England & Croatia: 10/29 – 11/04

Sevenoaks >>> (Croatia) Split >>> Bol >>> Split >>> Dubrovnik

10/29 – Said goodbye to our furry friends in Sevenoaks and flew to Split, Croatia
10/30 – Explored Split with our very own Croatian Tour Guide! Rode ferry to Bol
10/31 – Scuba Diving in Croatia!
11/1 – Relaxing Day in Bol
11/2 – Chilled in Bol then took ferry back to Split.
11/3 – Research and Planning day in Split. Drinks and fun with Nikolina!
11/4 – Easygoing half day in Split and bus ride down to Dubrovnik


10/29 –
Said goodbye to our furry friends in Sevenoaks and flew to Split, Croatia
+ In the morning we packed up the rest of our stuff and enjoyed one last breakfast and play time with Rolo. We said goodbye to Jackie and got into the car with Adrian who had graciously volunteered to drive us to the Gatwick airport that way we didn’t need to pay for the trains. After a bit of traffic, we finally made it and said goodbye to Adrian. We’d had a wonderful time and felt really recharged and ready to be on the move for a while again.
+ We arrived at the airport around 1pm but our flight wasn’t scheduled to depart until almost 6 pm, so this marked the earliest we’d ever arrived for a flight! Luckily the airport had wifi so we spent the next few hours munching on leftover snacks we had (and sodas- Liz was savoring ever last Dr. Pepper that she could because she knew we wouldn’t find it in other European countries).
+ With about 45 minutes until the flight was scheduled to depart, we were leisurely making our way to the gate when we heard an announcement overhead for the “Atkins party of 2” to make their way to the gate immediately so the plane could depart! Ahhhh! We were only about a minute away so we arrived quickly and the gate attendant told us there was no major rush but the whole plane only had 19 people in it so everyone else had already boarded. So somehow, arriving 5 whole hours ahead of time still wasn’t enough to keep us from being the last to board the plane, lol.
+ The flight was relatively quick and we watched an episode of Sherlock and read aboout Croatia to pass the time. When we touched down in Split, Croatia and went through security, we caught the last bus that night into town.
+ From the station it was only a short walk into the Palace walls where our hostel (Downtown Hostel) was and we checked into our 4 person room. Our roomates were nice and had also been backpacking for a bit so we chatted about past travels. Then we headed out to find dinner. With not much open since it was already 11 pm local time, we ate at a burger place which had some of the weirdest meat we’d encountered so far on the trip.
+ Afterwards, we wandered around the alleys of the old town and when it got too cold we went back to the hostel and went to sleep.
+ The FSU vs. Clemson game was starting at 2:15 AM our time (8:15pm back in Florida) so we weren’t going to be able to stay up and watch it. Corey did randomly wake up around 6 though and happened to catch the last few agonizing moments as we let the lead slip away and ended up losing. So frustrating!

10/30 –
Explored Split with our very own Croatian Tour Guide! Rode ferry to Bol
+ Our earplugs and eyemasks helped us sleep in for a bit while our bunk mates got ready to leave earlier than we wanted to get up. After checking out of the room, we hung out in the common area for a bit and appled for one more Australian housesit we’d found that was just listed and looked really promising (i.e. only cats and includes a car!). Then we left to go meetup with a local Croatian who our friend Amanda back home had hooked us up with.
+ Nikolina was her name and she had known Amanda from the time Amanda spent going to school here working on her masters. Nikolina was kind enough to give us a walking tour all around Split. We saw Diocletian’s Palace, the Bishop of Nin statue (with the golden toe), and we hiked up to a high overlook to get some impressive views over the city. We also stopped for coffee along the way next to the harbour and ultimately ended the tour at a nice hole-in-the-wall local lunch spot she knew. It was nice to have our own private tour!
+ From there, we swung back by the hostel to grab our bags and then we headed to the ferry we were taking to get to the city of Bol which was located on the island of Brac.
+ The ferry ride was only an hour and we got to see a magnificient sunset along the way which was nice. The crazy part was that, with the time change that had just happened last night, the sun was setting at 4:30 in the afternoon! Since we weren’t early risers, this meant much more limited daylight for us during our time here in Croatia.
+ When we got to Bol, we realized that the island was mostly deserted and we were 2 of only a handful of tourists visiting at this time of the year! We made our way up the hilly streets to the apartments we’d be staying in and met the nice couple who owned it. They let us stay in a nicer apartment on the ground floor for no extra charge since we were their only guests! This meant we had a nice big room and bed, a kitchen and sitting area, bathroom, and a whole other bedroom we weren’t even going to use. All for only $20/night!
+ After getting settled we headed out in search of some food which proved to be no easy task. All the grocery stores were already closed and most of the restaurants were too. The few we did find open were quite pricey and we really didn’t want to spend that much. Just when we were about to give in to our grumbling stomachs and walk into one of the upscale restaurants, a pizza delivery moped drove by and we decided to try to have that instead. The only problem was the location wasn’t really pulling up on our google maps and we just wandered in the direction we’d seen the moped go and asked locals for directions along the way. We did end up finding it and ordered some pizza to be delivered to our apartment. Then we got some drinks from a convenience store and went back to the apartment just in time for the pizza to arrive.
+ That night we did some work on the devices and prepared for our Scuba Diving excursion the next day!

