A Travellerspoint blog

Cruising the Adriatic


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When we started planning this trip, we read multiple books and online forums that pretty much said “Don’t do Croatia and Greece in the same trip.” Everywhere strongly advised against it, as there really isn’t an efficient way to get from Croatia to Greece, unless you have a wide open budget or willing to spend several days traveling out of the way. Being the very stubborn people we both are, we ignored all of the advice and decided to do it anyway as we wanted to see Croatia.

It took some additional planning, in order to figure out the route that would take the least amount of time and not cost a fortune. Our initial plan was to take an overnight ferry from Split, Croatia to Ancona, Italy and then from there, take the train to Rome. Since we had to travel a few days anyway, we might as well stop in Rome as I haven’t been there before. We booked all of our other trains, flights, etc. around this plan as we read that we could book the ferry when we got to Croatia. A few weeks before the trip, we double checked timetables and there was no longer an overnight ferry on the day we needed. Since everything else had been booked, it was too late to try for another day, so we had to take a day ferry instead. It left at 1pm and it takes eight hours to cross the Adriatic, which means we don’t get in until 9 pm. At that point, it is too late to catch a train to Rome, so we had to find accommodations in Ancona. Since it is a harbor town, they know they have you, so places to stay are much more expensive than they should be.

The boat ride was very long, and there was a giant ship (that also holds cars) for the dozen or so passengers aboard. I think there were more crew members than passengers. We did however get to capture a few great photos of the sunset on the Aegean, just outside of Italy.
Sunset on the Adriatic

Sunset on the Adriatic

Another Sunset Shot

Another Sunset Shot

Last one, I couldn't help it

Last one, I couldn't help it

After a little wondering, we found our place for the night (unknowingly we were pretty much next to when we started) and were very happy with it. It had a washer, a real shower where you could stand in it and close the door/curtain, a cute kitchenette and it was on a quiet street. By far the best place we have stayed, too bad it was only for one night. My favorite was that of all of the Italian channels on the TV, they did have one in English, MTV, and by the time we found it Jersey Shore came on. No wonder people don’t think highly of Americans. It was a long day, and we had an early start the next day so we headed to bed.
Ancona, Italy Apartment

Ancona, Italy Apartment


A real shower never looked so nice!

A real shower never looked so nice!

Posted by sellnow 11:41 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Croatian Beer Review


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As we finish up our time in Croatia (we leave for Italy later this morning) we wanted to list our Croatian beer ranking both for anyone else who travels through the country and for ourselves as a reference once we get home. By the end, I am sure we won’t be able to remember what we liked and didn’t in Croatia. Below are all of the local beers we tried, in order from favorite to least favorite. One note, we stayed away from the lemon beers which seem to be the new thing here. Also, we stayed away from Carlsberg, Stella and other widely available beers as we could just as easily get them at home.

#1 - Nice Beer with the Home Field Advantage

#1 - Nice Beer with the Home Field Advantage

#2 - Bavarian Beer takes second

#2 - Bavarian Beer takes second

#3 - Nice local brew

#3 - Nice local brew

#4 - Croatian Wheat Beer

#4 - Croatian Wheat Beer

#5 - Been there, done that

#5 - Been there, done that

#6 -Nothing special, but better than Bud

#6 -Nothing special, but better than Bud

#7 - What you'd expect from an Eastern European stout

#7 - What you'd expect from an Eastern European stout

#8 - Would sell in a Camo can in the U.S.

#8 - Would sell in a Camo can in the U.S.

