I woke up this morning at 820. I thought I’d set my alarm for 8 thinking I’d get to the train station at about 9. I knew there was a train at 8 and 230, but for some reason I thought I knew better. I don’t know why so now I’m stuck here untill 230.
I packed all my stuff. It took about 20 mins, the stuff I bought yesterday making it that much more difficult. Now that I think about it I think I left my computer charger there…. No no, it’s ok I’ve got it.
I walked to the same place I was on the internet yesterday and had a coffee. Then set off through town for the train station. It was pretty cold. I was singing with my Ipod headphones on. Every word I sang came out in a puff of steam, the humidity in my breath condensing all of the outside air that it came in any sort of proximity with.
At the train station at 1030 I found out the next train wasn’t untill 1430. Damn it. So I went and checked buses. No luck so I grabbed a train ticket. Bought some Kuna, the Croatian currency and headed here to where I am now.
My fingers are almost totally numb. I have to sit on them every 10 mins to make them start working again.
We’re at the Slovenia - Croatia border. The border Guards are sweeping through the train. He stalled with my passport and began talking into his radio. He assured me that everything was allright but he just had to check if my uncle was living in Europe. I think that’s what he said anyway.
There’s a lady sitting behind me, well she was sitting behind me. She’s going to Romania but for one reason or another she’s been kicked off the train, “Baggage and outside“ she was told. The officer told her that she has to go to Romania through Hungary not through croatia and that she has to go to an embassy or something. I’m pretty sure she’s a wino, probably didn’t even have a ticket.
Drew and I are sitting in a car with a Croatian Guy who picked us up from the toll booth on the highway from Zagreb to Belgrade. He’s put the cruise control on now. Which is giving the illusion of safety. The Cruise set on 170kph seems much safer then the needle fluctuating between 180 and 200 as it was for the first 10 min.
After chilling in the café in Ljubljana I strolled over to where the train info was. I knew that it was leaving at 1435 but for some reason I’d imagined that it was leaving at 1445, as a result I was running pretty fine. I checked the info, platform 6. I went there and there was something different on the screen that definitely wasn’t Zagreb. I went back and checked again. It was definitely platform 6. I was starting to sweat a little I didn’t want to be telling the story of how I showed up 4 hours early for a train only to miss it. I asked at info and they said 6 I explained the situation. Turns out I was at the wrong end of platform 6.
The train ride, apart from the crazy Romanian lady, was fairly uneventful. And due to the quick border crossing as the train was fairly empty we got into Zagreb about 20 minutes early. I walked into the centre of the station and heard a wolf whistle. It was Drew. I was meeting him there and he was staying with my hosts and I for the night.
We chilled at the train station for a while, and a friendly local helped me buy a Croatian Sim card. Next we walked through town to the main square where we were meeting our hosts. We sat our packs in front of a massive statue and I declared I was going to get some beer. Drew jokingly said to get something in a plastic bottle. Not wanting to disappoint him I returned 5 minutes later with 2 X 2L plastic bottles of the local poison. We went to cheers, I paused. I asked a passing local “How do you say cheers in Croatian, Nasdravia?” “Oosdravia” they corrected me and we clinked plastic bottles the traditional way.
People were looking at us pretty funny and we weren’t sure if we were aloud to drink in the middle of the main public square or not. Mario and Martia, both guys, soon arrived and we made our introductions. Then we walked to there flat, less then 5 minutes walk from the main square.
We’ve just been pulled over by the cops. A copper came out of the car and started talking to mike(our lift), he then said something and ran back to his car. Mike explained that he’d been doing “Approximately 30kilometers over the speed limit.” and that someone had gone past at nearly 200k’s and that we had to follow him so the coppers can hit two birts with one stone. He just came back to our car. No big problem, approximately 2000 Euros!!
Martia and Mario showed us into the flat and to our room. The rest of the flat they’de show us later. “Here’s our bed gorgeous” I said to Drew “Pleanty of space for cuddling.” I then turned to our hosts and clarified that I was joking, sarcasm and jokes over here is something that quite often is misinterpreted and I didn’t want them thinking that we were girly boys.
