This post is true to the name as I finally got back for a weekend! Just as the Marin Drzic statue 'promised' I made it back, and much quicker than I thought I would! I also was lucky enough to rejoin a member from my study abroad group two years ago, Monika! She's the first person from our group I've gotten to see and of all places it was right back where it all started!
Getting back to Dubrovnik was quite a trek though. Thursday I said farewells to my students in Castino as I won't see them again before leaving Europe, and waited for the bus. The man seemed a bit flustered as I couldn't dictate well where I wanted to go at first, but he soon understood I spoke English and got excited. He couldn't speak well but he was more than willing to give it a go. When we got to Alba be dropped me off at the train station and I searched for the ticket machine. After finding it I waited for the train and headed off for Torino.
|His spine must be shaped like a macaroni elbow!|
Too much swagger in one photo.
I then went and got beer and pizza with another person staying at the hostel named Killian who was from Germany there on business. I turned in for the night to repack my suitcase as I'd forgotten about airlines and what you can't have on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a four person room all to myself so I could easily get ready for the next day.
I woke up at 5am and began my walk to the bus station, to get to the airport. After buying my ticket I asked the woman where the stop was and she said in Italian, "outside, over there." Perhaps I don't understand Italian well enough but I don't think people could be more vague if they tried.
At the airport I had some worries as the man was speaking with another attendant in Italian about my passport saying it was too old and was broken and I could understand everything which was the worse part. He then looked at me and asked when I was returning and I said Monday, and he handed it to me and said 'Have a nice trip.' Reassuring! Then I got a wonderful pat-down in security even after telling the woman that I was 100% sure it was my underwire that she was seeing. The best part of airports - being groped by sweaty, annoyed TSA's - said NO ONE EVER.
After that I waited for my first plane of the day and was happy to find that on the decent my Earplanes (they help with the pressure of the air on your ears) worked like a charm and my head felt great! I stopped in Germany (oddly enough the same gate area where I left for the US from Croatia two years prior.) Then I took another flight to Zagreb, and another to Dubrovnik. When en route I had a weird thought while looking out the window. I have never seen a plane in the air while flying. I understand they cannot be in close proximity, but with thousands of planes flying everyday, aren't they bound to even pass at a distance but within sight?
|The Dolomites from above peaking through the clouds!|
|View of the old city from the plane!|
We got some burek and pizza and went to Buza to watch the sunset. It was a bit too far around the city to see well but it was nice to be at the ocean again, in Dubrovnik! We were both exhausted from our travels (she had a long bus ride) so after getting a nescafe and catching up at Karaka we headed to get some pyramid fries and the guy was a bit rude to me as I was confused about who he was serving, but it didn't bother me much as I just wanted to the fries...haha
|Safe return as promised!|
We got up the next day not quite sure what to do, but it turned out to be easier to decide than we thought as about 90% of all the stores were closed - including all of the ones I'd hoped to visit! So it was easy to decide what to do! ;) We got some snacks and headed to the beach and relaxed for a couple hours in the sun. Then we got another coffee, and checked out some of the stores the were open. I looked for a shirt and it didn't appear to be in my size and immediately the guy said "no sorry we don't have it bye." haha So we didn't do any more searching there. We went to the grocery store and walked up to the cable car stop to check the bus times and walked past my old street. It was so strange to see Lukse Beretica again! We then headed off for the cave beach where we all spent many weekends lounging about.
|What a beautiful place!|
|The old apartment!|
|Can't believe I walked those everyday!|
|Beethoven and the not so little kitty are both right where|
they were two years ago! Napping away.
|Dog enjoying the sunset near the cave.|
|That hotel you can see, The Belvedere, the one I wanted to|
buy if I ever got rich, has been bought and someone is
working hard to rebuild it! Perhaps my next visit I'll stay there!
|Such a photogenic place|
|The old city at night|
Sunday we went to the beach again and looked for sea glass and were visited by a pigeon who walked all the way from town. I say this because pigeons in Croatia are too lazy to fly. I mean every word of that.
We then went to get an ice cream which was graciously paid for us, and walked around Pile gate area for a while. We got another coffee which was also paid for, and watched a soccer match, Chelsea vs South Hampton. We saw a beautiful soccer player and determined that soccer ratings among women viewers must increase when Pelle plays soccer. (He's italian so that explains a lot.)
After the game we went to the pier to people watch for a while.
|A pigeon reflecting on things|
|A man wondering how he'll get to shore|
without his dingy.
|School! No citron trees anymore ;(|
|Yeah, it's cold enough for these to grow! haha|
|So glad I got to see this lady!|
|Why wouldn't there be a GOT store?|
I had to get up at 4AM to catch the bus to the airport to catch my cascade of flights back to Cortemilia, so we said so long for now and I was off!
|4:30AM picture of the Stradun, quite beautiful.|
Our last flight was a half-hour late and it put me quite close to being able to catch the last bus back to Cortemilia, and on top of that when we were descending in Torino the captain let us know that it was raining - and I had no umbrella/ rain coat as there was no rain forecasted five days prior. Alas, one confusing bus connection into the city, and I missed my preferred train by ten minutes. So I had to make the next train, the connection, and find the bus station in Alba before the bus left - challenge accepted!
I've become very proud of how calm I can stay in really awful travel predicaments because even Italian's hate how messy and non-intuitive anything related to travel is, and I've come to accept that sometimes the next train will still get you there, and maybe you'll have time to learn something in the meantime! On a different note, on my train ride I thought about sitting on the beach and how we were talking about how small each grain of sand is, and to think of how much sand there is on earth. I've had a similar thought while standing on a grate overhanging the slopes on the Matterhorn. I was changing my camera handle and my family said 'be careful not to drop it!' and I realized how easy it would be to loose something in all the snow. And that's just ten square feet below me, on that mountain, in that country. But to some degree we do this often with friends and family. It's easy to loose touch with people, even those who we care about because there is always some security in the belief you can see then again. But why choose to live hoping you'll see people again when you could try to keep those connections thriving? I have a few friends who I admire dearly for their capacity to check in often, and see how things are. It's not that I don't want to, I forget. It's easy, but it's something that we all can work on as nothing in life is certain (except death and taxes.)
As for my last bus, I made it but only with the help of my ever expanding Italian vocab which helped me to explain that I was lost and couldn't find the station. A woman in a pharmacy was happy to help re-route me and probably was sympathetic as I was soaked and carrying a backpack and suite case.
It's quite un-real that I got back to Dubrovnik and it already feels like it was so long ago! I will always keep that place close to my heart as it helped me to become more independent and true to who I am.
I am currently packing for another trip with my students, and actually had a trip a couple days ago but I'm working hard to get the info together for that post! When contemplating writing or sleep I always choose sleep! ;)
Ciao for now!