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Adriatic Madness: 4 weeks Venice to Sarajevo - Solo!

Adriatic Madness: 4 weeks Venice to Sarajevo - Solo!

Old Sep 4th, 2022, 08:29 AM
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Adriatic Madness: 4 weeks Venice to Sarajevo - Solo!

Hi all! This is my first ever trip report on Fodors. Have not spent as much time on here as I did in the past but thought I'd give this a go!

in 2019, my company announced it would be offering four-week sabbaticals to employees of a certain tenure. It was not supposed to start until 2023, but they decided they would move up the timeline in early 2020, becoming eligible in 2021. And then we all know what happened. Thanks (sarcasm).

So, I waited. But I planned. Oh did I plan! And when it looked like things were improving, I got to the point where I executed that plan.

So, I arranged it with my employer in mid-May 2022.. And I booked it, for August – September 2022. And a few weeks later: the travel industry erupted in chaos. Flight cancelations, strikes, piles and piles of delayed baggage in terminals, lines out the door for check in and passport control. Yay.I could not change it. So, I had to roll with it. On one hand, the only person I had to worry about was myself. On the other, if I needed to break down from the stress, I’d be alone.

Pre-trip Prep:I booked flights from SFO to VCE via Lufthansa, with a layover in Frankfurt. I was originally supposed to have a two-hour layover in Frankfurt, arriving in Venice at 13:30pm. Knowing what I knew about FRA, I was a but apprehensive I would make the connection. This is in normal circumstances.


As I watched the drama unfold with Lufthansa and Frankfurt airport, I began to toy with taking a later flight, the next available being 16:10 departure. As I was about to call that week (approximately 4 weeks before departure), I got a notification that Lufthansa automatically switched me to that later flight. Saved me a phone call.

Itinerary:This is a mix of places I have been to previously and new destinations. Of the ones I have been to previously, they were simply because I missed things the first time around and/or just want to see again. In short, this is a bit of a "dream" trip. A cruise without the cruise, if you will.

I am relying completely on public transport, so there might be locations where others may balk at my choices to not “base” at a city (such as Split). Not having a car, I had to avoid backtracking however I could, plus the need to work my way down the coastline.

Venice: 5 nights, with a day trip to Verona (Venice revisit)

Piran, Slovenia: 3 nights, with a day trip to Predjama Castle & Postonja Caves (new destinations)

Rovinj, Croatia: 1 night (revisit)

Pula, Croatia: 2 nights (revisit)

Zadar, Croatia: 2 nights (new)

Sibenik, Croatia: 2 nights (new)

Korcula, Croatia: 3 nights (revisit)

Dubrovnik, Croatia: 2 nights (revisit)

Kotor, Montenergo: 2 nights (revisit)

Mostar, Bosnia: 1 night (revisit)

Sarajevo, Bosnia: 3 nights (new)

Itinerary Summary/Background:Many may be surprised at my omission of Split. I toyed with returning (went in 2019) and thoroughly enjoyed the city, but also found it to be busy and at times crazy. So, instead opted to visit Sibenik instead.

Regarding Kotor and Mostar: I did both cities on two separate day tours from Dubrovnik in 2019. This meant that my time in ALL three cities were “shorted,” so, this time I decided to spread my time between the three.

Yes, I realize that this is a lot of moving and not to other people’s preferences. Given I am solo, I do not need to settle in as much as I would if my parents were with me (and were with me on trips to Venice & Istria from 2015, and Dalmatia in 2019). And, I find traveling solo I also get bored much quicker not having the social interaction that make hanging in a place worthwhile. When this summary was written, I qas nearly finished with my Istria leg; and, I found myself bored to tears in Piran (absolutely lovely) after the first four hours!

Lastly, I am dependent on public transport. While basing in a place is ideal, I do not want to spend the time and money backtracking and figuring out transport to *and* from a destination on a day trip, Verona excluded.

Also absent are Krka and Plitvice National Parks. I visited Plitvice in 2015 and 2019 and Krka in 2019 as well. While I would always love to see these two parks again, I really did not want to “deal” with them (the logistics, the crowds, everything) this time around. My trip is hectic enough without adding them to the mix.

So, settle on in. As I am currently in Kotor as I post this, I am finding that I am running my first ever marathon. 🤣


edited for formatting.

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Sep 4th, 2022 at 08:36 AM.
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 08:54 AM
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on for the ride
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 01:27 PM
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I’m in!
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 01:47 PM
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Looking forward to this.
I do want to know how the public transport works in that region, too.
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 01:47 PM
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What a lovely itinerary. Following you!
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Old Sep 4th, 2022, 03:20 PM
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Sign me up!
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 12:56 AM
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Can’t wait for more!
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 12:59 AM
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I hope you staying in Kotor today too. It is an absolute stunner of a day, weather wise.

