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Croatia Trip Report-Getting there and day one

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Nov 15th, 2008, 01:56 PM
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Croatia Trip Report-Getting there and day one

Beginning of trip report for our trip to Croatia this year. I have a few days finally chronicled, will post as I have the rest written for this very awesome trip. Warning, it is long and may lack the detail some want.
We left Milwaukee in great spirits on September 3, 2008. It was a trouble free and swift ride to Chicago O'Hare and check in was a breeze (we flew Air India). Our flight was delayed for about an hour or so, but we did get out okay. Since we didn't really have connections to make, being late wasn't a big deal. Lord, the jet we were on had seen its better days! We were at the back, so while it was nice to have the 2x2 seating, the plane shook and rattled and made lots of noise! Bummer since this is the flight we all wanted to sleep on. Food was sort of a mystery....so I guess not getting a breakfast was okay.

We did not want to check our luggage but we were all over the bag weight limit and had no choice. Our luggage made the flight with us and ended up where we were so it was okay. We walked blocks at Frankfurt to the rental car counter, but found it with no problem. From Frankfurt we were driving to Stuttgart, staying with the Reuchlen's family (Dieter & Renate & Patrick) and then getting a flight out the next day to Zagreb. Got the car, figured out how to get out of there and then headed to Stuttgart. Rollie did the driving and got us all in one piece to the relatives. And of course a huge kuchen, freshly made, was waiting for us. Mmmmmm. That Renate can bake! They of course had dinner plans for the evening. We were off to Keller in downtown Stuttgart. The boys, Stephan & Patrick joined us for dinner, what a pleasant visit. We strolled a bit in the quaint little town. Slept like logs that evening. Next morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and then headed to the airport. Those connections were fine and soon we were in Zagreb!

Relatively small airport in Zagreb, but the car rental counter is also not where you collect your luggage (oh well). They "upgraded" us to a van-something the guys should have declined. While we were looking for our rental car (and it is a lousy set-up at this airport for dragging your baggage and locating the vehicle) we ran in to some folks that were from Minnesota. They had family in Croatia and gave us all sorts of tips, etc. as to what to look for in the Zagreb area. We did end up taking their advice on several of the places they suggested. Once we had the vehicle we got the GPS out and began to navigate to our place. Thank goodness we had "Missy" (we changed her name from Jill to Missy) to assist Tom's drive to our first place. The route to Zdenka Madi's was one we would have had a difficult time finding without her. But she got us there. We knew this place was not in the inner city however it turned out it to be on the outskirts (the bus ended at her place, it did a turn around there). This was fine for us. We got to know the bus and the routes quite quickly and that mode of transportation to the downtown area really worked well. We did venture out with the van a few times from this location, mostly because we knew we had a parking space where we were staying.

Our rooms were small but clean and nice. The balcony was what we were attracted to and we really did enjoy it. We had it to ourselves. Right off the balcony was a kitchenette/meeting room. There we could make our coffee and tea and once or twice we put out a little platter filled with finds from the market that day. She had a fridge we could use as well. We mostly did snacks on the balcony, with our wine and beer of course. Also a wonderful area to hang out our clothes to dry or to air them out.

We freshened up a bit and then ventured to the old town of the city. Zagreb is a wonderful and lively town. We strolled around, located the Internet, saw where the market would be and then found some food. We ate at Nocturno-decent drinks and decent food (we were starving, anything would have been fine!). Our waitress, Tajana, was a delightful gal. We roamed around afterwards and the old town center was rocking! Bus ride home (we had to transfer once, but was simple enough to figure out). We lollygagged for a while on our balcony before bedtime. I think all slept like logs that night. What a wonderful first day in Croatia! Stay tuned for the next few days.......
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Nov 15th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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Very nice report so far. I flew Air India once, OMG that can be an adventure in itself!! I look forward to hearing more.
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Nov 15th, 2008, 08:29 PM
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Duh, I guess I should have put day 2 with this. I do have it on a separate post also. Should have titled it all differently. Oh well, here it is...
Trip report continues... Day 2 in Croatia
After a good night's sleep we all awoke refreshed and ready to explore the city and surrounding area. We started out at the market. The Zagreb market is wonderful. The flowers are beautiful and everywhere. Old ladies hawk their tablecloths, olive oil and hand made crafts while the fruit and vegetable people yell out for you to try their stock. It was going to be another beautiful bright and sunny day. We picked up some prunes (for me) and a few gift items, tablecloths that had been embroidered and a shot glass that said "Zagreb".

