Hellooooo from my tour bus!!! I am currently on my way to VIENNA on our coach bus with 32 other European travellers that have become my new family.
Last Friday I flew in from Zurich to Dubrovnik, Croatia to be prepared for the start of my Eastern European Topdeck Tour. I had done my usual pre flight ritual of checking in online and figuring out how to get to and from the airport and to my accommodation. Unfortunately the instructions provided were extremely vague so once I managed to get to the bus port I decided to walk the 4 ks to my hostel to walk off the pizza I was planning on annihilating as a reward. Little did I know Croatia is actually extremely hilly, with super bumpy roads and NO curb ramps so required excessive amounts of lifting and uphill dragging of the suitcase in 40 degree heat! Insane. But I was determined. Using the tiny map I got from information I navigated my way to the right location up a winding lane of bumpy road to find number 17. 16 and 18 were clearly marked, but opposite was an empty lot!!! I walked up and down the road trying to not go too far so I didn't have to keep dragging my stuff everywhere! I thought the only explanation was that I had been scammed into booking into a fake hostel!!! Disaster. Luckily I managed to get some directions from a man who could tell after the 6th time I had walked back and forth his shop that I was in serious need of assistance and he pointed me further down the road in the right direction :)
That afternoon I took the directions down the 5 minute walk to the beach to soak it all in. The beach was PACKED and consisted of only rocks, the worst! But those factors did not ruin the complete amazingness of my current location. I had found myself nearly two months into my trip floating in the warm waters of Croatia. Moments like those you don't get everyday.
After putting of dinner for as long as possible I had my first solo restaurant experience and scoffed down a pizza. When I went back to my hostel I met one of my roommates from Melbourne and told him where to go. I had just settled into my pjs but felt bad sending him t the restaurant solo like I had just been! So I got changed and went back with him for dessert, which I had resisted the first time! It was much busier then and we spent half our time there just waiting fort the cheque! Not ideal. When we got back there as a group of people playing games so we decided to be social and join in. There was a German couple and 3 accountants from London who we sat around chatting and playing celebrity bowl with. For those who don't know how it works basically you each write 5 names and the first round you describe it to your partner, next round you use one word and the last is charades. LOTS of fun, especially when playing with people from all over the world! Lots of complications there and confusions. Luckily I learnt the name of the German president by then because it kept coming up!
After that we decided to head out for a drink and to explore the town. The old town of Croatia was amazingly beautiful by night with the walls and clock towers and churches lit up in a regal fashion. That is the beauty of heading out for drinks, you also get to experience the town from another side! We walked down the main street passed allies with bars and people holding buckets of drinks and LOTS of gorgeous Croatian girls. They get really dressed up to go out in full clubbing outfits and 10-inch high heels. Not ideal for such a hilly town with lots of cobblestone! I would NOT risk breaking my foot again and welcomed the flats I was wearing. We passed these two GORGEOUS girls in black dresses that approached us. Turns out they were selling tickets to a dj for cheap and wanted us to go. I was reluctant to spend money on something I'm sure I wouldn't really be that fussed about and was more than happy to head to the 'nightclub' located by the bus stop that looked a little dodgy but would be sure to provided as much entertainment. We opted for the dj event located in the castle and it was really cool! The venue was just in the castle with big grand stairs leading up into this huge hall that I can imagine would have held similar royal bashes from ancient times. The place was PACKED. As soon as we got in with sections for VIP with couches and drinks while the rest had cages with dancers and a huge area to dance. The room was filled with lasers and strobes that made the place look even better!!!!! What was most noticeable was the extreme amount of guys to girls. There probably would have been about 50 guys to one girl, it was ridiculous. Needless to say as one of the only females in the room I got a lot of unwelcome attention from really weird guys. Not quite my scene, mostly incorporating electronic music and wild pingers. Definitely would have had as much fun at 'nightclub'.
Next day I had my LAST sleep in until I would be starting my two-week Topdeck tour so I really embraced it. I woke up late, had some leftover pizza and went into town to find some replacement bathers I desperately needed. When 5 o'clock finally came around I made my way to the nearby hotel that was the meeting point for our tour! I spotted some similarly eager looking people and decided to risk the embarrassment and ask if they were waiting for the tour. SUCCESS! I had gotten an in with my soon to be new best friends and later met a group of four Canadians all-travelling together. We were given the quick tour run down, shown to our rooms and met up with the rest of the group for dinner. We had to introduce ourselves, without saying anything too ridiculous and then we got ready to head out to the club.
Sky club in the town centre was amazing! It was the source of the alcohol buckets and played perfect dancing singing music to cater for my club needs J Our tour group consists of predominantly girls so luckily we all had pretty similar tastes and could hit up the dance floor as a group and get to know one another over redbull vodka buckets. My roommate Maria and I were drinking buddies and mingled with our crew getting appropriately enthusiastic about our group song 'call me maybe'. We met these Italian me, one of which kept lifting his shirt up to show his abs and a hot French man who clearly knew it and kept trying to approach any girl within a 5 metre radius! Hilarious. At the end of the night we did meet a couple of really nice Aussies, one of which was teaching physical Ed in London! We ended up speaking teacher talk for a while and comparing stories. Always nice meeting someone from Australia and can share your teaching horror stories. London does sound rough! So fear not that I wont come back in December for the London highlife haha
Next day we went on a morning walking tour and had this amazingly gorgeous Croatian tour guide who spoke fantastic English to explain to us the history of Yugoslavia and caritas role in that. It was really interesting to understand the history of Croatia to piece together the city of Dubrovnik. We were then given free time for the day and after exploring the art museum and spending hours watching Achilles eat 3 courses and telling us all the personal stories we had missed out on we headed back to get our bathers and spend the afternoon at the beach. Perfect setting to meet new people and get to know them.
Next day we were heading on our first bus ride to our next destination, Bosnia.