At one point, I walked by a wall which had windows that provided stunning views of the sea. Someone had scrolled on the marble wall next to the view “This could be heaven …”, a spot-on description and one I use now to describe Croatia’s second largest city.
We headed out of Zadar, the sun pushing through the curtains on the right side of the bus as we made our way down the coast. After about 20 minutes, the sun shifted and was no longer being shuttered by the curtains, but was instead behind us. I looked out the window and saw mountains and farms and roosters and stone huts pass us by.
OK, I thought. Clearly, I am on the bus to Split that meanders through small towns and eventually gets me to the city. I knew there were two buses that took people to Split, one that took three hours and one that took longer because of its stops through towns. I assumed I was on the longer bus ride.
When only a few people remained on the bus, I started to grow concerned. I got up and walked to the bus driver, asking him if he spoke English. He did not, so instead, I simply asked “Split?”
He looked at me, confused, and said “No.”
“Zadar?” I asked, my heart starting to race.
There were only a few people left on the bus. Where were we going?
To say Plitvice Lakes is a stunner would be an understatement. Its sheer technicolor natural beauty around each and every meandering turn is jaw-dropping. Its 16 turquoise lakes link together through waterfalls cascading down sheer rock cliffs. Unlike most water bodies I have seen, you can see straight to the bottom with astounding clarity. That twig resting on the lake floor? You can see even the most minute detail.
“What’s your phone number?” he asked.
Suddenly, the memory of my new outgoing voicemail message rang in my ears. Berry and I are on vacation. When I get back I will return your call. Oh. DAMNIT. Damnit. Damnit. Damnit. I had never set up my phone for international calls.
“I don’t have a phone,” I could barely whisper.
That’s when I saw Him on the street below. He caught my eye immediately. Perfect height (I’d probably recon around 5’9 or so). Perfect weight (the right blend between athletic and non-athletic). And completely different from the typical guy.
He wore plaid shorts, a dark shirt and shiny gold-framed sunglasses. He had a healthy serving of tattoos on his arms and legs, and a lip ring hooped through the middle of his bottom lip. His brown hair was cropped close to his head.
There was no way he was staying at Fulir. He just didn’t fit the mold of a typical backpack-hostel-goer. But, he walked up the ancient, red colored stairs, pulled a key out of his pocket and walked through the yellow painted door into the room I was staying in. When he walked in I caught a glimpse of a tattoo peaking through his hair on the back of his head and melted just a little bit.
At what point does one become “churched-out?” I think on my first trip to Europe, I was sufficiently churched out. It’s amusing and kind of sad. I was reading one of my last journal entires from my previous trip and I had noted every significant place I had been. In the entry I hadContinue reading “The unconventional tourist”
The last time I had traveled alone I ended up in Venice twice. I had met two Aussies and clicked with them, and they were going there and invited me. It sounded like a good plan, so I tagged along with them there and to Verona. One split from us at that point and headed skiing in the Alps. The other and I ventured to a little chalet in Gryon, nestled in the majestic Swiss Alps, on the suggestion of another traveler. Had I been rigid and planned out, I would not have had that experience. So, being plan-free is the best way to be. Traveling is one of the few times I just let myself go with the flow and not stress about where I am or where I am going.
In the world of hostels, you don’t shag in a room with other people sleeping. That is equivalent to shagging in a dorm room when your roommate is in the bottom bunk (something I can attest to completely and utterly sucking). Sure, there was a young, fresh, ambitious 22-year-old Aussie in my bed. And yes, he desperately wanted me to enjoy my evening, but still … the code of hostels could not be broken. Well, it could, but I wasn’t going to be that girl.