Central Europe 2008: From The Czech Republic to Poland to Austria to Croatia to Slovenia to Italy
Since this was to be a traveling day, we all got some extra shut-eye and didn’t weave our way out of Dubrovnik until almost 10 a.m. We walked to our car, bypassing Mary’s unique shortcut of the night before, thus saving ourselves about 15 minutes and undo leg pain. The human chain worked to perfection and no pedestrians were injured exiting the parking lot. We easily found the huge bridge heading north out of Dubrovnik, a place we definitely will return to someday. I might even attempt a journey down to pesky Montenegro, but will check all international news stations before I head south next time. On the way to Trogir, the skies were beautiful as was the rugged Croatian coastline.
We passed the road that led to Ston, which had restaurants that supposedly served the best oysters and mussels in Croatia. Since it was so early, I was shellfish and would not turn off the road (pardon me for that one). We kept driving, and soon, up ahead in the distance loomed the Bosnia-Herzegovina border. We hoped that Mussolini had not phoned ahead about the “crazy, lane-switching Americans.” Obviously, he had not sent word to our Bosnian friends, and the guards waved us through without so much as giving us a second glance. A short while later, we were back in Croatia. The movie will be called, “If It’s Sunday between 11:30 and Noon, It Must Be Bosnia.”
Mary looked out at the car and said to me, “You had better turn off your lights (another Tom foreshadowing alert).” The laws in all these countries state that you must drive with your lights on, but sometimes the forgetful driver (aka me) would forget to turn them off.
Fortunately, it also takes a village to help a driver, but that was a little foreshadowing, too. At about 3 p.m. we arrived in Trogir. After missing the first exit (I was groovin’ to some really great Euro-pulsating music and didn’t hear Lady G (or Mary or Tracy or Kim) tell me to turn, so I got off at the next Trogir exit. We drove by some homes and found ourselves in a rather industrial part of town.
“This doesn’t look like a UNESCO sight to me,” I muttered. But sure enough, we were in Trogir, and there to our left was our home for the next two evenings, The Apartmani Trogir (photo from website).
From the outside, it looked like a motel and located right next door to it was an auto repair shop (foreshadowing again). This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for a place to stay, but it had received good reviews, and remember, we are not “judge a book by its cover” type people. The Apartmani Trogir turned out to be a fantastic find, located just about 1/8 mile from the bridge that takes you over to the center of Trogir. Luka and his son were great hosts, and they (along with ‘Mrs. Luka” – who we never met) had a nice breakfast spread each morning. The four of us shared a large apartment with a balcony (where, of course, we would sip wine each evening), and the price was very inexpensive. The clean and modern apartment also had a kitchenette, secure parking area and wireless Internet.
Upon arriving, Luka supplied us with walking directions, and we made the short jaunt down to Trogir proper. As we walked from the parking lot over the bridge, it now had the feel of a UNESCO World Heritage town, with its narrow alleys and pretty harbor. Soon we were in the historic center of town.
Once scaling the stairs, we were afforded lovely views over Trogir out onto the harbor. From the top we could see people dressed in some sort of uniforms, but it was not until we descended that we realized tonight was going to be a boisterous evening in old Trogir.
It was time to head back down to see what the heck was going on in town.
There were not a lot of people walking through Trogir late in the afternoon, but every time we happened upon a restaurant or bar there were tons of people dressed in red and white outfits and goofy looking hats.
At one outdoor spot, there were dozens of Croatian fans, both of the two and four-legged variety. That’s right, even the dogs don their Croatian gear (I’m sure with a little help) for these games, and within minutes the cheering (and barking) was deafening as Croatia took an early 1-0 lead with only about five minutes gone in the first half.
This being soccer, it was the only score of the game. We had drinks at a place near the water and watched the first half. The fans were much more entertaining than the game, and by the half, it was time for us to find a restaurant. Before leaving, I celebrated with the Croatian fan I deemed to have the best hat.
As we walked through town in search of a restaurant, we ran into a kid who defined the soccer fans of Croatia. I think he barely had enough strength to wave his country’s flag, but he was having fun doing it.
We found the Restaurant Capo inside the walls and it was a very pleasant evening of dining. Mary was now into the Croatian fish dishes and she dined on the mixed grill, while Tracy had salad and spaghetti. I enjoyed a steak with grilled zucchini and spinach, while Kim opted for the chicken. The dishes were all quite good.
The town was in a frenzy as we departed (no, not because we were leaving) because the game had just ended in a Croatian victory. Horns blared as cars zoomed to and fro across the bridge. I was now a full-fledged Croatian soccer fan.
We walked the short five to ten minutes back to our apartment (past a store that had a familiar name), pulled some big chairs out onto the balcony, drank some wine, argued about the greatest sing-along songs of all time and headed off to bed. It was the first night I had a little trouble getting to sleep, but I blame that on the fact that “YMCA” by the Village People was now blasting through my brain. I just prayed I didn’t start dreaming of a cop, an Indian and a construction worker (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
In the middle of the night it started pouring down rain. “Damn,” I said, waking Tracy with a start. “Did we bring the furniture back to the room?” We were out on the balcony in two seconds. No, we had not brought it back in, but on this night luck was on our side, and the rain was blowing the other way. The furniture was dry, and within minutes Tracy was sound asleep. I, on the other hand, had a new friend. Every time I reached sleep mode, the buzzing of a lone mosquito had me swatting at air. This, of course, would awaken Tracy, and even though the lights were off, I felt her “look.” Fortunately I had gained some weight back and was no longer the Incredible Shrinking Man, so I had a fighting chance against this evil, sleep-depriving monster of the night. I finally drifted off to sleep and, by morning, we would know who won this epic battle between man and insect.
Next: Day Seventeen – Bite Me, Palace Aforethought, Maitai’s Harem, Let’s Split Split, The Tom/Kim “Short-Cut,” Jump Starting Our Vacation And “Oh, I Thought You Said Marijuana”