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Trip Report Trip Report Lake Bled/Croatia/Venice 9/17-27/09

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We did our entire intinerary and had a great time. We had one day afternoon of rain in Lake Bled, but other than that every day was sunny and clear. I have sort of a financial bent, so I am going to mention where I stayed and whether it was a good deal. We took off from Chicago 9/16 & arrived in Venice and picked up a car on 9/17/09. We drove to Lake Bled and arrived there on 9/17/09. We bought the monthly toll pass upon entering Croatia which I think was 30 euros. The toll roads in Slovenia and Croatia were outstanding. They were much better than in illinois. We stayed with the Berc Brothers and the accomodations were great and were 60 euros a night. They had a big breakfast spread and offered free bikes. We rowed out to the island with the church and visited the castle. My wife had opted for Lake Bled and she enjoyed it. We spent Thursday and Friday night in Lake Bled. We took off for Plitvic on Saturday morning and got there about 2:00. We went in entrance #1 and walked in. When you go down the trail I would head straight for the boat which is left at the bottom of the hill. We found that the waterfalls were really spectacular after you got off the boat. We foolishly had not located our room prior to entering the park and had great difficulty finding it in the dark. I had booked an room with a private bathroom on Hostelworld.com for 30 euros for the night. When we got there they took us up 2 flights of steps with me carrying 2 suitcases and found someone already occupying our room. They offered us another room for 20 Euros without private bathroom for 20 euros. The electric in the whole village went out for 5 minutes around 10:00PM. I got up in the middle of the night and my wife turned on the lamp next to our bed and this knocked off the electric in the village again. These people were very nice although they spoke no English. We negotiated the replacement room with their daughter on the phone. On Sunday morning we took off for Split. We had an apartment for one night in Split and it was great and very well located right on the harbor for 70 euros www.apartment-margarita.com. This was the nicest place we stayed and there was a restaurant right outside our window that was the best place we ate on our vacation. We enjoyed Split and the one afternoon and evening was enough. The apartment was 3 minutes from Dionesius palace and right on the scenic harbor. We took off for Dubrovnik on Monday morning. The tollway does not go all the way from Split to Dubrovnik although they are working on it diligently. The driving gets a little hairy. I had 2 instances where someone was passing on a curve and I ended up face to face with them. We got to Dubrovnik and found that we had not brought the phone # or address of the place we were staying which was the Guesthouse S&L. We knew the general area and ended up knocking on doors until we found a lady that knew our landlord. We had a room the 1st night without private bathroom for 35 euros a night and a room with bathroom the 2nd night for 45 euros. Antenec our landlord is a big guy that was very helpful and gave us rides to old town 2x. He also drove us up this twisty road to a memorial to the 91 war. This is the best spot to see Dubrovnil from and he explained the war and took us around to the exhibits. He evidently does this for all his guests at no charge. We really liked this place and there was a bus for 8 kunas ($1.60) that took you directly to old town that ran every 20 minutes and took about 15 minutes. We went to a beach on the far side of old town where we rented beach chairs for $12 apiece and felt like jet setters (which we are not). This beach was voted one of the 10 best in the world. We spent about 3 hours in the beautiful Adriatic which is so blue and calm. We then went on the wall walk and hit both of the Buza bars which is another memory I am going to save for a cold Chicago January day. We took off on Wednesday morning and drove 9 hours to Rovinj in Istria. My wife and I I liked Rovinj and thought that it compared favorably with Dubrovnik. However this might be due to the fact that we stayed 3 days here and got more of a chance to relax. We went to a travel agent and got a room for 250 ($50) Kunas a night for 3 nights with private bathroom. We really enjoyed this place. We had a balcony where you could see the harbor. We rented bikes in Rovinj (5 kunas ($1) an hour next to the large parking lot) and rode out by the hotels on the far side. On the way we saw an olympic pool that was huge and right on the Adriatic. We asked a lady swimming there if we could swim there and she said we could. I asked how much it was and it was free. The next day we drove to Motuvn and one other hill town and then to Pula to see the coliseum. We got back at 3:00 and took a swim in the pool. It had to be 50 yards wide and 100 yards long and there was no shallow end. It had salt water so it was easy to float. On Saturday we drove to Venice and stayed in a hotel in Mestre and took a bus into Venice and we spent 4 hours and saw the Doges palace. We were pretty pooped by this time. We drove to the airport on Sunday morning and dropped off the car and took off back to Chicago. We had a Citroen C1 and it was $424 for 10 days through EconomyCarRentals.com and they subbed it to Budget. It is great renting a car in Venice because you the cars are a 2 minute walk out of the terminal. No remote lots. We took Alitalia, and the seats on the way there were very uncomfortable. They did not even have one of those air things over your head to turn on and off. On the other hand, the airplane food was actually good and the attendants were very freindly. We were in a better mood on the way back. The airfare was $550 apiece all in. The whole trip cost us a little under $3,600 all in. We had a great time and I could go there again, although we probably will not. We are thinking of Greece or Turkey. We met a young couple from Chicago in lake Bled and they were in eastern Europe 2 weeks and booked local airlines once they were over there and got to see quite a bit. Anyway, when I am working I have thought of sitting in the Buza bar looking at the beautiful Adriatic or swimming in the Adriatic. This will have to hold me until I can return to Dubrovnik

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