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Trip Report Karen and Tom's Adventures in Croatia

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For our first big trip together, my boyfriend and I (Tom and Karen, mid 50s) chose Croatia, with a brief side-trip to Bosnia. We'd built up high expectations: we wanted romance, great scenery, beautiful beaches, history, culture, and charming towns. We figured we'd bring the romance with us; Croatia/Bosnia would have to provide the rest. And we were not disappointed! Croatia/Bosnia are beautiful and we had a wonderful time.

With just 9 days on the ground and a desire to see as much as possible, we set a fairly fast pace:

- Day 1, Arrive In Zagreb, pick up rental car, drive to Plitvice Lakes
- Day 2, Plitvice Lakes, drive to Trogir
- Day 3, Trogir
- Day 5, Hvar Island
- Day 6, Hvar
- Day 7, Mostar
- Day 8, Dubrovnik
- Day 9, Dubrovnik
- Day 10, early morning flight home

We flew business on Lufthansa using United frequent flyer miles. Seats were comfortable, although they didn’t lie completely flat, and the food was good. We spent 5 hours in the Frankfurt airport business lounge, where I pretty much cleaned out the bowl of Haribo licorice. We then boarded Croatia Airline for the flight to Zagreb – an older plane on which business class consisted of economy seats in the first three rows with a lap table covering the middle seat.

Zagreb’s 1950s-era airport is small. As the plane rolled toward the terminal, a pick-up truck mounted with stairs began chasing us. We deplaned in short order and clambered aboard a bus for the 50-yard drive to the terminal.

Passport/immigration control was quick and because we hadn’t checked luggage, we proceeded directly to Fleet Car Rental, where we got a free upgrade from a VW Polo to a Golf (we'd booked through Auto Europe). With some simple directions from the Fleet guy who walked us out to the car and a free map provided by the tourist information office, we set off for Plitvice Lakes on a warm, sunny morning – excited to be setting off on our adventure!

Although the Fleet guy had suggested staying on the 4-lane toll road for most of the trip, I studied the map and found a shortcut that would save a few dollars. Unfortunately, the two-lane road was narrow, windy, and slow. Well, WE were slow.

The locals sped to within inches of our bumper and passed whenever and wherever they pleased – to heck with caution and trucks potentially coming around blind curves! After a somewhat harrowing two hours, undoubtedly exacerbated by our jetlag, we made it to the small town of Rakovic and House Zupan, our home for the night.

House Zupan (we had booked all of our rooms in advance via Booking.com) was delightful - the hostess, friendly and helpful, and the rooms, clean and simple. After dinner at a nearby hotel, during which we nearly fell asleep on our pizza, we went to bed around 7:30 or 8 and slept through till morning.

Next up: Plitvice National Park

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