Looking forward to your report. You will love Sarajevo! Are you taking the famous train between Mostar and Sarajevo?
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 04:39 AM
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I’m on board!
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rialtogrl View Post
I hope you staying in Kotor today too. It is an absolute stunner of a day, weather wise.

Looking forward to your report. You will love Sarajevo! Are you taking the famous train between Mostar and Sarajevo?
Yes! Holy Moly Macaroni was today gorgeous! Went on the ladder today to St. John's fortress. I thought I was in decent shape until today. I'm not! 🤣
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 03:31 PM
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Flights and Arrival Summary:

I stayed overnight in a hotel near SFO. My flight was set to depart at 14:40. I got there at 9:30am! While I checked in online, had carryon only, and TSA Pre Check, my anxiety about staff shortages necessitated an early to the airport mindset. I needed not to have worried.
I did wake up around 4am just to make sure the arrival plane of Flight LH 454 was in the air. At least it would mean I’d have a plane (would I have a crew?). The flight ended up being delayed by an hour. I did not care.

Flight to FRA was fairly uneventful. Got some sleep, albeit a noisy family near me. It was not the kid making the noise, lets just say that. ;-)
Layover: Oh goody. 5 hours at perhaps the biggest zoo in Europe. And perhaps a blessing in disguise, I guess, that our plane deplaned on the tarmac and had to wait for buses to return us to the terminal. The good thing is, I did not have to re-enter security after passport control.The line at passport control was pretty quick, though my clearing sometimes can take a while as my passport has a stamp of a foot from the Cook Islands (One Foot Island). This always gets a reaction. And sparked a little bit of a conversation between me and two passport agents. I never thought that silly stamp would be such a conversation piece (read on, it happened again in Slovenia and Croatia).

And after clearing, this meant a LONG wait. Over 4.5 hours, as, of course, my flight to Venice was also going to be delayed. I slept a bit, got a beer and some chips. Managed to find a few quiet spots at FRA. I guess in a zoo even lions sleep, right?

Flight to Venice: I was dead asleep before the plane even took off. Shortest 90 minutes ever.

Arrival in City & Hotel: I stayed at Venice Maggior Consiglio which is near Pizzale Roma and Santa Lucia train station, plus was conveniently located near Ferrovia vaparetto stop. I actually stayed here in 2015 and was happy with it now as I was then. I took the ACTO bus from the airport to Pizazale Roma (about 10 Euro, if I am not mistaken) and walked to the hotel from there.

Arrival day being Ferragosto, I was a bit surprised that the city was so busy and few things were closed (other than grocery markets and pharmacies) and expected more restaurant closures. Nah!

Hungry and losing daylight, I found a little trattoria near by. It was busy and the food was decent. Ordered a half liter of house red (it was a bit sweet to me) and penne arrbbiata (my favorite!). I did not catch the name of the restaurant and walked by it at least 6 more times during my time in Venice. I later found out that the name was Al Brindisi. If one looks at the reviews on Google, the reviews are pretty dismal. I can only say what I had was good to me. The fact one cannot see the restaurant name is now a clue for later experiences. (Note: read on). However, I do not always subscribe to this mindset as hole in the walls often are great gems as well.

After dinner, I wanted to continue to stretch my legs. So, I decided to set off on a LONG walk to Rialto. I honestly cannot recall if I ever got there. But I do remember getting lost getting back. Probably walking around in the dark after a long journey was not the best of ideas. I got back to my hotel around 21:30, just as it was beginning to sprinkle.

Overnight thunderstorms were so ferocious – lightening and thunderclaps that nearly caused me to have be peeled off the ceiling. I think I remember (barely in my jet-lagged state) the lightening lighting up the top of Santa Lucia that it looked like daylight.
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 04:05 PM
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Lovely. Thank you. I too end up in local not-very-exciting restaurants which do the job for me. And get bad reviews. Who cares??
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Old Sep 8th, 2022, 01:51 PM
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Day 2 Murano & Burano
Set off away from the "standard" first day tourist sites and went to Murano & Burano as these were areas I was unable to visit on my previous trip. This was pre-planned as I figured being indoors in a church or museum would not give me the Vitamin D benefits of being outside in the elements to shake off that jet lag. It worked.


