potatoes and orange sauce. Turned out to be very tasty so definatly worth a visit. The restaurant is situated right below the castle and between the castle and the church and the name is Restaurant Modrá Hviezda. Well worth a visit.
After late lunch we went down to the church and there we actually got to see some treasures up in the church tower. After having looked at the treasurey we continued down to the crypt. Climbing down in the crypt was a bit odd and we hoped that noone would close the lid over us. It would be quite creapy getting locked in in a crypt. After having looked at some of the graves inside the crypt we exited it and then went to old town again for some drinks. And it’s about now that I also starts to feel not so good. We decides to go back to the hotel and rest a bit, turns out I’m having fever. Yippie. Sofia spends the evening by caring for me. She’s so nice!
That was yesterday. Today I still probably have fever, but after checking out we found us a pharmacy and bought some meds so I feel way better today. Then we went to the Slovak National Museum which was not so big but very well done exhibitions. Specially the one about minerals.
So far I think Bratislava is one of the nicest towns we’ve visited so far. I’d love to come back one day just to spend some time at any off the pubs in old town.
At 14:00 we went to the “docks” to take the Twin City Liner (€35 per person) to Vienna. It felt good trying out some other means of transport since we’ve already covered flying, by road or by train. The 1½ hour tour on the Danube went smooth and offered some nice views. Arriving in Vienna at Schwedenplatzs felt really appropriate too. I couldn’t find anything particulary Swedish about the place though except for the light rain that fell when we arrived.
Sorry, no pictures at the moment, wifi here is slow.
After checking out from our Budapest hotel we walked the short walk to the Keleti pályaudvar also known as the East Train station and climbed onto the train to Bratislava. About 2 hours and 40 minutes later we got off the train at the Bratislava train station. We started to walk towards the city center and the right street we thought but it turned out there was another street with an almost identical name. We ended up asking for directions and soon we were on the right track.
After checking in at the hotel we went out to grab a bite and have a look at the town. Of course we went down to the old town which we found to be very nice and cozy. We had a late lunch or early dinner at a place called Bratislavska Restaucia, which seem to be a self proclaimed flagship when it comes to restaurants in Bratislava. Maybe it is, the food was very good. Sofia had some kind of beef in mustard sauce with some wierd and spungy looking bread/dumplings but it tasted good. Myself, I chose a schnitzel with potatoes.
Then we just walked around for a couple of hours, stopping to have a drink at some local pub and then continue walking around. The old town is very beautiful and well preserved compared to Budapest that seem to be slowly falling apart. Tomorrow we’re going to explore the old castle and some other interesting stuff.
Today we did the most touristy thing you can do. We took the Hop on/hop off bus through town. For only 5900 forints, that’s about 170 SEK or € 19 for a very convinient means of transportation that actually takes you to the places you want without too much hassle since they go from attraction to attraction. We used the red line.
Our first stop for today was Hősök tere or Heroe’s Square. A huge square with a monument showing of important characters in Hungarian history. There is also a grave for the unknown solider to commemorate all the fallen heroes that have fought for Hungarys freedom. From the square we went to a cafe bar and had a small lunch at a place called “Kaffe & Kaka”, just like in Ukraine. Or maybe not, but it was a nice place.
Then we back tracked a bit along the “Champs Elyseeus of Budapest” Andrassy ut to Andrassy ut 60 and the House of Terror. It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th-century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building. A very good exhibition in my opinion, interesting in many ways and leaves you with a small feeling of disgust of what political extremism can do.
When we were done with that we walked to the opera house and waited for the hop on/hop off bus there and then proceeded to the Budapest Castle district. After getting off the bus we started walking towards the Fisher Bastion and came upon a church, Matthias Church which we entered. It only cost 1200 forints each. For once, a church that allowed people to take photos inside. After the church we walked towards the Fisher Bastion again, and discovered that if you want to walk onto it you need to pay an entrence fee as well and that felt a bit ridiculus when we could get the same view of Budapest just below the bastion.
Having “leached” a few pics of Budapest we started walking towards the Budapest castle instead. We found some nice statues and fontains, some more nice views and so on. We never entered the castle though since we were slowly running out of time. Then we headed back to the bus stop again, took the bus down the castle hill and into downtown Budapest again where some kind of festival was taking place around a big ferris wheel.