#9 - Might be a NA beer, we aren't sure

#9 - Might be a NA beer, we aren't sure

Posted by sellnow 09:35 Archived in Croatia Tagged beer Comments (0)

Croatian Food Adventures


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Today we slept in until 9pm, which is late for us on this trip. We ate local oranges for breakfast and then wandered about the town. We checked out a couple of the old churches and I climbed the bell tower to take some pictures from above. Somehow we stumbled upon the fish market with people shouting out the daily catch. It was towards the end of the market, so many were packing up but if we had a place to cook it, we would have certainly walked away with fresh seafood for dinner.
Red bricks from ancient romans

Red bricks from ancient romans


Split town walls

Split town walls

Fish market ladies

Fish market ladies


Salty Sea Captain

Salty Sea Captain

From there we headed to the Western edge of town to Marjan Hill where there is a large park, Park Forest Marjan. There are miles and miles of hiking and biking trails as well as steps and foot paths for the less adventurous. We wanted to get a higher view, so set out for the edge of it. The view was wonderful and the breeze from the ocean nice and cool on such a warm day. We came across the zoo, and paid the 20 kuna (approx. $4) for us both to walk through. The zoo had peacocks flying free throughout the entire zoo and we watched the males flex their feathers for the females and side stepped all of the “presents” they left on the path. They also had bears, monkeys, porcupines, goats, llamas, ducks, geese, rabbits, sheep, ostrich, donkeys, goats, and two ostrich. It was a very small zoo and really only a little bit of wire separated you from some of the animals, like the wolves, which was a little eerie. We felt bad for the animals, as most of them didn’t have any other friends in their cage, so were left to sleep in the sun by themselves.
Family Photo above Split

Family Photo above Split


I'm a peacock, you gotta let me fly

I'm a peacock, you gotta let me fly

Split is much cheaper than Dubrovnik, so we set out in search of local food to try rather than eating sandwiches for lunch, which we have been doing to help stretch the budget. Nate really wanted some of the little fried fish served in a french fry container with a little pick. That along with Kabab, which was served on a fresh roll instead of a pita, and we were set. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering through the markets, where we picked up over two pounds of local cherries for 10 kuna ($2). I have also decided that gelato is way better than ice cream, so we made a stop for lemon gelato for me and coconut for Nate. Yum! Nate replaced his sunglasses which broke on the second day of the trip, at one of the street vendors selling knock-off glasses and then after an internet stop, we headed back home for happy hour as it was after 5pm and we hadn’t yet tried any of the wine in Split.
Small Fried Fish

Small Fried Fish


Local cherries

Local cherries

Enjoying Gelato

Enjoying Gelato

Dinner was another food adventure, and we followed the advice of our Lonely Planet book and grabbed a table at a little dive restaurant around the corner. Nate really wanted to try the octopus ink risotto, but unfortunately they did not have it on their hand-written menu for the night. Instead, we ended up with flounder cooked in a buttery sauce along with wilted greens & steamed potatoes and Nate settled for a shrimp & prawn risotto. Both were absolutely amazing, and some of the best food we have had yet, all for $36 after tip. It was a great way to end our time in Croatia, and we both agreed it is a country we both would enjoy visiting again.
Seafood Dinner

Seafood Dinner

Nate with a yummy prawn

Nate with a yummy prawn

Posted by sellnow 01:22 Archived in Croatia Tagged park split dalmation_coast Comments (2)

Dalmatian Coast Road Trip

sunny 89 °F
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We left at 8:30 this morning to make our way down to the public busses. We caught a bus right on time, and navigated it to the main bus terminal where we bought a ticket on another bus to Split, in northern Croatia. Of course the day we are leaving, it was a 87 degrees by 10:00 am with plenty of sun, a perfect day to be on a boat or at the beach. The bus trip is estimated to take 5 hours as we are traveling from the far southern edge, up about a 1/3 of the country. The bus travels along the coast, on small twisty roads high up through the cliffs. It allowed for a great view of the Dalmatian coast and to snap plenty of photos as we went in and out of many small towns. We also drove through part of Bosnia, so had to stop at the border and show passports to enter – I guess we can add one more country to our total count now. The bus radio was on for most of the trip, so it was a mix of Croatian pop songs and U.S. 80’s – 90’s tunes, and then all of a sudden it was the new song by J-Lo. Quite a mix, I guess a little for everyone.
Dalmation coast town