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10/31 –
Scuba Diving in Croatia! Hung out with Tita and David
+ We forced ourselves to wake up extra early so we could do a Skype call with the owners of the house sit in Australia we had applied to just yesterday. It would be a 3 week housesit on the Gold Coast of Australia from December 19th-January 11th and we’d be watching over 2 cute cats! On top of that they’d be lending us their car and gave us a huge list of cool activities to do around the area. The call went great and we were really happy to be chosen for the sit and have a place we could call home over the holidays! Hooray!
+ After the call, we quickly grabbed our bag and headed out to walk to the dive shop. This would be our first time Scuba Diving since we were in Panama! That was back in the end of March! So we were excited to be diving in a completely different region of the world. We thought we’d be the only people going since we hadn’t even seen other tourists, but to our surprise there was another couple already at the dive shop waiting on us (we were a few minutes late, of course).
+ Our dive instructor got us our thick wetsuits and gear and we all made our way down to the dock and boarded the boat. Unfortunately it was pretty windy today so our dive choices were rather limited but he took us to an area he said was good. With our suits on (hoods too) and tanks ready to go, we jumped into the icy water and began the dive.
+ The dive itself wasn’t our favorite because the visibility was poor and there wasn’t that much coral or fishes to look at. That combined with having a rather difficult time with our bouyancy (due to never having dived in such thick wetsuits before and using steel tanks), and our masks inexplicably leaking more than normal made for a very distracting dive. The thing that saved it however was that our guide was able to spot about 4 or 5 octopi! And, although it was definitely not following the rules we’d learned from other dive masters, he would get them out of their hiding spot and play around with them in the water by stopping their forward momentum until it settled down on his hand (after having inked a few times). Still, it was pretty cool and entertaining to watch!
+ After the dive was over and we’d gotten back into our normal clothes, the couple we dove with (David and Tita) joined us for some drinks overlooking the harbour. It was such a quiet and relaxing atmosphere this time of year that it was really nice to just relax, talk, and drink a beer.
+ We still needed to pay for the dive so we said goodbye and headed back to the western part of the island to pay. Our dive instructor was getting ready to take out a group of Indian tourists on a discovery dive (first time sort of thing) and was a little stressed because 4 of the 6 people didn’t even know how to swim! Crazy to think they’d want to go diving!
+ Since we were already on that side of the island, we decided to stay and explore. We walked around pebble beach peninsula that Bol is most famous for called Zlatni Rat Beach. We also found a nice spot on the rocks to sit and relax as we watched sunset.
+ Back at the hostel, Liz showered while Corey laid down to rest since he had a bit of a headache. Then around an hour later we headed back out to meet our friends again for dinner. We ended up going to the place we’d almost gone yesterday and we had a nice dinner with them hanging out and talking until everyone was yawning. Then we said goodbye and headed back to our place where Liz passed out and Corey stayed up to watch The Walking Dead before doing the same.

11/1 –
Relaxing Day in Bol
+ Today was a national holiday in Croatia and as such, everyhing was closed. We had known this would be the case beforehand so we’d gotten all the groceries we’d need the day before and were planning for a relaxing day at the apartment.
+ After sleeping in and eating some cereal, we went up to the second floor to enjoy their sunny terrace with great views all the way out to the ocean. The apartment owner saw us enjoying the terrace and brought us a bowl of chocolate wafer stick things to munch on. Although she didn’t speak English, she spoke a bit of German so we communicated with this and lots of smiles and hand signals. There, we worked on our devices for a while until the sun set again at 4:30. Almost immediately after the sun dipped below the horizon, the temperature dropped steeply and we headed back in our apartment to stay warm and keep working.
+ For dinner we cooked pasta and what we thought were going to be sausages, but turned out to be more like weird hot dogs. Then we watched an episode of Workaholics before going to sleep. It wasn’t the most productive day ever but it was relaxing and we knocked off a few items from the ol’ to-do list.