A late dinner at some bar/restaurant and then back to the hotel for updates, packing up our stuff and prepaere for tomorrow. Train ride to Bratislava!
Today we’ve been to a spa. It was not according to plan. But first things first. Yesterday we searched the internet for a good spa and found one we liked. They also had pedikyr which was one of the main things Sofia wanted. We made a booking for Wednesday but this morning the spa called and asked if we could go today instead since they didn’t have the pedikyr on Wednesdays. Sure, no problems we said. We had a plan for the day but it was easily changed.
So we set out to walk to the spa since it was not so far away. And we walked and walked and soon we thought we were close. Just a double check at the map, and yes, there should be a church right ahead, and there was. We were on the right street too. It was just that the names of the crossing streets was incorrect. How can you print a map and put in the wrong names? Or you can try walking in the right direction, which we didn’t do at the moment. We eventually discovered another street name on the map and we realised we had been walking in the wrong direction. Now we just had to back track our own steps for 20 minutes or so.
Arriving a bit early at the spa was no problem, we got changed and started with a relaxing bath followed by a relaxing massage. Then Sofia had her pedikyr. When she returned she told me the girl doing the pedikyr used a knife. Yeah right I thought. Then it was my turn. Entering the pedikyr room I could see a line of different torture tools lined up on a table. Amongst them was a knife!
An agonising hour later she was done. But our feet felt great! Beeing done at the spa we went for something to eat, and then we just walked around the town for an hour or two, then we proceeded to the train station and bought tickets to Bratislava. After that we felt quite tired so we went back to the hotel and that is about it for today. Back at the hotel we discovered that our laundry was done and nicely folded and put on the bed. Sofia was very happy and said that she loved the hotel staff (maybe a bit odd for recieving the laundry but okay).
After a steady breakfast at the hotel we checked out and walked the 10 minute walk to the train station. Before entering the train station I took a few shots just outside to have atleast a few photos of Zagreb. Then we proceded with buying some food for the train ride and went to the bathroom one last time. The lady operating the public restrooms at the train station was quite upset about something but I could not figure out what.
Sofias turn on the restrooms. She soon got the explenation to why she was so upset. The lady pushed Sofia over when Sofia tried to enter one of the booths and screamed: CATASROPHE!!! The quick glimpse Sofia got was more than enough!
Another minor CATASTROPHE was the fact that the train was delayed by 45 minutes. That said on the signs around the platform, and then I guess they also said it on the speakers but the only did anouncements in croatian so I do not know. The train finally arrived and we could take our seats. The journey in itself was quite boring, the wagon where we were seated was 90% filled with backpackers, the remaining 10% was locals I guess.
We arrived to Budapest about 17:30 at the south train station and we had no clue at all on where we were headig next. Standing there just outside the train station and discussing and trying to figure out our next step someone who spoke a little odd accent of Swedish stepped up and helped us. He helped us buy a ticket for the metro and gave us some directions before he left. So we took the metro to the East train station and from there it was like 5 minutes of walking to our hotel. After checking in we went out to have dinner at some local joint I never got the name of, but it was a nice place. Over and out!
PS: The gallery for Croatia is finally online, you can see it here: 2014 East Europe – Croatia
So yesterday we spent on the beach again. And by yesterday I mean Saturday. We had brunch at Lanterna again, then we managed to burn ourself a bit more. Then we headed back to our hotel, Adriatic Queen Villa which has been our base for the past days. I must say that it has been a good place to stay. Nice and clean, very helpfull staff and so on.
Then we started to look for a place to eat, more about that here! Today we woke up, checked out, took a cab down to the bus station and about 11:15 we climbed aboard the bus that will take us to Zagreb. And about 5 hours later we arrived in Zagreb too. So you could say that this Saturday hasn’t been the most interesting day in our lives.
However, we checked in at our new hotel, managed to find the train station, bought tickets for the train tomorrow to Budapest. Then we set out to find something to eat. This proved to be harder than we thought because many places were closed but we finally found a nicce little restaurant were we finally had dinner.
