Sorry.. Im a little behind on the postings… but I will be posting a lot this week.
This past weekend we went to visit our friends Chris and Dani Shea in Zagreb, Croatia. It takes about 3 hours to get to their home from our hotel. We started off in our little rental car and prayed our GPS was smart enough to navigate these country roads. Let me just add that people in Europe drive like absolute crazy people. These roads are tiny, bumpy and very curvy. The speed limit is about 50 km and anywhere from 80-130km on the highways. That equals to about 30 in the city and 80 mph on the highway. They do not drive the speed limit! They love to ride your ass and they LOVE to slam on breaks. We noticed on the highway that they will pass more than 2 or 3 cars, on the side of the mountain, and while going around a curve. I cant tell you how many near death experiences I saw other people have! The hardest part of our trip was the border from Hungary to Croatia. Hardly anyone in Hungary speaks English. MOST people in Croatia do speak English. I cant tell you how happy Croatia made me. You honestly don’t know how draining it feels to not understand anyone around you. Its like when you were in school and you were learning Math and there was that one problem that its seemed everyone around you understood and you literally just couldn’t understand why! You look around the classroom and feel like the most stupid person ever, so you keep your mouth shut while feeling alone in your head. Thats how I feel most of the time.
So the border has 3 windows you stop at. I assume one is Hungary, one is the police, and one is the Croatian border. We stop at the first and give them our passport. They start asking us to do something… we cant figure it out and they look more frustrated than ever. this happens 2 more times and we are finally in Croatia… Whew..
After arriving at the Shea’s house (and after knocking on TWO different homes all with the same address…) we start loading up their car to start our trip to the coast. Now, I assume its about 2.5-3 hours to the coast. Shea works for the US Embassy and is a Diplomat which means you get the “blue tags”. These tags have special privileges like, uh well you can do whatever you want. The great things is everyone knows it. 100mph down the highway? No problem. Going down a one way street in the bus lane? Sure! Its pretty awesome but I will say going 100 down a highway is quite scary when you aren’t used to it.
On the way to Rovinji, Dani books a hotel from her IPhone. We had little Turk the dog with us so our options were limited. Booking a hotel from a phone with no pictures? I could ONLY imagine what we had gotten ourselves into. When we arrive in Rovinji we immediately cant find the hotel. So the owner comes and finds our car and leads us to it. My heart is pounding the whole way. Yes, maybe Im a spoiled little American girl but dirt and bugs are not my thing! We finally pull up and realize that Dani had booked a sweet little nugget of a hotel. The flowers were blooming and the pools were stunning.. It was clean!!! The owners of the hotel were so nice and spoke wonderful English. They showed us around and told us about their travels to the States. We then walked the 5 minute walk to the restaurants. The place was beautiful and reminded me of Italy (although I have yet to go there). We had dinner by the water and then some of the best gelato at a little stand. The next morning we went to breakfast provided by the hotel. It consisted of croissants, pastries, bananas, strawberries, jams, yogurt, and of course a cappuccino. We visited the streets once more to do a little shopping. Hank decided to buy a fanny pack. He thought that would make him “blend in”. ( recent update: he has yet to actually wear it).
We then head to Pula which is down the Croatian coast an hour from Rovinji. We first toured the Coliseum ruins. ( the Romans used to live there… i’m not big on history knowledge) The streets were pretty and we walked around making sure to get gelato at least once. Our hotel this time was a different story. After finally finding it, we also found out where the cats hang out. This place was more like an apartment building where people rent them out to tourists who are unfamiliar with the area. Actually, it wasn’t bad. The room was clean and it was big so we decided to all stay together.
The next day we headed home to Sheas house. We stayed a while, met their nice neighbors and got a little parenting advice. Shea also cooked us some hot dogs and we had an american meal before we got on the road. The border proved to just as hard on the way back. We popped the hood thinking they needed to see in it?? All they wanted was to see our insurance for the rental car…