We stopped at a little outside bar, RO & DO, on a side street a ways from the city center. There was an Internet shop down and around the corner that Bon & I utilized while the guys relaxed. Bon did some shopping across from the bar while the rest of us sat and enjoyed a drink. The owner of the place was a character! There were customers there with a few yippee dogs and he kept yelling at her and the dogs, although everyone seemed to take it quite good-natured. He asked where we were from and was so happy to hear we were from America. He loved Americans and, wait for this, he loved our President, George W. Bush. His thoughts on the Middle East were quite clear as well. They say never talk politics; well this was not the case here. The guy was a hoot!! We thoroughly enjoyed our conversations with him.

We decided to go to Medvednica and it made sense time-wise to just take a cab up. Winding road, up and around, up and around, again and again until we were at the top. Tom had his heart set on a cable car ride. When we reached the top (via the cab ride) we discovered the cable car was broken and I believe it has been broken for a very long time. Can't say I was sad as I really don't like cable car rides. Really don't like them when it appears the cable car is rickety and in disrepair. So we had a drink at the place and enjoyed the view. We walked around a little bit but no one was in the mood for a hike. By now the sun was really beating down on us. We decided to catch the bus back down so walked to the bus stop to catch the bus to town.

While waiting for the bus a young man, Ivan Jurela, came up to us and asked for information about the bus. We told him what we knew and then he walked away. He came back a few minutes later, seemed quite agitated and said to us, "I fought for my country and now not one person will stop to give me a ride...". Clearly a reminder that a war lasts much longer for those that served than for those that were served. He stayed and talked to us (I imagine because I was listening to him). He felt very forgotten and expressed that many times. He was proud he had served his country and just could not get over being utterly disregarded now. We had only been in Croatia a few days at this time but the progress they had made in rebuilding was obvious however what was also obvious was that there still was much to do. He didn't feel a part of this rebuilding, he felt deserted and left behind. This young man was a small snapshot in to what is the aftermath of war. His plight I'm sure is not unlike that of many of the young men and women that serve in the US Military as well. Those of us snug in our beds, free to travel around, could probably never imagine what it is like for them. For this young man he simply wanted to be acknowledged and remembered. I think we all forget what these young people give up when they serve their countries. It isn't just the time.

We strolled around town once we got back. We rode the little blue train the town has for free (nothing real special) and picked up info at the tourist information shop. We then went back to the area we were in early that day to get something to eat. Since it really wasn't what they consider their dinner hour many of the places weren't open and serving food yet. We went to the place near RO & DO (don’t remember the name of the place). Right off the bat the waiter didn't seem to like us. The first table we sat at had a boom box perched in the window above and the music was a little overwhelming. So we moved to the next table (always sure to annoy a waiter). We were going to have pizza but he said no, no pizza at this time. So we ordered other items. Tom ordered crab pasta but got shrimp pasta. Bon had a green pasta dish, it was supposed to be mushroom and chicken but she said it reminded her of her mother's tuna casserole. All in all a very so-so experience. And the people that sat down and ordered right after us, yeah, they had pizza.