There is only one thing I regret about this day and that is that I did not bring my camera while we went down town to get tickets and food. The little we saw of Zagreb made us want to see more. And there were some beautiful buildings and artwork that could have deserved a photo or two. Maybe it’s something we can do on another trip.
Plitvice Lakes is one place in its own. It’s so beautiful, it’s so cool and it’s so many waterfalls. Can’t really explain it in words, it’s better experienced in place but for those who can’t go, I guess the pictures will tell a tale in it’s own. We spent about 4-5 hours in the park walking around and gazing at the many waterfalls. There are littrally waterfalls everywhere. Some are big, some are small but they are all equally amazing. Towards the end of the walk we arrived at the highest waterfall, which drops about 78 meters and that was a good finale.
So, how did we get there? Well, first we needed to find an agency that would take us there. That was easy, there are plenty and they charge about the same. 80€ per pax. We picked one called Split Excursions/Portal and they made the 4 hour drive from Split to Plitvice very enjoyable. The guide and driver themself made it worthwile spending those hours in the bus. While on the road the guide would tell us about Croatias culture, history and other things you might not get to know about Croatia.
Sofias day started at 06:15, mine started at 06:45, the taxi picked us up at 07:00 and dropped us off at the bus station about 07:10. We walked to the meeting point which took about 5 minutes, where we sat down and had breakfast while waiting for the time to strike 07:45 which was the meeting time. We and about 25 others was finally standing there full with hope and expectations. Then the excursion begun.
On the way back we stopped at an overlook over the Krka river and the really old town of Skradin. In the meanwhile the sun set and the scenery became very beautiful. That was included in the price the guide said.
Today I made Sofia cry. We went out for a walk and to find a place where we could eat. Suddenly we stood just outside one of the restaurants the girl in the reception had told us about. The one we could not find in 5 days. DVOR.
So we thought we should just walk in and see if the place seemed nice. We noticed it said reserved on almost all tables so we grabbed one of the waiters and asked if they had a table for two. Sure he said and showed us to a table, just right next to the entrance more or less. The only table that was not reserved more or less. The waiter gave us the menus and we started to look for something interesting.
Sofia found a dish she liked and asked me what I wanted. I had found a burger that seemed interesting. Waiting for the waiter to come and take our order I flipped through the pages ïn the menu and found something that made me happy. And in the same time the waiter appeared.
We’ll take the tasting menu I said. With the wine!
Sofias jaw dropped. It’s six courses with six glasses of wine. A little starter with marinated prawns, then a follow up with risotto and about here there was a sudden warm and very forcefull wind telling me that there was rain coming in like 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 seconds. And here comes the rain. The staff told us to grab our glasses and run inside while they try to save what can be saved on the outside!
Well inside we could continue our dinner, dry and happy. Outside the rain was POURING down. For a moment we thought it was never gonna end.
Somewhere along the third course Sofias looked at me with tears in her eyes saying this was the best food she’d ever had. And I agree, the food was awesome, fantastic. And the wine too. After six courses and six glasses of wine we felt both stuffed and a bit drunk and EXTREMELY satisfied.
So ladies and gentlemen, if you ever go to Split and want a dinner that is something out of the ordinary, go to DVOR and order the tasting menu. It’s the best 500 Kn you will ever spend on food. Trust me!
Wednesday morning we wake up to a roaring sound. What the *peeep pep peep* was that? Then we remembered that the hotel is located next to the helipad which belongs to the nearby hospital. We seem to be in constant luck with our hotels considering that we almost slept at a railyard in Copenhagen. We managed to fall alseep again and then the Wednesday followed in Tuesedays footsteps. We went down to the beach, had brunch on a restaurant called Lanterna where we also finally had some really good coffe. Then we got ourselfs sun chairs and more or less spent the day on the beach as stranded walrusses. The improvement on our tan is 100%, we are now beautifully pink-brownish but not so much as it hurts. We’re no irish if you know what I mean.
Returning from the beach at about 4 pm for shower and rested and then a really good dinner at Karaka, again. To our defense I must say that the staff there is something extra.
