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  • Day28

    Destination Croatia

    October 11, 2018 in Croatia ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    When we were planning our holiday the options of getting from Venice to Croatia were minimal. To fly there would require flying via Rome or with some airlines, Paris. We had agreed we would only fly on National carriers, avoiding the budget airlines. The ferry from Venice to Porec took 3 hours 30 minutes, it was a smooth trip and docked at Porec about 8pm. I thought is was a 2 hour 30 trip and we would lose an hour through the Timezone change but Italy and Croatia are on the same clock.There were taxis waiting to transport people to their final destinations but we thought we would get some milk first then a taxi. We trudged over the polished slabs that made the road until we found a market that sold fresh milk. We asked where we might catch a taxi and were pointed towards the waterfront. When we arrived there was not a taxi in sight. Now we were worried, for some unknown reason the hotel we booked was 5km away. This did not make sense as the hire car had to be picked up the next morning from near the ferry terminal and we always tried to have accommodation near the town centres. Soon about 6 people were walking towards us so I asked if anyone understood English. Yes they said, they were Croatians who had lived in New Zealand for about 24 years. It was our lucky night, they needed a taxi too so they called one for them and one for us. One taxi arrived and as it had room for 10 we all clambered in and shared the one taxi as the taxi driver said he was the only driver working now. After the New Zealand group were dropped off our trip continued to an out of the way area on the outskirts of Porec. Finally we were dropped off out the front of our hotel, paid the taxi driver his fare in kunas then dragged our luggage to reception. No one was there but there was a gentleman in another room watching TV. He finally noticed us and came to check us in. With the little command of the English language he had he photocopied our passports, said something about Adelaide and two nights then gave us the key to our room. He tried to help carry one bag up the stairs and almost fell as he struggled due to its weight. The room was horrible, dirty with a few dead cockroaches on the floor. The bed was a small double that was not the normal length. We started to make our tea and I went back downstairs to get the wifi password. He didn’t know what I was talking about so called his son on the phone who could speak English and we now had network access. The nights sleep was bad, I couldn’t stretch my legs out, the mattress was lumpy and the pillows were the ones filled with crushed foam. Poor MDW tossed and turned most of the night, unable to get comfortable. In the morning we had a cup of tea in our room and refused to have a shower because of its floor having cockroach bodies on it. Bravely we ventured down for breakfast hoping for a cup of tea and a piece of toast. When we finally interrupted the domestic dispute between mother and son, the mother came out and asked us to be seated. We brushed the dead insects off the table cloth, by now all MDW wants to do is leave this hotel. We were the only two having breakfast at 8:30am. A bother table is set for a group but we wonder if we are really the only stupid people staying here. I ordered a coffee and MDW a pot of tea. Coffee arrives as did a pot of tea with a wedge of lemon but no milk. MDW asked for milk which was promptly delivered (hot frothy milk left over from my coffee). So MDW pours her tea into the cup with some warm milk in it. Purple, yes the tea was purple. Not only purple but smelt of berry, maybe blueberry. It didn’t look good blended with milk, really it didn’t blend, with the milk repelling the tea as did MDW who said she wasn’t drinking that stuff. So we now hoped for some toast but got bread with cold salami, maybe ham, cheese and tomato. We ate buttered bread. Croissants arrive prepacked in foil packaging, not good. The woman kept checking if all was ok, of course we said yes and smiled. After the bread was eaten we got our bags, rang for a taxi and tried to check out. For some reason the owners were surprised. They thought or maybe hoped we were staying two nights. I explained we had prepaid for one night showing the son the confirmation email. He said nothing but kept scrolling through the computer screen. I asked if there was a problem and he said he was checking if we had paid. The taxi was waiting so I told the son we had to go then all of a sudden he must have seen the payment confirmation, stood up shook my hand and we were gone.
    The taxi took us to the car rental firm who I had rung earlier to see if I could pick the car up before midday. No problem he said, 11am is suitable.
    We had a look around the Porec waterfront where there are numerous large boats, a few casinos and a dozen or so market stalls. We had a quick look at the markets then got some supplies from a small supermarket before going to the car rental firm to pick up our VW Golf. The contracts were printed off with extra insurance cover when I noticed the cost had risen €80 from the quote I had agreed to online. I questioned why and he said you are picking the car up 45 minutes early so you are being charged a penalty fee. “Well I’ll wait till 12 noon or change the return time to 11:15am.”
    He made some changes and printed out a new contract with the correct fees. We waited for the car to be brought the parking area when along comes a Mercedes Benz Hatchback, B Class I think. Almost brand new. After the inspection we put in our luggage and into the car we sit. It’s an automatic. MDW says I should move as I’m blocking someone so I start the car and can’t find the gear stick. Eventually I find the gear selector is on a steering wheel stick (a bit like an indicator or wiper control). I work out how to put it in drive and drive down the lane then go to turn right but of course I’m in the left hand lane. The car I made room for is on my inside or the right hand side of the road where I should have been. Not a good start. MDW has a good laugh as I’m starting to perspire. I give MDW the job of reminding me to stay right and before long we are following the directions on Google maps as I can’t workout the cars navigation system. We get to our first roundabout and navigate it correctly except we took the 2nd exit and not the third. At the next roundabout we do a u-turn and then take the first right but end up at a petrol station. This is harder than I imagined. I just drive through onto the road and we are on our way to Zagreb. It’s mostly freeway with two toll sections. We came across one of the greatest inventions of all times. We were approaching some road works when we notice a man waving a flag up and down, obviously warning us to slow down. The marvellous thing was it was a mechanical or robotic figure with a helmet doing a wonderful job for no pay.
    So far the weather has been marvellous, low to mid 20’s with beautiful blue skies. Apparently by October Croatia is getting cold but so far the warm weather has stayed and been very welcome.
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