We picked up a few items at the grocery store and got our bus back to our place. The public transportation was efficient and very easy to figure out in Zagreb. We did have to transfer once but it was not hard to figure out at all. We lingered on our balcony and basked in the freedom one has while on vacation. We laid out plans for the following day and retired for the night. Madi's place was wonderfully quiet at night and in the morning one awoke to the sound of roosters announcing a new day. The construction crew across the street worked clear through the weekend so the scrapping sound of their trowels on the walls echoed in the air as well. Not unpleasant sounds, we found this place to be quite comfortable, even though the plumbing and electrical left much to be desired.
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Nov 16th, 2008, 03:03 AM
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Wonderful report. You really dig in to meet the locals and have such a nice way of conveying your experiences and your feelings about them.

Also nice to see Zagreb get its due in a report on Croatia. We only stayed one night to be in place for our flight out the next morning because we'd never read anything especially compelling about the place. To the contrary we found it quite an interesting city and loved the market as you did.

I'll be following the rest of this avidly. Thanks.
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Nov 16th, 2008, 04:13 AM
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Thanks for the kind words, here is day 3 in Croatia...
Day Trip to Trakoscan Castle-9/7/08
A lovely Sunday morning and today we decided to venture out in the van. The folks we had met at the airport highly recommended visiting the Trakoscan Castle so that is where we were off to. The drive to the castle wasn't bad, we found it with little trouble. Missy (the GPS) got us close enough to the town so we simple had to follow the signs to the castle.

We had a drink before we headed up to the castle. A short trek up the walkway (always up to a castle) and a reading of the brief history of the castle and we were in. The castle was in very good repair having been restored in the first half of the 19th century and occupied for several generations after that. The various collections were well displayed and quite interesting. We found the castle well worth our visit. The countryside surrounding the castle was lovely and the views were simply breathtaking. It is always easy to see what the draw was for the original castle builder. You are up above everyone else with stunning sights and clear view of all who get near.

After the castle we decided to try navigate the countryside and head toward Koprivnica to find the beer hall Kralus. I had read some good reviews so this seemed like a nice destination. Tom characterizes this particular drive as the drive from hell. We ran in to road construction and detours which sent us in to Slovenia. While we love Slovenia, that was not our destination. Luckily we always carry our passports. We could have had a problem here had we not had them with us. We were all now tired and hungry and this zigging in and out of countries was no longer amusing. We finally did find the town, located a parking space and ventured towards what appeared to be the city center.

The town was abuzz with families, out with their strollers and children on bicycles. This is a traditional small town sort of thing in this country. Families are out and about on Sunday afternoons, walking along the pedestrian friendly walkways and stopping to chat with friends they meet along the way. We just happened upon the Kralus Beer Hall while walking so stopped to have our meal. Since it was so nice out we did want to eat outside. I think the experience of a beer hall is probably best had on the inside. While I did see the inside when I used the ladies room, we did not have our meal inside and I think that is where the "experience" of Kralus would have been. We did have a decent dinner although the table was so small it was difficult for the waiter to get everything on it. In retrospect we should have eaten inside the beer hall.

This was the only place we ran in to a child beggar. He came around to all the tables with his sad eyes and hands out. When he approached our table we waived him off, shaking our heads no but he came forward anyway. Another patron, I assumed he was a local, yelled at the boy and told him to scat. Just like that the sad little face turned hateful and the boy flipped the man the bird and trotted off.

The ride back was much nicer than the ride there. We managed to get back to our place all in one piece and ready for another pleasant wind-down on the balcony. Plans for the next day are the crystal factory.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 05:17 AM
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"Kristal Tuk" Crystal Factory in Samobor-9/8/08
Here we are, our last full day in Zagreb, time is flying by. Our plan for this last day in the area was to travel to Samobor to visit the crystal factory. So again we headed out in the van.

Samobor was on our original itinerary but we were not aware of the crystal factory when we penciled it in. The people we ran in to at the airport recommended finding the factory and shopping here, among their other recommendations, so we took them up on it. The drive to Samobor was stress free. We found a place to park and walked around the town, stopping for coffee at an outside cafe.

