Here we are sitting in the car park, in the rain, waiting for our ferry to Greece. We had a choice of two ferries;
Or the slightly Cheaper ANEK Ferries of Cyprus. We chose Superfast as we thought ANEK might a little hot on-board for our liking.
We have just completed the worst public transport journey of our lives, the crossing from Dubrovnik to Bari aboard the rust-bucket of ship named the Dubrovnik and operated by the unforgettably named Jadrolinija Line. This miserable experience started well before boarding the old tub when we were told we would have to pay £10 to park in the departure line. I brushed off the first assailant with the excuse that the ferry company told us to park here, so go chase them for the money. We didn’t have any money anyway as we had spent our last few Kuna and some insect cream. Not easily defeated the chap came back with his boss demanding money. He told me I had to pay because he had told Tracy I had to pay. I told him that Tracy never told me, so I do not have to pay. Presented with this brilliantly executed piece of logic and his scam defeated he told me it was now a special day and I do not have to pay. So there we are. Don’t be conned at Dubrovnik Port.
The next sturdy nail into the good ship Dubrovnik’s coffin was the arrival of 17 coaches of Italian Pilgrims who were disgorged from their charabancs to run amok around the car park. The cacophony these people made was louder than Concorde at full throttle. Worse, they are like an oil spillage, they manage to end up between every vehicle in the line shouting and gesticulating, they seep into every gap they could find. Thankfully about an hour before departure they were herded cat-like into the departure building. A little peace.
We finally boarded the ship about 90 minutes before departure and were met by a predictable pandemonium. Our emotionally fiery friends were now running amok in all directions looking for some floor space to turn into a personal Garden of Eden, no cabins for these cheapskates, just blankets on the floor. We however had forked out for the finest 2 berth cabin to be had. Most of this ship is in dormitories, one for the men and one for the women. Firstly you need to get a key from a Fawlty Towers-esque reception desk and then you are escorted to your cabin, so far so good you may think. We were led down 4 flights of stairs and then through a warren of corridors to cabin 201.
Cabin 201 was a pokey little hole below the ships waterline, wedged up in the bow and next to the toilets. It consisted of a set of bunk beds with a sink. The beds would be snug for a Dwarf never mind people approaching 6 feet. Tracy chose the bottom, I got the top. The décor, like the rest of the ship was very 1970’s. Okay we thought, not the best but at least it was not near the funnels or engines. Unable to do anything but sleep in this refurbished coal-hole we headed up for a drink before bed.
The scene that awaited us was Armageddon. The noise was top-decibel, bodies lay everywhere and the few who remained upright walked around sucking on loaves of bread and depositing crumbs over everyone and everything with gay abandon. The next highlight was the announcement we were leaving. One and all rose in unison and headed for the outside with the religious fervour of a lynch-mob who have just been told a paedophile had moved into the neighbourhood. How the ship didn’t turn turtle and sink is testament to man’s design abilities. Here are a couple of pics of our Favourite ship.
Not being able to take it anymore we headed for the sanctuary of room 201. We initially thought it to be a bonus to be near the toilets and away from the bedlam on the upper decks. So, so wrong. Firstly as the ship got going all we could hear was the sloshing of water. It was like being in a washing machine, not one of your new fancy German ones, this was like mother’s twin-tub Hotpoint and with each turn of the spindle this Croatian imposed water-boarding torture increased, slosh by slosh, swish by swish. To add to the pleasure the Bilge pump was switched on every 30 minutes to pump out the accumulated water from our chamber of horrors. But the top-banana of misery was still to come. The toilet we thought to be a bonus was in fact the only one on the deck. Our fellow passengers visited this locale more frequently than Katie Price has visited the Divorce Courts. As well as the shouting and door slamming we could here every single bowel movement and every single toilet flush. We didn’t sleep a jot.
As soon as we could we escaped upstairs for breakfast and watched the sun rose as we approached Bari. I took a picture of the sun rise, but not of Bari as looked like a dump. So top-trumps to Jadrolinija. To make a journey so bad must take training and years of practice.
But every cloud……. It could have been worse. We could have been on the Sveti Stefan.
Camping Kate Mlini 03/10 – 05/10/2015
The weather forecast told us the Weather on the third was not going to be the best and is our way it was made a travelling day. Road 8 down the coast of Croatia is a peach, a corker with wall-to-wall wonder at every turn. Unfortunately the light was not good enough to record images so you will have to take our word for it. This is one of the best drives you will ever make. I will stick my neck out as say it is better the US 1 in California. A must do.
Part of the section involves a 10Km trek through Bosnia, a country we had no insurance for. We took the calculated gamble we would come to no harm for the 15 minutes we would be there and drove through. The alternative is to take a ferry out to the Croatian peninsula and by-pass Bosnia. It all turned out OK and nobody asked for insurance documents. In Croatia we asked a couple of locals why is it difficult to get insured for Bosnia. We were told it is like the wild-west. They target foreign and hired cars, steal them and then ransom them back to either you or the insurance companies.
Our couple of pictures of the route:
In the evening we had a Barbie and a couple of beers. Knowing we were going to Cavtat the next day we decided to open a bottle of Champagne that Ivor had left in our fridge since the Billings Affair. Imagine our disappointment to find it was flat, not a bubble in sight. We still drank it though and it made my face go funny as you can see. Ivor, next time leave as a decent bottle as we do not like driving your junk around Europe.
We have been looking forward to Cavtat since we knew were coming to Croatia. Cavtat is a very special place to us. Basically Three years ago we went on holiday there and fell hopelessly in love, as we still are. Cavtat is still a beautiful coastal resort about 10 klicks to the south of Dubrovnik and does not seem to have changed since we were there last. It appears a lot busier though with many more coach and boat parties descending on the place than before. But, we managed to sit in ‘our bar’ having mojitos as the sun set over Dubrovnik. This we followed with a meal before floating back to the van.
To sum up. We have liked Croatia tremendously. It is stunningly beautiful, good value, the roads are excellent. Campsites are plentiful and wonderfully maintained if sometimes a little short of facilities. Come here anytime out of July and August and you will probably agree with us this is the best coastal destination in Europe. It munches places like Spain and Portugal for breakfast.
Love to all