 

11/2 –
Chilled in Bol then took ferry back to Split.
+ This was our last day in Bol and we would be heading back to Split for a couple nights before continuing on. We had the option to ride with our friends to the other side of the island to catch the ferry, but they were leaving earlier than we wanted and we chose to leave later in the afternoon instead and meet up with them later.
+ This meant we had fun relaxing in the apartment and eating our leftovers for lunch. Then around 3 we grabbed our bags and headed down to the harbour again where we sat and enjoyed the view while Liz sipped a coffee until it was time to board the bus.
+ During the hour-long bus ride to Supertar (on the other side of Brac), we had fantastic views of sunset from high up on the cliffs and got to see a lot of the towns that most tourists probably never lay eyes on.
+ In Supertar, we boarded the ferry and settled in to work on the blog for the hour long ride in the dark back to Split.
+ Unlike the ferry we boarded to leave Split which left from right near the old town section, this ferry docked way down past the bus station so with our heavy bags on, we walked through the light rain for 20 minutes to the area we’d be staying. Checked into the apartment and got some good tips for things to do from the friendly owner. This place wasn’t quite as spacious as the aprtment we’d just come from, but was still very large and really nice with modern fixtures! These Croatian stays were certainly beginning to spoil us! How would we ever go back to crummy dorm beds?
+ Since they’d be leaving the next day, we headed out to meet Tita and David at Zinfadel wine bar for drinks. We had a fun time hanging out with them again and they even paid for us at the end which was so nice of them! They had been very complimentary of our travels and gave us lots of uplifting praise which was really nice of tthem! Definitely some of the nicest people we’ve met in all of our travels and we hoped to run into them again somewhere in the world!
+ Feeling pretty hungry since we hadn’t eaten a proper meal all day, we went to dinner at Fife. This place had been highly recommended by the hostel we stayed in the first night and was supposed to be the best place in town to get large portions for low prices. It lived up to its reputation as Liz got stuffed peppers and Corey had a huge meat platter. Both were cheap and delicious!
+ Afterwards we went back to the apartment and Skyped with Corey’s brother Clayton for an hour or so before bed.

11/3 –
Research and Planning day in Split. Drinks and fun with Nikolina!
+ From the moment we woke up, it was a very cold and rainy day. So we spent most of the day hanging out inside staying warm while working on the tablet and computer.
+ Met Nikolina for drinks at night. We went to Ghetto bar and tried Medica which was our friend Amanda’s favorite type of Croatian liquor. Even though neither of us particularly like shots, it was actually pretty tasty! Then we all went to a burger place for dinner which was pretty good. The waitresses were all impressed by Corey’s ability to eat the hot sauce!
+ Afterwards we went to a craft beer bar called Fabrique which was good, but expensive and too much like any other bar you would find at home.
+ Walked Nikolina through the city to her bus stop and said goodbye. Then we went a different way back home and got our stuff together for our departure tomorrow.

11/4 –
Easy going half day in Split and bus ride down to Dubrovnik
+ Checked out of apartment and stored our bags at the owners home so we didn’t have to lug around our gigantic backpacks while we explored.
+ Walked around Old Town and took pictures of all the ruins and the bell tower. We also ducked into a Game of Thrones store where they sold all sorts of merchandise and even had a large paper mache dragon you could take a picture with. Since Game of Thrones occasionally films around here, there are lots of shops and tour focused on profiting from it.
+ Couldn’t decide on what to get for lunch (Croatian sandwiches like a few days before or Asian noodles), so we ended up getting both! and saving most of the noodles for later.
+ Sat next to the harbour for about an hour and watched all the funny looking pets (and people) walk by while we ate our food.
+ Went back and got our backpacks and walked to the bus station area. Made a quick stop in the post office to mail back Corey’s broken watch to the UK. (We had bought this watch from ebay and it flooded immediately when he went diving with it. It definitely was not waterproof like it claimed to be.)
+ With a little extra time to spare, we went to the other harbour and beach area to see a new area of the city! Normally this beach is very happpening with beach bars and cafes. However similar to Bol, most of these types of places were obviously closed for the season.
+ We walked back to the bus station and boarded the bus for our 4.5 hour ride south down to Dubrovnik. Along the way, we passed through the country of Bosnia and Herzegovnia, but the passage only took about 11 minutes!
+ On the bus ride, Corey watched Mechanic Resurrection and The Magnificent Seven while Liz mostly slept to avoid car sickness.
+ The bus dropped us off at the main bus station in Dubrovnik which was still about a 15 minute ride outside of the walled city area we were staying in. So we had to catch a local bus from there.
+ Met the apartment owner who checked us in to our 3rd story loft-like apartment. It was pretty cool to still be inside the famous city walls and have a neat space like this to call our own for a few days.
+ For dinner, we got some pizza to go from a nearby restaurant called Pizza Tabasco. It was delicious! We don’t mean to get pizza SO FREQUENTLY (well maybe Corey does mean to) but in almost every city it is a cost effective way to feed us both and can often provide leftovers for the next day.
+ Spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the room and researching stuff for Dubrovnik and the rest of Croatia.

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