We had no trouble finding Kristal Tuk, it was located on a side street, off the main drag. There was a small storefront shop where you could see some of there wares and purchase them. Off this little shop was a studio where the artisans were grinding and etching the beautiful crystal. Bon and I could have gone crazy here, prices were very reasonable. Problem of course is carrying this stuff around town and getting it back home in one piece. We could not resist several items as gifts. I took care of my secret pal, a little something for my mother in law's birthday, something for one of my girls and of course a small vase for myself. I would recommend this place for anyone interested in glass.

After the factory we were going to try to locate the Internet cafe. We left the guys enjoying a drink and headed up the street to find said Internet cafe. We missed the turn to the little bar that actually had the Internet and ended up walking to the next town. Once there we turned around and walked back and of course it was what we thought was an entrance to a hotel was the bridge we should have gone over. Either way, it was a pleasant walk. We took care of our emails, had another drink and then did some more exploring.

We ran in to a search & rescue team from Canada. They were here for a convention of sorts with other teams from around the world. Dressed in orange with their dogs all decked out in orange they were enjoying some free time to browse the lovely little town. A peek inside the church and we were on our way. Well, not really. When we got back to the van there was a ticket on it. Now we had to figure out where to pay. We found a bank and paid our 100.00 HRK. Now we were on our way.

Back to Zagreb. We planned on having supper in old town. First we wanted to stop and say good bye to our friend at RO & DO. Alas, the place was closed and he wasn't around. We had a drink at the bar next door and had a nice conversation with a local. He had spent time in the US and said one of his girls was in New York at this time. Always interesting to get another perspective. His English was perfect. Actually we found that almost everyone spoke and understood English quite well. As we were leaving we did run in to Dominik Skoric and he was happy we came to say good bye. He insisted on buying us a shot, we insisted he had one with us and so we had a toast. "Ahh, my great American friends". We were glad we caught up with him. He recommended Pizzeria 2 for dinner and we took his advice. The fare was simple food we all really enjoyed. The server was a pleasant gal and this was a great end to our stay in Zagreb. Back to our balcony for one last time.

Thoughts on Zagreb: Lively old town, friendly people, easy public transportation, good base point-highly recommend a visit here. We would return in a minute!
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Nov 17th, 2008, 05:26 AM
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Plitvice Lakes National Park & Krizmanic Guest House-9/9/08
Today we pack up, leave Zagreb and head out to the National Park. We are sad to leave the city but looking forward to the serenity of the park area. Additionally we will catch up with our friends at Krizmanic Guest House.

The ride was a pleasant one although it was very disarming to see land mine signs, warning you not to venture off the road in some areas because they had not completed the sweep for land mines. Another of those reminders of the recent war in this country. Aside from that the area we were heading to was simply beautiful, especially at this time of year. Not quite fall but the start of earlier darkness, cooler evenings and mornings while there were still hot afternoons. We could not have had better weather. We stopped in a small town on our way, had a few drinks, bought a few groceries (wine, beer, fresh fruit & snacks) and then sent off a few cards from the Post Office.

We found the park with no trouble at all. Krizmanic Guest House is very quaint in a quiet little section. The hostesses was a lovely young woman. Unfortunately she had been stung by a bee on her foot and she limped the entire time we were there. Didn't hamper the service at all. The place was very well kept up. Our rooms were spotless as was the breakfast area. It really seemed as though she was there all by herself. The rooms we had were billed as an adjoining suite but it actually was two separate bedrooms with a little nook that had a refrigerator & sink as well as dishes and glasses, more or less in a hallway, although there was a locked door and a sitting room across from Bon and Rollie's bedroom. The outside space was not directly outside our rooms but it was nice. While it wasn't as we thought it was, based on various pictures we had seen, it worked out for us. She had a picnic table with an umbrella in the front and we enjoyed that area while at her place. We set up the iPod with speakers and enjoyed Patsy Cline and a few other relaxing tunes while we had our before dinner cocktails. Man life is good on vacation.

