This is the first blog post in over 50 that is not picture-centric. For your attention I'll attempt to deliver you a remotely amusing story at my own self-deprecating expense. But first, some regrets. It amazes me to think that in nearly three months of travel and tens of cities later, it is only now in Croatia that I have formed three substantial regrets and they've all been in this last week or two and so in no particular order:
1) I didn't Island hop.
2) I didn't enjoy any form of maritime transportation.
3) I didn't hire a car.
Allow me to elaborate...
1) Not only didn't I Island hop, I didn't actually visit any of Croatia's 1000+ Islands! (Those stats are respectively surprising and impressive). Granted, less that 50 are said to be inhabited but still. So I've observed that its different for young holiday makers that have a pre-defined number of days here as they come with an itinerary - which makes sense. As such, they know they'll be in what city for X days and where and what Island they want to visit on the other days. A lot of them also come with friends to share these experiences. If you recall, I visited Dubrovnik whilst in Bosnia and so when I first headed to Croatia to properly stay there was straight to my first destination, Split. Split is the ideal location to visit the popular islands but before I fully realised it, I was moving up to Zadar and therefore it was too late for me to see these Islands! FYI, the most popular Islands appear to be Brac (pronounced Bratch), Hvar and Vis. Brac also holds the highest point along the Adriatic so I'd really have liked to hike that.
2) I realised whilst in Zadar, during that one hour of watching the Sun go down, that I really should have tried to get on the water. Whether this be a ferry cruise or a 20 minute cruise on a speedboat during Sunset. Yes, I saw a couple of boats blasting around in the open water which led to this thought. How cool would that have been. He says not being particular good at sea when bumpy! Even if it was 20 euros for a 20 minute cruise, perhaps I still should have indulged. 1 euro per ever minute of work - that wouldn't be a bad salary would it!!!
3) Whilst hiring a car might have proved stressful (we'll never know), that coastal road from Split to Zadar was cracking as I mentioned in my Zadar post. To be able so spontaneously stop wherever I would like to and be able to do multiple stops and not feel rushed. I could have left Split relatively early (the sun shines bright early on over here) and still had a full on 9 hour day before even reaching Zadar - plenty of time for the Sunset. All that in one day!
So I guess not a lot of thought has to go into what I would do if I ever visit Croatia again. Equally, if you visit here, I urge you to consider some of the above.
Moving on to today's good deed.
I left Korenica (near Plitvice) on a bus destined for Croatia's capital, Zagreb - where I currently reside. The bus was practically empty at this point and so I temporarily sit near the front knowing that I will have to settle up for storing my luggage on the bus (grrrrr!) and for the actual ticket itself. Sure enough it wasn't long before the bus-stewardess came to collect. First time I'd seen a female conductor and not only that but she was hot. I know riiiight, unexpected.
She charges me 99 kuna and I simultaneously inform/remind her for my 2x luggage (grrrrr!) at 8 kuna (80 pence) per bag. Anyhow, that's a nice round total of 115 (roughly £11.50). I give her 200 kuna (£20). She does her thing and hands me back an incorrect amount of change. Normally I might not have been so switched on but those were easy number to work from. I say this to her almost immediately and she questions it. Not in an aggressive way whatsoever, but in 'No, I think that's all good' kind of way. I go back at her and she politely comes back at me. To the point that on the third attempt she pulls out her phone and bring up her calculator. Now at this point I'm guessing your subconscious has made the decision that I have been under- changed but no folks, I was over-changed.
She dials in her digits: 200 minus 99 minus 16 equals..........
Yep, a straight-forward 85.
To clarify, from 200 kuna (£20), I should have had 85 back (£8.50). She gives me back 185 kuna (£18.50). What a bargain that would have been hey!
Finally, she has seen the error of her ways, apologises profusely, continues to giggle a little embarrassed and I detect quite quickly that she didn't expect that level of honestly. She speaks to the driver in Croatian, he gives me the thumbs up. All very nice.
Now picture the scene. In that moment, the stage is mine. I should be able to do anything, even say anything; after all I am currently the local hero. So here goes folks after I'm poised and with the chest pumped....
"Soooooooooooooooooooo, have you ever thought of becoming an air-stewardess?".
Wow. Oh yeah, there you have it men, poetry in motion. #thatishowitsdone #whoistheman
She proceeds to enlighten me she is two inches too short for their requirements. My turn to giggle awkwardly and then I scurried to the rear of the bus, stuck my headphones on and slithered into a corner and tried to hide.
And that was that. I'll be back in a couple of days delivering you the usual standard of imagery you've hopefully come to enjoy. Have a great weekend.