Thursday we took the “long” walk down to Split old town. Had it not been like 40 degrees in the sun the walk would have been so much shorter and nicer. Anyway, we arrived to a big square called Trg Republike ‘Prokurative’ which mostly housed a lot of restaurants. We had not had any breakfast today since we had to hurry down to a travel agency to make a booking for a excursion the next day. When the booking was done we sat down at one of the restaurants and ordered breakfast. That was one of the best omelettes I’ve ever had. Top 5 for sure.
After breakfast we started exploring old town which more or less consisted of narrow alleys and surprisingly big squares. We found the Cathedral (Roman Mausoleum) and went inside the cathedral which was quite small but very beautiful. While we were inside it started to rain heavily outside and the cathedral soon became very full of people seeking shelter against the rain. When the rain lightened a bit we went down to a shrine in the basement of the cathedral.
After that we went down to a bazaar located in the cellar of the Diocletians Palace where we bought a small bracelett for Sofia. Then walking around a bit more in the old town we decided to have lunch. We ended up on a restaurant somewhere in old town which I suspected to be quite expensive, which it was but the food was good. Sofia ordered pasta with beef and truffel and I ordered grilled shrimps. I started to wonder what I really had ordered when I got equipment for lobster-cracking, turned out that both me and the restaurant was wrong since I got crayfish. Now I don’t complain, the grilled crayfish was very good, it was just not what I expected.
After lunch we went down to the bus station and bought tickets to our next destination and then we headed back to the hotel. A quick change of clothes and then down to the beach for a afternoon bath in the sea. And here is where my left flip-flop decides to do a mutiny and break. No chance of fixing that one, so I threw them away and walked barefoot to Billa (the super market) where we had seen crocs for sale.
With new crocs on my feet (Sofia could not stop laughingh at me) we could finally take the hard journey uphill to our hotel. It’s not a very steep slope, it’s not a very long slope but the grading of the slope and the sun that makes it so devestating. When you reach the top you’re soaking wet and tired.
Thursday ended with a visit to the restaurant Kadena. Arriving there made us feel a bit like we did not fit in since the restaurant had a clear posh approach and we was just dressed in shorts and t-shirts more or less. But we got served and what a meal it was. Sofia had beef with balsamico vinigrette and parmesan and I had some kind of french deer with domestic pasta and truffel sauce. For dessert I had white pepper choclate mousse with wild berries and Sofia had dalamatian style crême brulé. This restaurant deserve a star in the Michelin Guide.
Just outside the hotel is a garbage container that in the night time is occcupied by the local cats. These cats has taken a habit of following us to the door and Sofia is taking this quite hard. Yesterday she wanted to beg a boon for the cats, tonight she tried to smuggle one of them inside.
Monday morning and extremely early we get up, takes the bus to the central station, gets on the 5:20 train to Copenhagen and Kastrup. 11:20 we hop on a Croatia Airlines flight to Zagreb. Sometime around 13:30 we arrive in Zagreb and has to switch to another flight taking us to Split but it’s a bit delayed so we has to wait in the smallest ever caffeteria. Eventually we get on the plane and after a short flight, about 55 minutes we land in Split. Sofia was definatly happy to get down on the ground again but to be honest I think she did well on the flights. After another 30 minutes in a cab the driver finally drops us off outside our hotel.
Checking in, getting to our room we suddenly felt very tired so we took a quick nap. After waking up for the second time this day we went out for a walk to get something to eat. We had not eaten a real meal for the whole day, first some cheese and raw-bars on the train, then a “sandwich” and a coffe at the airport in Copenhagen and some in-flight snacks. So you could say that we were pretty hungry. We ended up at a place called Movi (right next to the tennis club) that the girl on the hotel had recomended. We shared a grilled mixed meat platter and that was so awesome. Best food in a long time. After that we just walked to a supermarket and bought some breakfast for the next day.
Day two consists of getting down to the “beaches”, doing touristy stuff on the beaches like getting sunburned, having a beer on one of the restaurants there and just having a good day. I also managed to get wiped down by a big and suddden wave when trying to climb out of the water. I hurt my knee, there was some blood and uhm.. Well, Sofia wanted me to write this. Then walking back to the hotel in the afternoon, showering and getting ready for dinner somewhere in town. We ended up in a place called Karaka or something like that, just a few meters from where we had spent most part of our day already. A couple of beers/drinks later and a grilled tuna we felt satisfied and took a walk home through the night.