Hello from Split, Croatia!
I can't even begin to describe what a crazy week this has been.
I flew to Venice last Sunday, barely grabbed the bus I needed to Trieste and Nadir was there waiting for me. It was about midnight when I arrived and it took about an hr to drive to Umag. I had no idea what to expect. As soon as we got there, we went out to meet everyone at the bars and that's when I realized how crazy this would be. This was my first tennis tournament but everyone says this on is special because it's on the coast, it's casual, and it's for young players. Most days we spent at the complex which had outdoor at courts and one giant outdoor stadium. Around the stadium was everything you needed: bars, restaurants, shops, markets plus the beach. The people who work there are all young, mostly from the former Yugoslavia and have it made. They stay and eat for free, watch matches for free, work only for two or three hours and not until 5 in the afternoon. My days were spent sleeping till noon, going to the beach and swimming in the adriatiac. Around 5 we would head to the courts to watch the matches and usually stay until 11 or midnight. Then, everyone goes back to the hotel, changes and gets ready to go out. We would drink there until around 2, go to our favorite bar by the courts until the sun came up and then go to dance traditional Croatian and Bosnian music. I met so many amazing people from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovakia- all my age and with interesting stories.
By Friday, Nadir and I were ready to take a break and left Saturday morning to go to Plitvice National Park which is gorgeous. It is full of lakes and waterfalls. We were going to head to Split that night but he wanted to go to Bosnia since we were close to the border to get gas and, it was dinner time, so we got food. By the time we ate, we were so tired and didn't really want to drive 4 more hrs to the coast. We were in Bihac, a city near the border where he has friends (not surprising Bosnia is one big happy family) so he called them and we stayed at his friends family's house- expecting a nice relaxing evening in the sleepy town of Bihac. EXCEPT, it just so happens that this night is the one night Bihac is not sleepy. They have a regatta every year and Saturday night was the last night so there was a big concert outside on the river and massive outdoor parties set up with all kinds of DJs. It's a university town so everyone is young. We went out with his friends brother and had a blast. We slept til 11, the mother made us sausage and eggs and we hit the road to drive 4 hours through the most beautiful scenery. Bosnia is all mountains so we were up and down, through valleys, until we hit the coast of Croatia and the city of Split. We got here around 6pm last night and went straight to the beach, swam, got dinner and came back and watched a movie, we were exhausted.
Today the Bosnian girls he brought to the tournament with him who also worked there are coming to split to meet us and we will go back to southern Bosnia to go rafting tomorrow with their friends and have a barbecue. I will take a train from Sarajevo to Italy on Wednesday. It has been a crazy week but so much fun.