We walked over to the Licka Kuca restaurant (and the shortcut there can be quite the challenge in the dark). Truthfully we found it to be just so-so. It was late and maybe that had something to do with it. They were out of what we wanted (both visits as it turned out). The staff was not exceptionally friendly and the place was rather dark. For all the hype prior to our visit we just didn't find it anything special. We are not food snobs either. Our choices are simple places, we like to eat as the locals do and as we do at home. 5 star restaurants are not what we look for but we do like decent food, portioned properly with friendly service. This probably comes from my years in food service.

Retiring for the evening we knew the Tischer's and Bruechner's were going to be arriving in the middle of the night so we had an ear out for them (well I did, Tom slept like a log that night, never heard them at all). I heard their car creeping down the street, as our room faced the front road. They had two way radios so they could communicate with Bon once they arrived. Safely inside they came upstairs and we sat around in the little sitting room listening to the stories of their trip so far. Certainly we had to get them a beer, after all, they had just had a very long ride. Finally around 3 am we all went to bed. We agreed to meet in the breakfast room and then do the "walk".
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Nov 17th, 2008, 06:04 AM
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Plitvice National Park-9/10/08
Today we awoke to the peacefulness of the lovely park area. We joined our friends Tom & Nancy, Tom & Suellen and Bon & Rollie down in the breakfast room to have our morning meal and plan the day. The breakfast was a simple and pleasant one, cheese, sliced meat, rolls, juice, coffee or tea, yogurt, the standard fare for these kind of places. We decided when to meet to walk the park. This is a must-do when in this area and of course one of the reasons we made the stop here. Tom T tried (again) to get some Kuna and his Tyme card wouldn't work here either. Seems this was an ongoing thing. All the rest of us, as well as his travel group, had no problem accessing our accounts through the local ATM's. He called his bank, a local bank in Wisconsin, North Shore Bank and they told him it was the government that was not letting them let him get his money. Okay, well we all knew that story was a load. He made a little video at the ATM which we urged him to post on YouTube-one of those "Leave home without it..." spoofs (I don't think he ever posted it though). He resolved this when he got home-yes never was able to withdraw while in Croatia-by going in to the bank and closing his account. Talk about your miserable customer service! A good lesson here, always have a back up plan for money. He did notify his bank before he left the states. They knew his destinations, that is probably the scariest part of the story. Lucky for him he was traveling with friends that were spotting him cash until they returned home. He would have had to get cash on a credit card or have someone wire him cash if they had been alone. Wow, that would really tick me off!

Off to the park. There are numerous trails. Which one you take depends upon what your tolerance is. There are different points that you can catch a bus or a boat. We opted for the one that was in the 2 to 3 hour range if I'm not mistaken. Of course we lolly gagged at the restaurant in the middle of the walk so that added to our time in the park. You also have wait time for the boat and for the bus. One does need to give it a full day even if you are only going to do the "short walk". The trail was spectacular. Waterfalls everywhere pouring in to crystal clear lakes and streams. Mother Nature is what is happening here. Pictures do not do it justice, nor do mere words, although we took pictures of the water and you can actually see the fish swimming around. We were traveling at what is considered almost off season and there still were plenty of tourists. It was a very warm day and I was glad I had my big old straw hat. We made the walk with no problems at all. Everyone enjoyed it, no casualties in our group. There was one lady the heat got to, lucky for her everyone let her get to the front of the line so she could get on the next boat, sit down and get out of the sun.

After the walk we cleaned up, some rested and some sat outside enjoying the peaceful evening, sharing stories, evening cocktails and music of course. We were all leaving the next day, heading south, each group to a different area with plans to meet up one day in Split. We went to Licka Kuca again and as I noted earlier, it wasn't anything spectacular. They were out of whatever had been the "special" and what we had was just okay. I think those that had fish enjoyed there meals. Plans to meet for breakfast and then off to bed for everyone.