We finished our drinks and then went to a local place for a drink and some food. I had one of the least attractive meals that I’d ever seen, but it tasted fantastic, some sausage, chops and a grazy all on a big piece of doughy bread. That with a local beer brewed at the place we were eating was fantastic.
Next we decided to go and see what drew’s sisters and the girls were doing at the hostel. Drew knew the way there from the main square so we caught the tram there and drew led the way on foot. Straight back past where we’de had dinner.
They were sitting around, a bunch of Australians and south Africans playing drinking games. I sat and chatted to Matilda for a bit, she’s actually pretty cool. But apart from that the girls were so annoying, just drunk idiots sitting in a hostel with a bunch of other foreigners. Such a waste of time.
As a result we made a sneaky exit, myself Drew, Mario, and Martia. We went back to there flat and opened a bottle of their local wine. It was really nice, we sat there chatting for a while having a laugh while they explained to me their side of the war with the fallout of the Former Yugoslavia. I’m looking forward to hearing the same story from the Serbians and the Bosnians.
A lot happened just before we went to bed, and everything started to fall into place. Turns out that the room we were in was the only room they had and that the owner had divided it and lived in the other half of the flat. that being no problems meant that Drew and I slept on the double bed, martia on the foldout bed and Mario at his sisters.
We were apologizing for taking there bed, but we weren’t sure who slept in the bed we were in. then we started looking at all the photo’s on the wall of Martia and Mario. These guys were gay, we had no idea at all, they displayed no intimacy at all towards each other. We hit the sack and I pulled up one of the pillows that was on the bed, a nice frilly pillow with a big love heart on it.
Yesterday morning we, I mean I, slept in untill 9. I then got up and went for a run. It was really good, it had been almost a week since I’d been for a proper run. Martia had directed me to a path near his house. It took me a while to find it, going up and down some pretty impressive hills aand staircases as I went.
Back at home I had a quick shower and then Martia started preparing breaky. He had to wait for me to finish in the shower because the tiolet shower laundry and kitchen are all in the one room, jam packed in.
The breaky was awesome, again a CSing treat. A heap of toast, cheeses, meats, jams and an awesome spread which is quite popular here. We ate untill we almost burst, then left to do some sight seeing. First we went to the hostel. Martia was speaking to a german girl last night and she wanted to come with us.
We then with our personal guide headed around the city, it was nice, but an hour was enough to see all the sights. It had some beautiful Churches but unfortunately we couldn’t get into them, and could only look in from the outside. The cathedral was quite impressive though. Perched on the top of a hill it’s 108m spires can be seen from nearly everywhere.
From there we wanted coffee so we went to a good cheap place near the guys uni, as Mario had joined us by now aswell. The coffee and the cakes were really cheap. So cheap that Mario felt he’d pay for us. What a nice guy.
Zagreb is at the bottom of a fairly large mountain range. So in the after noon myself Drew and Mario drove up that while Martia went to work. We walked to Mario’s sisters place, where he kept his car, a 5 year old mini cooper!! It was so small, but I’ll give him credit, he knew how to drive it. Both around town and on the awesome drive up to the top of the mountain.
At the top of the mountain it was freezing. So we went and sat in a restaurant. In here drew and I had lunch. We both had a local dish typical of what a hiker would eat, a spicy bean soup with sausage. It was really good, and we left feeling extremely full.
On the way down we stopped at an old fort. It was a really nice view, and went really well except I tripped and almost smashed my head open in front of a bunch of other tourists. That was pretty embarrassing.
Back at home we got on the net and started prepping for our trip over to Serbia and down through Bosnia to Dubrovnik, where he’ll meet his sisters again. Drew formed his couch surfing profile while I made our sign, in big letters across the top I Had BELGRADE, and under I had OR BUST and next to that a star. It came out looking pretty good.
Next I went and grabbed some beers and Mario soon joined us. We sat around watching clips on You tube of AFL and a local form of music called turbo folk. It’s not bad, kinda just like fast pop, with a Balkan feel to it.
I think my driver, mike, has learnt his lesson. The cruise control is only set on 160 now.
At 9 Martia came home, and joined us for a drink.
I got to sleep at 5, my alarm was set for 8.