In the newest installment of the flying north blog top six list, I take a look at Croatia. Quite frankly there were many more plusses than this, but I narrowed it down to six. I began writing these posts back in February when I was in Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria. A top five list seemed as if it was not quite enough, and a top ten list was too much work – and too Letterman. So, here we go!
Top six Croatia disappointments.
1. The Museum of Broken Relationships. In Zagreb, there is a high-concept museum called the Museum of Broken Relationships. Really? Believe it or not, they were charging admission too. Most people I know could open their own museum with this theme. Nonetheless, this is the kind of fluff that happens when high-concept artists have a little too much time on their hands, and perhaps a few too many cherry brandies.
2. The Heat. I’m all for sunny days, but wow the heat was quite overbearing at times, especially on the coast where one would think the night would bring relief. It doesn’t. During my stay the average temperature was 92 F [33 C] and there was not a cloud in the sky.
3. Lack of Air Conditioning. Ok, so I’m not a four-star hotel kinda guy. I am usually fine with sleeping in a two star – after all I’m just there to sleep and get lucky. However, in the summer heat of Croatia [see comment #2 – July is the hottest month in the country by the way] a little air conditioning would be a welcome friend.
4. The Ferry Ticket Woman in Split. She did not tell us that on Tuesdays the last ferry back to Split is at 3:30pm. That would have been a helpful tidbit of information and would have saved us from a five hour return ferry ride and only two hours on Vis Island!
5. Timing. This is a back-door negative, but given the uniqueness of each city I visited, I would have liked to spend more time in Croatia. There is always next year!
6. Lack of Taking Credit Cards in Restaurants. More so than not, the restaurants all over Croatia do not take credit cards, so be prepared with enough cash when you go out to eat.
Top six Croatia plusses!
1. The People. Everywhere in Croatia the people were friendly, accommodating, and if I may say so, not bad to look at. During my travels I did not run into any local who was not helpful.
2. The Local Bus System. As we took buses between such cities as Dubrovnik and Split, Split and Zadar, Zadar to Plitvice Lakes, and Plitvice Lakes to Zagreb, I feel more than qualified to give an assessment of the bus system. It was efficient, relatively inexpensive, the busses were clean and new, and the bus drivers were always friendly and polite.
3. The Cherry Brandy in Zadar. A sip or two of this local cherry brandy on ice is worth the trip. Ten glasses later, you appreciate it even more, although you can’t get up out of your chair.
4. Cheese from the Island of Pag. This local cheese, produced on the Island of Pag off the Adriatic coast, is another reason to use your frequent flyer miles to get to Croatia. Coupled with the local prosciutto and some olive oil and it really shines.
5. The Old Town Centers. Whether it is Dubrovnik or Split, the “old town” centers were a highlight of our visit. Split’s old town, within the walls of what was Diocletian’s fourth century villa, is amazing, and a walk on the city walls of Dubrovnik’s old town is not to be missed.
6. Ajvar Sauce. Every time I ordered some grilled meat with grilled vegetables it came with a mystery dollop of a thick red sauce that I could not easily identify. I soon fell in love with it, and had to ask the waiter what it was. Ajvar is a local condiment of sorts that is made from red peppers, aubergines [eggplant] and various other ingredients. I’m generally not a foodie, but I had to run to the nearest grocery store to get myself a jar to take away. Nom nom.