Thoughts on the park: As they say, certainly a must see. It is serene and breathtaking. The walkways are in very good condition. We are walkers, not hikers but found this to be a wonderful place to just walk. I am quite sure the hikers love the park as well. I'm with everyone else that says this is worth the time and deserves a visit. We would return here as well.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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Thanks for posting your thoughts on this spectacular country.

Zagreb is underrated in my opinion. In fact, on our next trip we want to spend more time there. Have you heard about the recent earthquake and car bombings this week? I subscribe to Zagreb's daily e-news. That still would not keep me away. Just love Croatia.

Isn't Plitvice just amazing? Glad you got to visit.
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Nov 18th, 2008, 04:34 AM
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travel2live2, no I did not hear about the earthquake although we did get wind of the car bombings. We did not feel unsafe at all while in Croatia. We were overwhelmed in some areas of destruction though, sad, very sad. Those that wish to terrorize are everywhere, they win when you give in to their terror. Our travel to Europe will continue (we want to do this while we still have legs). We loved Croatia and certainly will return. Working now on the notes for the rest of our vacation that had us on to Trogir and then to the glorious Dubrovnik, hopefully those will be posted by the end of the weekend (this pesky job expects my full attention dayside!).
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Nov 18th, 2008, 06:30 AM
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Good for you. You cannot NOT travel because of the slim possibility of situations occuring.

Glad you loved it so much! My husband is there right now and tells me it is still lush and green and warm and beautiful.
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Nov 19th, 2008, 04:40 AM
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travel2live2, Why aren't you there with him??? Glad he is enjoying that wonderful country. What area is he visiting? Watch for more posts over the weekend.
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Nov 19th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Posting to 'bookmark' so this thread comes up under my name when I log in, and so I don't miss your updates!

Enjoying it very much so far - you have been to parts of Croatia that I haven't yet reached...

I remember you posting questions back in the summer, and I think we may have been in Dubrovnik around the same time. Keep posting please!
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Nov 19th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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LuvToRoam, good question! This is exciting news - DH went to Croatia to purchase a house!!!! One of us had to stay behind to facilitate tons of emails and calls relating to banking, property management, lawyers, etc. - lots of work. It has been tricky trying to do this with the time change - when things are open here, they are closed there. BUT WE HAVE A HOUSE!! It is so lovely and I cannot wait to see it myself. And I so look forward to the different culture, climate, lifestyle, history, food, etc. I'm tickled!!
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Nov 19th, 2008, 01:58 PM
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travel2live2, okay, I am offically just red face jealous, how wonderful! Details, details, details, now I have something to look forward to here. I think those great people have been working so hard to rebuild, the more visitors and the more cash that can come their way the faster it will happen. Will look for more from you!
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Nov 19th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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Trogir-September 11, 2008
We left the beautiful park area and had a pleasant drive to Trogir although we sure did see many abandoned and destroyed buildings and homesteads on the ride. We stopped at a roadside stand and bought some local cheese. It was not really cheap but it sure was good. Since this was from her farm, paying a few kuna more seemed like a good deal. We did stop in a little town called Prozor-Vrlika, needed a little potty/drink break. Children were walking around with their back packs on so they were either going or coming I guess. There was a little market (I use the term lightly) so we walked down the street and it wasn't much. Old men with machine parts and old ladies with clothing that didn't look very fashionable. Everyone just sort of sitting there, really kind of weird. We walked back to the main street we had come in on and sat at a table-the bar was actually across the street but there was no area on that side for outside seating-they were utilizing space across the narrow road. We each had a drink and used their facilities (we found every single place we stopped at on the entire trip to be gracious about letting people use the restrooms). We thought maybe we would get a bite to eat while stopped but there was not a restaurant in town. Not one. He said about 10 miles out we might find one. Clearly they are struggling to survive in this town. From this point we really saw lots of damaged buildings. We hit Trogir and getting in to town here is a little tricky. We actually did find our place with little trouble-luckily they (Kasalo) do give you good info on just about where they are and they had a sign on the bottom road which we saw on our first pass through (it is almost like a large U that you travel up, make a sharp turn and then are behind all the properties you were looking up at). We were staying at the family KASALO apartments. We had more trouble turning this huge van in the driveway than we did finding the place! But we made it, our hosts were there and our place was all ready for us. Really nice people and a tiny little guard dog to boot!

