Getting there and around
G and I flew out of Heathrow, flying Croatia Airlines, to Zagreb followed by a connection to Dubrovnik (there are direct flights from Gatwick to Dubrovnik). We got to check in a bag for free and actually got served a free meal. Do you remember when that was the norm for airlines? Man, I miss those days. We booked the trip through Expedia.co.uk and the found the whole trip to be quite the bargain. Food and drink is reasonably inexpensive. The trip was cheap because we arrived right before tourist season. Which was fine for us because we wouldn’t participate in the water sports the city offers. Unfortunately that included excursions to other islands! So we were left with the option to explore one of the nearby islands via ferry.
(This is where you can purchase ferry tickets. It’s across from the pier. Tickets cannot be bought in the massive building by the pier. Wish we knew this. Would have saved time running around looking for the office)
The ferry option was fine but it didn’t allow for us to island hop, which we would have preferred. The ferries also had inconvenient times. We took a ferry to Lopud, arriving at 11 but not able to leave until 7:30. During tourist season the odd times wouldn’t have bothered us. But the island was deserted. Only one cafe was open. People seemed surprised to see us exploring. We weren’t prepared for the hiking trails so we were limited to where we went: two beaches. That’s it. We were done exploring after an hour and a half and we still had 7.5 hrs to kill. Oy vey!
So if you go during off season just be prepared to just see the sights and not be able to do water sports or visit the various islands as easily as during peak season. But if you’re okay with that you get to save quite a bit of cash and time (lower hotel rates, fewer crowds) and still enjoy the sun and views.
Food and Drink
Best word that describes the food describe there? Salty. The pizza, the meat, the pasta, the sandwiches…all salty. I cook with salt and am not shy in using it so I was surprised at how salty the food tasted. My poor hands swelled up and one of my rings had to be put in the safe after not being able to force it on.
Italian restaurants are very popular. Not surprising with Italy being across the Adriatic sea and all. Seafood is also popular. Again, not surprising considering the proximity to the water. I wish I had been a bit more adventurous with trying it but after my salty experiences I was trying to pick safe options. Sadly they proved bad because they too were salty. And you know what else? Their chocolate proved to be unchocolatey, if that makes sense. Chocolate fell short of tasty. It lacked oomph and fell flat. Skip the chocolate. And coming from a chocolaholic that says a lot.
The pivo, or beer, was delicious. I would compare it to a lager: golden, light and smooth.
The best food we had? The gelato! For £1 for a single scoop it was our go-to snack. Naughty? Yes. But oh, so good. Dreaming of some now…Go with lemon. You won’t regret it.
The people there were so nice, welcoming and most spoke English. Always eager to help you find your way if you were lost or needed answers. Our hotel, Hotel Lapad, was a gorgeous new modern build. Hotel staff that deal with mainly tourist should have the answers to ferry times, excursion information and such. They didn’t have the answers readily available but they got them for us. Star! The rooms were lush: new, modern and very pleasant to be in. Highly recommend it.
Music sounded like old Mexican ballads except the words were in Croatian. Confused me to no end.
We noticed feral cats and dogs everywhere.
They all seem to be used to people. Often we saw locals petting and feeding them. We made a great friend on Lopud. But more on that in a later post. She deserves it. At least…I think it was a she…
Aside from random feral animals about, there was random lavender, lemons and oranges growing everywhere. The scents from them were gorgeous. So freaking relaxing. Loved them.
If you’re a person of color thinking of traveling to Croatia be prepared for a bit of staring, especially from children. It wasn’t rude, just curiosity. I didn’t mind it. I went expecting it.
Keeping in mind that after we arrived we only spent money on transportation (bus, taxi, shuttle, and ferry) and food, we only spent a total of £150 for 4 days. Not too shabby. I doubt the prices will stay as low if and when Croatia joins the EU, which may be in 2012. So if you’re planning on going, I would see about going sooner rather than later.
If you have any questions feel free to leave one in the comments section. Hvala.
P.S. Can anyone tell me what this is about? Best observation ever!