Dalmation coast town

Farming in Ploce

Farming in Ploce

Fishing nets in Bosnia

Fishing nets in Bosnia

With the sun beating in the windows, it was a very warm bus, and I quickly learned chocolate truffles and warm busses do not combine. I had quite a mess, with chocolate dripping out my bag and as I picked it up, it then dripped down my leg and onto my shoe. I did a good enough clean up until we got to the room, and when we got there, I then found that some of the bottles in my bag overflowed in the heat as well. I was tired, hungry and not happy, so Nate let me clean up the mess in silence and then we wondered out for some food. We tried a slice of the local pizza as well as French fries in a cone. The fries were just okay, but the little fork you get to eat them with was quite fun.
Fries and a tiny fork

Fries and a tiny fork

Split is very different from Dubrovnik in that it is the second largest city and feels that way. I was surprised how much graffiti there was everywhere, as well as boarded up windows and deserted alleys. The center of town is set in the crumbling remains of Diocletian’s Palace, a retirement palace built from 295 to 305 for the Roman emperor Diocletian. The Italian influence is very present in the food here, as there is a lot of pasta, pizza, etc. along with seafood. We are staying in the heart of the town in another apartment which overlooks one of the main streets. It isn’t as great as the last place, but is clean. After an internet stop, as we had to pay for access in Dubrovnik so kept our check-ins short (sorry for the delay in our postings), we sat near the pier and watched the sunset and the people pass by and then headed back to the apartment for a good night’s sleep.
Split apartment

Split apartment

Sunset on the pier

Sunset on the pier

Split on the Waterfront

Split on the Waterfront

Palace ruins

Palace ruins

Posted by sellnow 07:27 Archived in Croatia Tagged coast split dalmation Comments (2)

Elefiti Islands and Drunkeness

overcast 75 °F
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We checked the weather report earlier in the week, and Wednesday was to be the best day of our time in Dubrovnik, so we booked a boat tour for the day. It went to three of the Elefiti islands, all a short distance off the coast. We woke up to a perfect morning and caught our shuttle to the port. Once boarded, we set sail for the first island and got to know our very nice table mates, David and Susan. They were an older couple from Northern England, spending a week in Croatia on holiday.
Pirate boat, well sort of

Pirate boat, well sort of


Dubrovnik town from the boat

Dubrovnik town from the boat

The first island one was the largest, with a small town on one side and after a 20 minute hike, you arrived at a beautiful, sandy beach. The beaches near Dubrovnik were all rocky, so it was nice to finally stroll on a sandy shore. We hiked to the beach and although the water was chilly, waded in to experience it. After a hike back, we enjoyed a fish lunch on the boat. It was a local fish (although we still don’t really know what fish that is) and it was quite delicious.
Lopud island

Lopud island


Beach on Lopud island

Beach on Lopud island

We then set sail to the second island, and as we did, the clouds came in ruining our perfect day. The second island was very small, which was fine because by the time we walked through town, it started pouring. We had a full on thunderstorm with plenty of lightning and thunder that shook the boat. It didn’t last long, but it seems to be at about 3pm every day, rain settles in. This time, it was more and lasted a little longer than any other day – so much for checking the weather.
Sipan island

Sipan island


Sipan Rainy Sea

Sipan Rainy Sea

As the rain passed, we moved onto our last island. By this point most of other boat passengers were quite drunk, obnoxious and stumbling everywhere. We decided they all headed to the bar at every stop instead of exploring the new towns, and were making the rest of the trip not nearly as enjoyable for the rest of us. We have enjoyed our share of local beers and wine (both wonderful - I highly recommend trying Croatian wine if you can find it in the states) but this group was a little over the top for us.
Kolocep island

Kolocep island

Once we made it back to town, and away from the drunken crazies, we did laundry, made another pasta dinner (no bugs this time) and packed up as we had an early start the next morning for Split, Croatia.

Posted by sellnow 10:47 Archived in Croatia Comments (1)

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