What terrific accommodations. Our balcony overlooked the port and "castle ruins". The yachts are unbelievable here. We were getting close to the land of the rich and famous. There were patio doors that lead out to the balcony, so the view was always there and the central room was nice and bright. The balcony was covered, which was wonderful since it absolutely poured one of the days we were here. They had a rack for hanging clothes out as well as a table and chairs for outside dining. The central room had a large sectional type sofa, coffee table, a TV, a table at a banquette, with a few chairs and then a kitchen "area" that had a sink, fridge, 2 burners and cupboards with dishes and pots and pans. We surely would be utilizing this area. Only drawback here was that there was only one bathroom. Our travel buds are easy going as are we so it worked out just fine for us, never was an issue. There also was a loft here but we never used it at all. There were two bedrooms and each were just fine-clean linens, ample space to hang some clothes, bedside tables and a nice large window for air and light. One room had a double bed and one room had twin beds. They also have the nice outside roller blinds which kept the place nice and cool. For the most part we had pretty warm weather here.

After settling in we ventured to the city center, which actually was just across the bridge (more or less) from where we were staying. I would say about a 10 minute walk. Internet access was nearby at a tourist shop, although there were only two computers here. As is the case everywhere these days, Internet access or cafes are easy to find. No shortage here either. Had to check out where we would get a bus to Split as we just didn't want to take the van. More about the bus later. The market here is wonderful and the small old town is fun to lose yourself in-narrow walkways that branch off and off and off, with little shops here and there. We strolled through the market, bought a shirt for Tom T, bought some olive oil from a little old lady, marveled at the great old buildings and then went looking for some place to eat. Pasta and pizza night for us-beer of course for the guys and wine for Bon and I so we chose an outdoor setting, K? The sign said Hausgemachte Nudlen-Pizza-Home Made Pasta with a K on either side, so I assumed it was called "K". We found it enjoyable and the waiter entertaining. A little more browsing around, a stop at a local grocery and then we headed back to our place. Great to hang out on the balcony. Night cap and off to bed for everyone. Tomorrow we would catch the bus for Split and see how the old rich and famous used to live.
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Nov 19th, 2008, 02:43 PM
  #17
 
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Loving your report with all its great details! I'm living it right with you! You stayed in a lovely part of Trogir. What a magical place!

What part of the country did you enjoy most? Perhaps I should be patient and wait for your next installment...
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Nov 19th, 2008, 07:14 PM
  #18
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Side trip to Split, September 12
Awoke to bright sunlight and the prospect of another simply beautiful day. Bon and I had planned on doing our own little breakfast so we walked to the local bakery near the bridge, picked up some fresh bread/rolls, naturally some schnechts (old German saying for bakery-anyone from Milwaukee will know this word) as well as some fresh fruit and then got to cutting and arranging and set a lovely table on the balcony. Our boys were duly impressed. This is the way to live, linger over coffee watching the sail boats waft in and out of the bay. But we did have to get ourselves up and out as we were going to Split today.

We went to the bus station (based upon our Fodor's research we had decided on the "fast bus", much like a Greyhound) bought tickets (21 Kn each-which at the time we were there was about $4) for the "coach" and then went to the area at the bus station they said the bus would be. We were happy we made this choice. The other buses would have made many stops and it is hard to know what the comfort level would have been on said ride. Several buses came and went where we were waiting before our bus showed up. One only had to show the ticket to the driver and he knew if you belonged on his bus or not. Once on the bus, very nice, comfortable seat and not crowded at all. We just sat where we wanted to on the ride there.

