28.07.2014 - 28.07.2014
Okay, so I stopped at Budapest. When I woke up at 5am to catch my train to Zagreb. I can't remember if I mentioned this, but I went down the previous day with Oz girl to buy tickets. All this because for some reason the bus company doesn't do online ticketing. Even though they say they do. Anyway, I had a heart attack because I couldn't find the right train at first, but later got on and sat near 2 bunches of really loud annoying Americans.
It was a really old train, a little gross, but it got me to my destination. Really cool that we stopped somewhere near the border of Hungary and Croatia, where my passport got stamped twice, first by Hungarian officials and then Croatian. You can check my passport, although there was half an hour between stamping, they put different days! Outgoing was the same day, while incoming the next. Word.
I got to Zagreb before lunch. Found an ATM (everyone was queuing up for the one in plain sight, but there was one right around the corner that no one saw) and withdrew money (then regretted drawing so much), thought about storing my bag in a locker (I didn't have small change, so the cheapskate in me told me just to take my bag around) but didn't. Found the info counter in the station to get a map, and then planned my route. The map I got had two walking paths marked out, Old Town and New Town. Which is what my research told me as well. So I had lunch at a nice place that I'd googled beforehand (I only remember the awesome cabbage-wrapped meat) and then set off on my walk around. I'd tried to get a walking tour, but they don't have big ones in Zagreb. The tour group that I contacted was only having one later in the evening, when of course I'd already be on the bus headed south.
The newer side of Zagreb is situated on flat ground, while the old side is on a hilly portion. I set out on my combined old-new walk so see as many things as possible. Lots of grandish buildings near the train station (flat side), then as you wind your way up it gets a different sort of grandish? I dunno man. But I did see this REALLY COOL cafe that was Tolkien theme. I sneaked a peek (and a picture) at the menu, see for yourself what they have And they were even playing Norah Jones. A+ in my book.
There's a weird/cool little plaza high up. It's weird because it's still kind of on a incline, so at some points the floor of the plaza is a bit higher than the buildings around it. Kind of feels like being on a floating platform. Lots of touristy but really relaxed bars/pubs/eateries with outdoor seating.
There's also this strange shrine to Mary, supposedly a gate. But basically the road just does a 90 degree turn, the corner is covered by a building with an arch (passageway through the building). On both sides of the passageway, on the pavement, is a built-in shrine, complete with a few pews for people to pray at! And, you know, candles and all that Catholic stuff.
In my wandering around, I happened upon a road under renovation. It was one of the parallel roads running directly up/down the big hill. So standing at the top of it, I could see all the way down. It was so cool, because the other streets were filled with tourists. But no one was here, on this 'ugly' road. So I strolled down it, even down the portions that were obviously only half-finished, had a marvelous time! There were some buildings which normally would have been tourist attractions, like there was a museum there, but I guess they've been sort of put out of business by the renovation.
Was on my way back to the bus station, and I figured I was slightly ahead of schedule, so I sat down at an ice cream shop and got another hazelnut and pistachio eis Slow walk to the bus station initially, but as I realised that the bus station was further than it looked, I obviously had to walk a lot faster. I had time to take a few quick shots of the graffiti on the way to the station, reminded me a bit of the East Berlin Wall. Honestly, very few things are unique in this world, it's just what is better or has been marketed better.
My bus was an evening bus. It was only when I got there that I realised I'd forgotten to buy dinner. Gahhh. Nonetheless I knew the bus would stop at some point, and then I would get to buy something. I couldn't find the bus, actually. So I went to ask the left luggage guy, because I couldn't read anything so I thought it would be him? But no it wasn't. Anyway I'd already met him the day before because I was trying to find a ticket counter I think. So this time he told me at which stop my bus would be, and then gave me a cup of coffee (the normal small cup from machine kind) that he'd obviously just bought! Haha. I was a bit suspicious, but he'd bought it before I came up to him so ehhh should be fine. What fun things happen along the way!
Waited for my bus with the coffee drained, then when I got on I slept for quite a few hours haha. I think I'm immune. And it was an espresso! I was very sad by the way, because it was already dark when we entered the mountainous regions of Croatia, and my bus heading out of Split would be a night bus SADDED.
Anyway, I needed to pee (maybe not immune to other effects of coffee), and tried multiple times to to open the bus toilet door. Each time locked, I guessed that someone was in it. Eventually, I got so desperate that I asked the bus driver if it was actually locked or not. And he said yeah, locked. Then told me to wait a while more. And then I endured the embarrassment of running out to pee while everyone else waited! But whatever right, I was so desperate by then haha.
Bus stopped for dinner. Thought about getting an actual meal, but expensive plus not sure if I had the time. So I just got a sandwich lol. And waited for quite a long time. It was really cold outside, so kept running out to check and then run back in again to the warmth. Remember that at this point I was in shorts, tank, and jacket.
Anyway, I got to Split that night, at maybe 11 plus 12? From the bus station I walked down the beach, where the yachts/boats were pounding out loud music, and people were milling everywhere. Loved the atmosphere! So much of Europe's normal places (not the clubbing places, then again maybe the pier was a clubbing area) are dead past 7pm. I had a hard time finding my hostel, but eventually did manage to find it. Met a Korean girl who was exchanging in Ulm and knew P! Lol. And 2 really nice German girls. And then I was tired and then I slept.