There seems to be a trend that I simply can’t catch a break when it comes to my travels going 100 percent smoothly. Factors beyond my control always come rearing their ugly head and I’m left to stress about whether or not things are going to fix themselves or if the trip is even going to happen.
My trip this week followed the same-old pattern. Thankfully luck was on my side yet again, and my boyfriend and I were able to make it to my favorite (note the complete sarcasm) remote airport on the German/Dutch border after quite a few headaches.
With flights taking off early in the morning before trains from Dortmund and other cities can reach in time, many people choose to sleep in the ungodly-freezing airport, and usually it’s nothing more than an annoying night without sleep. On Sunday night there was a little more going on than slight discomfort and being a little cranky, however.
Usually trains end running to remote locations around 11:30 p.m. On all of my other trips to Weeze I have been able to take a 9:00 p.m. train from Dortmund and then catch a transfer bus from the nearby town of Kevelear at 11:45 p.m. without a problem. By doing this I only leave myself around six hours to sit around in the airport and freeze half-to-death.
On Sunday evening, both of the trains that are needed to reach Weeze were extremely delayed, which isn’t exactly normal. Usually delays aren’t anything more than simply frustrating. However, if you’re traveling to a remote location like Weeze at night, this obviously presents a problem: there aren’t many people around.
After arriving in town over two hours later than expected, there were no buses or taxis in sight. It seemed as though my boyfriend and I were going to have two options: 1.) Walking four miles to the airport in the dark, or 2.) Sleep on the train platform and wait for the 4:45 a.m. transfer service. Neither sounded appealing to me, so I was extremely relieved when we found some locals at a bar that could call us a taxi.
Upon my arrival in Zadar and traveling to the guest house located in the old town (locally called Polotok) to get some sleep, all of the drama from the night before was essentially forgotten. Surrounded by beautiful old buildings and churches from centuries ago, I was able to walk to the seaside in five minutes and really couldn’t find it within me to complain.
I’d never realized how stunning the view of the sea could be until walking along the Adriatic’s shoreline in Croatia. I had already been to the Adriatic while in Venice, but the experience here was so different. In Croatia the water is completely clear and a deep-blue green that seems almost too beautiful to be natural.
Croatia is a popular vacation spot for Europeans, and although I probably never would have considered going to Zadar in the past, I’m very happy that I was able to have the experience. I saw so many gorgeous sites, and while it’s difficult to say which place was the most beautiful, the one place that stood out the most to me was Krka National Park.
Located about an hour to the south of Zadar, Krka is one of Croatia’s most famous National Parks. Nestled in a valley, the park is home to dozens of waterfalls with the cleanest water I have ever laid eyes upon. Although it took a little bit of guessing and quite a bit of time to travel the remote location using public transportation, the excursion was well worth the effort and costs involved (around $40 USD).
All-in-all, I don’t think that my trip to Croatia could have gone any better. With perfect weather all four days and the sea nearby, it was easy to sit back, relax and enjoy some gelato. I would definitely recommend a trip to Croatia for anyone who is looking for a seaside vacation in lieu of paying the expenses of staying in Italy or Spain. There’s truly something for everyone and I’d definitely love to go back someday.
1.) Barter, barter, barter. Taxi drivers in Croatia are in competition with one another for passengers. If you take the time to look around, you can get a really great price for transportation, especially if you can gather up a few other people looking to go to the same area. We were able to get a transfer service to the city from the airport for less than it cost to ride the public bus.
2.) Be prepared. Not everyone in Croatia is fluent in English as in many of the other countries I have visited while in Europe. Take advantage of the tourist info points and carry a pen/paper with you to write down the cities you want to visit so the locals can direct you to where you need to go.
3.) Stop counting calories ahead of time. With pizza/pasta stands on every corner and with prices for a quick meal ranging from only $2-4 be prepared to snack! Also, with the warm weather gelato was a favorite standby of mine. I think I ingested more ice cream in four days than I had in the past two months, total.