Jun & Rowan, Car Hiring & Learning a thing or two about Ferries!
17.07.2012 - 22.07.2012 27 °C
Prior to leaving Australia, Pat had organised with Jun for himself & Rowan to come over and meet us in Dubrovnik - under the false pretenses that there's a daily ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar. This was not the case.
They flew in from Berlin at 4pm on the 16th of July, We found them around 8pm & walked from our place to the Old Town - which takes about 20 minutes, 'We'll just have a few quiet drinks and head home after dinner' famous last words, of course made famous by none other than Patrick Flynn himself (as is 'I'm just going to the bowlo for a beer with the boys, can you pick me up when you finish work?') We ended up having dinner, and then a beer at 'The Gaffe' which led to buckets of some disgusting tequila cocktail at 'Sky Bar' (Which BTW was packed full of annoying Australians from the Dubrovnik pub crawl & a complete rip as the drinks were about AU$18 each! Don't recommend that place at all. Go to Thailand for that shit.) We then found some other irish pub, the name of which I cannot remember, obviously, followed by another genius idea from Pat to go to 'Revelin'. The biggest night club in the Old Town who often get big name DJ's to perform there on a regular basis throughout the summer. I was smart enough to hitch a ride home with some Aussie girls around 3am, Pat, Jun & Rowan, not so clever.
I took the key and Pat had to climb the wall outside to get home, while Jun and Rowan had to remember where they were staying & then wrestle with a rose bush to get back in. Re-packing and checking out the next day was a blast! Met the boys at a cafe on the Port with free WIFI to work out our best option for getting to Hvar, where accommodation was already booked. We had 24hours to get there, and evidently, no way of doing so. Thanks again, Pat.
After much debate, a pizza and several bottles of water - no beers! We decided, that with the current state that the boys were in - partially hung over, or still drunk - we would hire a car! Genius! I would drive, we would have comfort, air conditioning, room to move and the ability to pull over as soon as someone said 'I'm gunna throw up!' All for a bargain price of 800 HKR (about AU $125) SOOOO CLEVERRR.
Pat went next door & wheeled and dealed, the beautiful Peugeot Station wagon came from the airport ready to go and after giving it the once over it was time to hit the road!
For those of you contemplating hiring a car in a foreign country, i suggest you think again. They drive on the opposite side of the road here, which means that you sit in the opposite side of the car and use the opposite hand to change gears, turn the opposite way & if you are travelling with the worlds worst navigators on the worlds highest cliffs with no guard rail/ no idea where the fuck you're going, it can be not only stressful but terrifying as well. Jun & Pat were super good at using 'Google Maps' & telling me where to go - after I had already passed the turnoff. After driving through several ghost towns and countless cliffs, we arrived! A 230km drive from Dubrovnik to Split, all in just shy of 7 hours! Brilliant.
8pm, checked the location of our nights accommodation in the heart of beautiful Split on good ol' trusty 'Google Maps' - A minute away on foot! Winning! Jun & Rowan hadn't showered & I was just ready to hit the sack and forget the horrible day that was. Arrived at the hostel we were staying (or so we thought) However, the lovely old lady had no booking confirmation & no room for us. She rang her son, who actually owns the hostel, but he couldn't do anything from where he was to help us. She told us to go to one of the several restaurants along the picturesque Split Port, have some dinner and be back in about an hour - which was about 930pm. So off we went, allowed to leave our bags in storage at the hostel until we came back. When sitting at the restaurant, checked the booking confirmation and were met with the realisation that we had gone to the wrong hostel!! Disaster! Maybe we can slink back in and take our stuff & not have to be confronted by the son. Nope, not that lucky. Went back to collect our things and there he was, at the front entrance, looking way too gangster and with a scary looking mate lurking in the shadows. I could hear Jun behind me whispering 'Just play dumb Nell' ... Obviously, that's what I did. He wasn't going for it at all. "You see, the problem is this. I was out in my boat with all my friends. And i get this call. And I talk to you on the phone, and you say you have a booking, but I see no booking. So I come in on my boat, I come as fast as I can, I drop all my friends home, and I come here to get you somewhere else to stay. I find you another apartment & now you tell me that you have the wrong hostel? You see my problem?"
We definately saw his problem.
We apologise profusely & offer him a small compensation for his trouble. Call it whatever you like, but I'm pretty sure it saved our lives. He got map & showed us how to get to the booking agency, all the way across the other side of the Port. Open until midnight & run by a husband & wife team who have a huge amount of patience considering they are open daily from 8am - 12am. We arrived at 11.40pm & were shown to an alternate apartment (as the one we had originally booked, was now closed and apparently miles away) A shower & bed, we would wake up feeling brand new on Tuesday & head to book our 11.30am ferry to Hvar from Split. This, again, not the case. Checked out at 10am and walked down to the Split Port to get our tickets. There are two kinds of ferries and two different Ports on Hvar Island. The first is a Catamaran that leaves about three times per day, takes a little over an hour & delivers it's passengers right on the Hvar Town Port. The second is a Car Ferry that leaves also about three times a day, takes three hours to get there & delivers it's passengers to the Stari Grad Port, which if your staying in Hvar town, is just a hop, skip and a 20 minute bus ride. The line for the catamaran was long, made longer by the fact that we were basking in 30 degree heat while we waited. Finally! The ticket window was in sight! Just in time for the 11.30 catamaran! 'Sorry, the 11.30 is sold out...' We had made the conscious decision to treat today as a blessing, as there is nothing that could be worse than the day before. We'll just take the 2.30pm catamaran. 'That one is sold out too, you can catch the car ferry (for three hours and a bus ride? no thanks, I would rather die) - 'Or, there are tickets available for the 5pm Catamaran' - Sold! 'Ok, you can't buy them here, you have to go over the Port & line up there.' OF COURSE WE DO.
We spent the day at a cafe directly across from Pier 11. When finally it became time to board, we scooted over, jumped on the Catamaran and took off to Sunny Hvar! We were met at the Port by the beach/ boat party goers, a DJ at the 'Carpe Diem' Yacht club and the sun still beaming at 35 degrees, We were in love already!
Hvar is full of young people wanting to party on their summer break, there's frequent 'Booze Cruises', beach parties and festivals all throughout Summer. There is a night club on another Island about a 5 minute taxi boat ride from the Port also called 'Carpe Diem' - the boats move between the islands every ten minutes and they operate free, however there is a 150 HKR (AU $23) cover charge at the islands entrance and drinks are expensive. The club is amazing, there are trees dotted all over the place, a small shallow pool (It gets pretty hot over there) and the entire club is open air.
I was hoping for a more relaxing beach holiday on Hvar, but the beaches, like most throughout Croatia, are pebble & they are hidden behind cliffs and vegetation. There was a beach '300 metres' away from our apartment, a little walk up the hill we were met by a sign that said it was 100 metres away. I respectfully disagree. It has been a running joke with us that places take a lot longer to get to in Croatia due to the landscape & the fact that if you move any faster than a pace that could only be described as glacial, there is a good chance that you will fall down a cliff and, at the very least, skin your knee.
Having lined up for the ferry from 7am today (live and learn) we were lucky enough to get on the 9am catamaran back to Split. We said farewell to Jun and Rowan who are now on a bus to Zagreb in the hopes they can get back to Berlin for the last legs of their trips. Pat and I are spending one last night in Split - Croatia's second biggest city - for a look about and to soak up more history and less beer, before heading down the coast to Kotor in Montenegro. Bus tickets already purchased and got the hostel right the first time! It can only get better from here!