Once in Split it was quite easy to locate Diocletian's Palace as we were dropped right in front of it. Nice digs. We didn't think about asking where we had to catch the bus back to Trogir. We'd made a plan to meet up with our friends somewhere in the "center", but had telephones in case we could not find one another. The place was hopping, lots of tours groups and waiters bustling back and forth. It is really kind of cool, they have cushions set out on the stone walls and if you sit, the waiter arrives. Of course if you sit you are expected to order, which does seem fair to me. We ordered 4 coffees-what? Okay, coffees for Bon and I and the guys had beer (because when on vacation it is drink time somewhere in the universe). They bring a little board type thing to set your drinks on and you are good to go. We have noticed (and loved) that Europeans don't use plastic cups, they like the real thing. Found our friends and then off to explore.

This complex is immense. If Tom and I were to go back we would hire a private guide. There are shops all over, it is impossible to get a sense of the history of the place. We knew some of the background because we had done some reading beforehand. The other group of travelers were staying in this complex and they liked their places. We went to see the rooms (to use the facilities) and they were very nice. Narrow walk to the storefront that they were above and up several flights of stairs for one of the apartments. Since it is such close quarters (building-wise) they didn't have much of a view. The rooms were air conditioned though and they were glad for that. There also were computers in their rooms with Internet access. The gal that had the studio below them and ran the place was ready to pop a baby out at any moment!

We strolled around, witnessed the fish market, which was quite lively and then stopped and had a drink. Compared to off the beaten path places, cocktails were quite expensive here. We are spoiled already, cocktail hour just has not been breaking the bank. A little more strolling and then we went looking for a place that Tom T had scoped out earlier, for something to eat. We walked all the way to Marjan city park. This park offers a spectacular view of the sea and the Split promenade, “The Riva”. We actually had passed the restaurant and ended up at the park. We asked someone for directions to the place and they poo-poo'd the idea of going there. They recommended a place right on the promenade, do not remember the name, but I think it was the pizza place at the hotel right there on the promenade. We ate outdoors, it was the casual of the two restaurants that were there. We all had pizza. A few shared a pizza, the rest of us each had our own. They bill these as individual but they are huge. All were absolutely delicious. It did begin to sprinkle a little bit, but not a big deal. After that it was time to head towards the bus terminal to catch our bus back to Trogir. We had thought we would simply catch the bus back where we were dropped, but that wasn't the case. There were two distinctly different bus terminals so we had to figure that out. We did. Stopped at a gelato stand on the way because obviously an entire pizza was just not enough. Good-byes to our friends, a plan to catch up in Dubrovnik and we were on our way.

Got the bus with no trouble. Sat down and planned to close our eyes for the ride home. But there was a problem. Seems there were too many people and people were not in their assigned seats. Assigned seats? We didn't know we had assigned seats. I looked at our tickets and sure enough, we were supposed to be in seat 13 and seat 14. Luckily we were at the beginning and the jostling around didn't hamper us getting to our assigned seats and staying in them. Others, not so lucky. Many had to stand for the ride home. After all that we got back to Trogir safe and sound. Took a slow stroll through town, stopped at a grocery store and then headed to the balcony. All in all a very fun day. We were glad to have seen Split but were happy we had chosen to stay in Trogir. It is certainly a much smaller town but that is what we like. The town was lively at night and once back at our place we could hear the music from the harbor side bars. Hang out on the balcony until it is time for bed. Tomorrow we will find a beach....

Travel2live2-at the very end I will try to sum it all up and maybe come up with a verdict....
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Nov 19th, 2008, 07:17 PM
  #19
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Oh, and travel2live2, my hubby says we would love to be your first guests.....
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Nov 20th, 2008, 04:52 AM
  #20
 
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LuvToRoam, I am loving your report! Makes me long for Croatia again.

JulieVikmanis, I've posted many times on this board that I was fond of Zagreb. We were there in late 06 and I found it to be quite nice and I'm glad we spent time there.

Looking forward to more!
Tracy
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