The past few days have been long travel days. We left Michal’s parent’s house Thursday morning. Since we returned from the mountains the weather there had been reminiscent of a fall day; mid 50s, gray skies and rain. To get from Poland to Croatia we took a train, a bus, a plane then a car. We spent Thursday night just outside of Split and Friday morning we rented a car and drove 4 hours North to the city of Rijeka.
The road from Split to Rijeka was amazing. We had to pay about $20 US dollars but it was worth it. We climbed the mountains in our car and passed through several tunnels – one of them was over three miles long! Driving on this highway was smooth sailing and the views ranged from the dramatic Adriatic Coast to the luscious mountains.
This is our second time in Croatia. We came here three years ago and fell in love with the country. The scenery is breathtaking, the people are incredibly friendly and it is still much cheaper than most of Europe. It feels like a paradise that has yet to be discovered by many. Even though we are in a different area this visit, it is still just as beautiful and not nearly as busy as other popular European seaside destinations.
People at home often ask why we chose to visit Croatia. Twenty years ago there was a war here. That was twenty years ago. These days it’s very safe to be here. Out of all the countries I have been to, in my opinion, Croatia is the most beautiful. Now I’ve really only been from the South coast to the North coast but there’s something about the sea, the mountains and rolling olive groves that I love. I belong on a tropical island.
Today we traveled about forty five minutes to the Island of Krk. It was the first time all summer we have actually gone swimming and had a day at the beach. We explored old town Krk then traveled further South on the island until we found a small beach tucked into a cove. Sandy beaches are hard to find around here. The water is also so salty that once you spend some time in the sun, you can see streaks of salt on your skin.
Rijeka is a hub for a few other places we want to see. We were pleasantly surprised this morning when we discovered that the Central Market (a HUGE farmers market) is literally right around the corner from where we are staying. For about five dollars we loaded up on an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. From our window we can see the harbor and hear the ships being loaded and unloaded.
The past couple travel days have worn us down. We are not as young as we were when we took our first trip seven years ago. We had planned to visit two other cities before we return to Split on Tuesday. Hopefully a good night’s sleep will recharge our batteries and allow us to do what we had wanted. If not, we’ll just spend more time exploring Rijeka which wouldn’t be a terrible thing.
I’ll admit, I’m a bit overtired while writing this post and it probably lacks the sparkle it deserves. Here are the links to my blog posts from our trip to Croatia in 2012: We are in Croatia!, Paradise Found, Life of a Beach Bum, Old Towns, Zadar, The Most Beautiful Sunset, An Abundance of Natural Beauty