Monday, August 22, 2016

Croatian Exploration

One of the best parts of our Eastern European Grand Tour of 2016 almost didn't happen because we were 90 seconds away from missing our flight to Split.

Let me explain.

We flew from Budapest to Milan, where we had an overnight layover. But, we found out that there is a hotel in the Milan Airport, and since we didn't want to sleep on the airport floor (and since we were exhausted and were in desperate need of a shower), we decided to stay the night in the hotel.

It was one of the best ideas we had all trip. If anything, it meant that we got to sleep in fluffy, warm beds and take hot showers. Which, when you've been traveling at high octane speeds, matters an awful lot.

But what it also meant was that we were in the wrong terminal for our departure the next morning. We didn't know that the terminal we needed was a 10-minute bus ride away from our terminal . . . so we went searching for our flight in the first terminal, only to be told by janitors that the terminal we needed was, well, it was pretty far away. And we had no time to get there. We were 100% sure the check-in had already closed, but we had to try anyway.

So we ran onto the bus, mentally preparing to have to spend a couple of days in Milan (because, surprise, flights to Split don't happen very frequently), but physically prepared for a sprint to the gate.

And boy, did we run. We were told by the lady at the check-in counter that check-in had closed, but we had our tickets printed out (somehow? I don't remember when we did it, but it ended up saving our lives), so she said, "Go! Go right now! You're boarding!" And so we ran to the security counter, where we almost had to go back and check in a bag (again, I am so done with flying with dirt-cheap airlines), but when we told the lady there, "We would go back, but the check-in is closed," she took pity on us, rolled her eyes, and said, "Go, then."

And so, we ran. As luck would have it, of course our gate was at the farthest end of the terminal. So we ran, and ran, and ran . . . and made it just was they were closing the gate. We were the last two to board the plane. I still don't know how we made it on that flight. We shouldn't have. I mean. We really shouldn't have.

As Kronk put so well,

But we got on the plane, and we made it to Split.

And we were so glad we did. The days in Croatia were a dream. We visited Diocletian's Palace, ate gelato, hiked, swam in the Adriatic Sea, and sunbathed. I finally understood the Brits when they said a proper holiday is going to the beach.

The Dalmatian coast is absolutely beautiful. I have never seen water so clear before.

[Cover-ups and swimming suits. All you need in Croatia.]

[Dicoletian's Palace.]

[Every day at noon, Emperor Diocletian greets his people. Yes, it is everything you could imagine.]

[You never know what you'll stumble upon when hiking in Croatia. Like old churches.]

[Or ocean overlooks.]

[Or honey-lavendar gelato.]

[Or giant aloe vera plants.]

[Or Diocletian grafitti.]

What I'm trying to say is that Croatia was amazing. The sun and sea were healing and there is something to be said in having days devoted to sun, sea, sand, and ice cream while traveling. 

Also, where else can you get views like this? 

Nights on the Adriatic are a dream. Especially when you are eating watermelon on the harbor. Couldn't ask for anything more. 

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