Wednesday 23 May 2007


After almost getting to Rjecka, we had to transfer to a bus as the line ahead was broken. Once I was at the station got on the transfer bus to get me to the next train stop I needed. And then got on another connecting train, which was the final one. Quite the mission to get there, but definitely worth it. Only sad part was taxi driver wanted to charge me twice the price it should have been when I arrived, so spent 30+ mins walking to my place, lugging the worlds heaviest suitcase it felt like, with a heavy backpack to match.

The place is definitely the nicest ever. The lady is incredible. She upgraded me for free, to my own private room (since there was only one other couple here and its 6 person house only). And the new room was even cooler, not only was it private but I was upgraded not to a double, not to a queen but a king size bed all to myself. Heaven. After cooling off a bit, headed out to see the lovely sites. Went firstly to the ampitheatre which was built by Augustus!!! Its so old. There were so many old Roman sites around here (a big reason for me coming, and coast). Walked around and of course took millions of photos. Was really cool as there was a band competition going on in town between bands of Istra (the region) so music was everywhere. Listened to a couple of bands play before my stomach got the better of me and I headed home. Cooked dinner for me and the lady since she was so nice. And of course she has to be nicer and insists that tomorrow dinner is on her (Croatian style chicken apparently). After dinner she was really cool and took me for a walk around Pula, the non-tourist areas so I could see what real Croatia was like. Learnt a lot about the history and building styles.

Had a lovely restful day. Spent the morning emailing future hostels to get better directions as I don’t want to get lost . Had a nice lunch with the other 2 people here, and then we headed off to the cruise. It was a 2 hour cruise around the Brijun National park, which has 14 islands in it. The main was important during the former Yugoslavia control as a very important meeting happened there (between Russia). On this island there was also a safari and golf course. Very interesting. On the cruise was included wine from Croatia. After getting back from the cruise, we (went with the other couple) came home to a lovely feast prepared by the lady of the house. So nice, and flavorful. After finishing this lovely meal the storm that has been across Italy (where it killed 9 people) and Slovenia arrived. It was kinda scary, caused a mini flash flood and so much lighting.

Pula, Croaita à Ljubljana, Slovenia
Got up around 8 and packed up. Biba (the lady) made breakfast yet again. Afterwards went to walk around the coast. I was expecting the water to be horrible and mucky after the storm but to my horror it was fine. Beautiful blues and greens. Was lovely. Got my legs fully in the water. So annoyed I wasn’t wearing togs and walking back would have taken to long. ARGH. I seriously contemplated skinny dipping, but just as I had made my mind up to do it a family arrived at the beach I had found (was away from main one). So had to settle with just having wet shorts and legs totally in the Adriatic sea.

Biba made me lunch (even tho I had already eaten) and insisted that she make me sandwichs for the train. Got a taxi this time. Was a sad goodbye, gave Biba a big hug. Had 3 different trains to get to Slovenia. Met a very nice interesting girl to talk to on the way there. Actually met her just after the 2nd connection where I actually fell out of the train. Kinda embarrassed but luckily no one saw. They just saw the suitcase on the ground as I limped over to put my other stuff down. The suitcase kinda got away from me as I thought the train was going to move, so rushed and then lost my balance and the weight of the suitcase pulled me over. Thankfully no serious to the suitcase, altho my knee got stones shoved in it, which needless to say hurt, but no big damage. Eventually got to Ljubljana earlier than expected and found the right bus no probs. The bus driver was nice and dropped me off right outside the hotel which saved me walking (as hotel is inbetween bus stops)

Sunday 20 May 2007


After a 6 hour train ride from Budapest, I arrived in Zagreb, Croatia. IT WAS HOT! The temperature was 32 degrees C. Very painful when trying to lug around a suitcase. Got on the tram and got off at what I thought was the right stop but it wasn’t so walked to where I was supposed to go. Only to find out that Croatians are very silly have two tram stops with the same name on the same line!!!! After consulting a pharmacist who rang my hostel for me, I got going the right way again, and got on the same tram going the opposite direction to the same stop opposite end. Checked in no probs.

It was after this point that I discovered the Zagreb isn't that big, and the main sites of interest are actually able to be seen in an afternoon. The architecture is the main highlight of this area with the buildings being beautifully restored after the wars. Thankfully Zagreb was only a stop point along my way, and I wouldn't really recommend it for much else.

Thursday 10 May 2007


First stop was the Atomium (although you need a pass to get here its miles from the center), which was built in 1958 for the world festival. Its meant to represent an iron atom several thousand times larger, was kinda boring inside. But had the shock/surprise/delight when I got up to the highest sphere. As I was reading a sign stepped back and the disab led person the people were helping was actually Stephen Hawking!!!!!! I couldn’t’ believe I was 20cm away (I stepped away to allow them more room to move). I was so shocked I didn’t ask for a picture and they did seem in a hurry.

So finally after calming down, I went to mini-Europe which was heavily overpriced (but I am only here once, eh!!) so I went. It was really cute and well done. Although they were still missing some countries out (like Hungary). They had miniature models of the major monuments from each country that is part of the EU. After that, went to the European center of Brussels, which was on the complete opposite side of the town. Saw the new monument that they erected which was nice, as well as the European Parliament. Headed home and had a night in cause weather crapped out just as I was having dinner. Right foot has gone down a little.
The last day of this little holiday was pretty good. Had a great sleep in a room with an ensuite shower, and 3 American girl roommates. Got up fairly early and went out. Got metro to the farthest place which was the Palace of justice. Sadly it was under construction so I couldn’t really see much of it. Around it were also the World War monuments. Walked to the Egmont park which was nice, and saw Egmont Palace which was hiding behind the park and not a well known site. Wasn’t that impressive. Then went to the Royal Palace which was cool, and quite large. Typical European style of grand building, with it being rebuilt several times. Sadly all the museums are closed on Monday (which I didn’t know) so I couldn’t go to the museum showing the old ruins of the castle. Then walked thru the Royal Gardens to the Belgium Parlimentary building. 

From here it was to St Micheals Cathedral which was very nice and grand. The pulpit was incredible. Cannot believe such a piece was carved from wood in such detail. It shows the story from the first sin to redemption, with symbolism (such as sin being the skeleton above Eve and also representing the punishment of death). Heard the clock bells chim, they had a nice tune to them. Then walked around the center of town. The main two things to see wast eh Grand place which was really nice. Pity I didn’t come later as during the summer the square is turned into a blanket of flowers. And then Mankken Pis, which is a little statue of a boy peeing. Somehow important. Got myself some cheapish chocolate, and the usual souvenirs. But the unique one was Belgium lace which is suppose to be an old tradition.