Purchased a two day vaparetto pass for 30E. I researched ahead of time using the ACTV website but unfortunately, the vaparetto stopped at a different stop on Murano that I was expecting, which made my connection to Burano complicated. I have the absolute worst sense of direction and had a heck of a time on Murano to find the appropriate station to get to Burano. I eventually found it, however, in the process of not knowing my own bearings and belongings (new purse), I lost my pass and that 30E just went down the drain. I hope someone found it and used it, at least.


I eventually made it to Burano and immediately enjoyed the lovely colors on the buildings. While I did do a little bit of shopping for some lace products, I was hoping to find some stores that had loose (not made into clothing) lace for a couple of friends that love sewing and fashion. In hindsight, judging by the price of the clothing, I could only imagine how much yards (meters) would have been.


Stopped to have lunch at Trattoria da Primo and had spaghetti cabonara, one of my more favorite Italian dishes.


Murano: back to Murano where I simply walked around the canals taking in the neighborhood. Nothing really grabbed my attention in the city so much; my overall impressions were a bit ambivalent over Murano in general. Maybe it was jetlag, though.


I think if I ever return to Venice, these two can be skipped. Glad I did them but really do not feel a connection to them in a point where I want to return.

Upon returning to the city, I set out for some sunscreen. I was beyond my liquid allowance and my pink shoulders and feet were reminding me of my English roots. I admit, though, I was shocked at the price of the sunscreen. 26E for 150ml bottle of 50spf in some places, but think I spent around 16E ultimately.


The humidity was killing me, though. Being from Northern CA, I am no stranger to heat. But humidity is not my friend.







I decided to take in the San Marco area in the evening (I knew it would be crowded) but the Vitamin D had done some wonders and was feeling good enough to deal with the crowds and walk back to Cannaregio (this is a long walk!). On the way back, I got a little gelato and did not eat dinner. When I travel, I tend to eat breakfast at my hotel/sobe (usually choose places where it is included) and one meal. I may stop for snacks at some point or a small picnic. Or gelato. Usually gelato!

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Sep 8th, 2022 at 01:53 PM.
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Old Sep 8th, 2022, 02:14 PM
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What a lovely way to shake off jetlag.
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Old Sep 8th, 2022, 02:23 PM
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We're going to Split later this week, to visit a friend. I'd love to hear more about Split, and why you say it's crazy.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
We're going to Split later this week, to visit a friend. I'd love to hear more about Split, and why you say it's crazy.
I went in 2019, visiting Korcula before Split and honestly, while Split is lovely, it was a bit much for my introvert on the days that I was there. There were at least two large cruise ships in port, adding a bit to the chaos, not to mention the activity around the ferry ports (where we came from).

I knew there would be crowds, but I, personally, felt a bit claustrophobic. This is me - nothing against the city. I will go again when I can have the planning in place to prepare mentally, so to speak.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 01:37 AM
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Split is fine and the palace is interesting, but Trogir is less crowded and with more places to chill out. I have used it more as a gateway to the islands and the islands are great with a real chilled out feeling
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Split is fine and the palace is interesting, but Trogir is less crowded and with more places to chill out. I have used it more as a gateway to the islands and the islands are great with a real chilled out feeling
Agreed. I did go to Trogir as a day trip from Split in 2019 Found the town to be much more relaxed, less GOT-driven tourists than Split.

No offense to tourists who travel for purposes to see where a film/show was filmed. Their motivation is their own.I just prefer, for my own travel, for the history/art/culture-driven. Filming locations are a cool after thought.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 06:16 AM
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I am a gelato addict too. I try to restrict myself to 3 a day in Europe. Great midday snack!
It sounds like Split has changed since I was there in 2012. No cruise ships then and no crowds. Maybe I was lucky. Trogir was a joy.

Last edited by gertie3751; Sep 9th, 2022 at 06:18 AM. Reason: Adding stuff
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 07:51 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about the crowds and cruise ships. I've wanted to see Split for a long time, mainly because Diocletian fascinates me.

Diocletian brought stability to the Roman Empire after nearly a century of chaos and violence. He divided the empire into four parts, with two head emperors, each of whom had a junior emperor under him. He thought this would lead to an orderly transition of power in the future, because the junior emperor could take over the role when a head emperor died or abdicated. He underestimated the greed for power.

He was the first emperor to voluntarily resign the throne, retiring to Split (Spalatum), where he devoted his time to cultivating cabbages.

He also instituted a vast persecution of Christians, after a long period of tolerance (maybe because in all the political chaos they were overlooked). However Constantine, one of the four emperors after Diocletian's retirement, soon beat out all his rivals and became sole emperor. Shortly after he proclaimed tolerance of the Christian religion.
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