Oh, this weekend was so crazy that I don’t even know where to start from, hahaha.
Ok. So, my facebook friend from Taiwan arrived on Friday to my place. She hitchhiked for a week from Croatia to Slovenia and back to Croatia for Plitvice National Park. After she arrived we went for a short walk through the town and after a nice dinner we enjoyed a glass of wine in a bar near my place.
On Saturday we started our adventure. And it was an adventure indeed.
Metlika is a border town so we went to its outskirts and found a spot to hitchhike. After half an hour of not being picked up we decided to cross the border by foot and find a place in Croatia. We were thinking that maybe the drivers were not picking us up because of the border.
Ok… and we arrived at the border. And there the fun began, hahah. After we gave our passports to the border officer he asked us to go to the sidewalk and wait… when I heard that I already pictured in my mind what will come after.[this was the second time when I crossed the Croatian border by foot and it seemed that history will repeat itself]
So we went to the sidewalk and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more….
At one point all the border officers gathered in one place and were looking at my friend’s passport. Oh, I forgot to mention: none of those border officers spoke English, NONE!
It took all 7 or 8 of them more than an hour to read “Taiwan”. My friend arrived in Croatia, traveled to Slovenia and had to go back to Croatia to her flight on Tuesday, so she was allowed and had stamps on her passport. They kept saying that there is a bit of a problem and went back to check it.
After a while I was so mad that I was cursing, in Romanian, and asking myself why such incompetent people are employed…
So, after they figured out somehow that we are both allowed to cross the border what do you think happened next? Exactly! Bag-check!!! F*cking bag check!
I was the first one to do it. And with a lot of enthusiasm *fill in the sarcasm* I started to unpack my stuff. One. By. One. When the fat officer saw some aluminum foil wrapped up in a small ball he jumped up a little and with a fast movement of his wrist he grabbed it and started to open it frantically. In that time I was explaining him in Slovene that it’s just a wrap from an ex-peanut butter sandwich. During my explanation he was ignoring me and started to sniff the god damn stuff. Ahahaha! After the sniffing was over he asked me “druge?” and I said again “No! PEANUT BUTTER” He then continued looking through my stuff, but not in my sleeping bag where I could’ve had 1kg of drugs, and after he saw I am ok he let me go.
After my friend went through the same treatment we were finally allowed to continue our trip.
Yes, we wasted more than an hour at the border, for nothing!
At this time it was already 12:30 and we were looking for a good place to hitchhike.
The traffic was slow and no one was stopping so we decided to follow the road till a junction or something. Luckily on our way someone stopped and picked us up for a short trip. The lady who picked us up drove us all the way to Karlovac, which is like 30-40km away from Metlika. We had there a couchsurfing host but we refused it so we will get to the national park as we planned. The driver took us to a gas station and there we wasted the rest of the day trying to get a lift. No one stopped, even though there was traffic. Unfortunately the cars were too fast.
Around 5PM we stopped trying to get a lift and we went back to the big city, Karlovac. We thought we could find a WIFI and contact our host, who we refused. Nice, huh?
Before we got to the internet we looked for the bus station from where we could get a bus on Sunday to the National Park. This “hunt” took us about an hour but eventually a nice man told us to follow him and we got there.
With this quest finally done, we went looking for a bar with internet. Wondering through the old center of the city we went into a bar which was kinda’ sketchy but had wifi. From the first moment when we entered we were loudly greeted by a very, very drunk guy with a “HELLOU!!!”. His next line “where are you from?” was covered by the girl from the bar and his not-so-drunk friend’s laughter.
After I said to the not-so-drunk guy that I am from Romania he immediately said “oh, you’re gipsy”. That pissed me off but I ignored it and asked for the WIFI and went upstairs. There I started to send couch requests and messages. I was asking on facebook all my friends for help and I was enjoying the moment and laughing about the situation. My friends were actually super awesome and were even thinking of getting a car to come after me! :O Whaaat?! Yes! my friends are awesome!!!
My friend went down to the bar a few times and spent some time with those people. She was trying to have conversations with them but I was hearing from upstairs that the drunk guy had only 2 questions: “where are you from?” and “do you speak English?” Hahahah!
At one point I joined them, because I had to wait for answers from people, and I was overwhelmed by the noise and confusion. It was fun, and probably very Balkan.
At around 12:30AM we still didn’t have any plan or place to sleep, but had beer waiting for us.
A friend of mine told me about a place for homeless people where we could ask for help.
As I went down to tell my friend about this, the drunk guy was replaced by another one who was more lucid and who knew more English.
When I asked this guy about the place for homeless people he said: “oh, no! fuck that! you will sleep at my place!” Apparently in the meantime, my friend talked with him and he offered to help us. Randomness!
With this in mind I told my friends that everything was under control and turned off the phones. We drank some more and after 3-4 “20 minutes” of waiting for the taxi, we went to this guy’s place. I still don’t know his name, of course. Ah, and I forgot to mention that the girl who works at the bar joined us because they are together or something. It’s still blurry.
In the taxi we had the time of our lives, hahhah! The guys was acting as a DJ and he was turning the volume up and down all the time, while his girlfriend(or what the girl who works at the bar is) was cursing him in Croatian and yelling. I was laughing my ass off and enjoying the moment.
After he stopped messing with the volume he started hugging the driver who was trying to get him off of him. At one point the guys actually grabbed the wheel and moved it around. I think the girl hit him at that point but the driver kept going, hahahha! I was really expecting for the taxi driver to stop the car and ask us to leave or something, but nooo… not in the Balkans, hahahaha!!
Ok, so we arrived at this guy’s place. In his living room there was already some other guy to whom we said hello. In his appartment he showed us a huge room with a big king-size bed in the middle and says: “this is yours! you can leave when you want, the door is open! good night!” and he went to his living room to drink some more.
So we jumped straight in the bed, because it was 2:30AM already and we were super tired.
After 5 minutes the guy from the living room came to our room to say hello, and we said hello back. And that was it!
5 minutes later, the girl comes to tell us good night, and we said good night to her too. And that was it!
After other 10 minutes, the guy from the living room came back to tell us that if we want to drink some more we could join them in the living room. We refused the offer nicely and said we will go to sleep.
We eventually went to sleep and in the morning, our friend came to us and told us that he is going out for a coffee and that we can leave whenever we want because the door is open. and he left us alone in his apartment. Just like that!
We made ourselves comfortable and drank a tea and after we wrote him a note we went to the bus station.
On our way we bought some food from a supermarket, where the ladies who were working there knew English…
After a one and a half hour drive with the bus we arrived to Plitvice National Park. At first I thought that 15 euros is a bit too much but after the first 10 minutes there I realized that those were the best 15 euros I spent. That park is amazing, it has lakes and waterfalls. I will not try to describe it in words because I won’t be able to cover the magic of the place and the beauty.
The fact is that we spent there more than 4 hours which recharged my batteries!
After our tour in the park was finished me and my friend separated as I went back home and she went to Zadar.
It was 5PM already when I started to hitchhike back home but in 20 minutes I got a ride back to Karlovac. The driver was super nice and knew English very well. We discussed about politics, nationalism and a lot of interesting subjects. At one point he gave me to drink some rakija, which was very good!
In Karlovac, he showed me where the old road towards Metlika is and where the highway is also. Luckily for me they are very close to each other so after I tried for an hour to get a lift on the old road, I decided to go to the highway. In Croatia you have to pay when you get on the highway so they have a lifting gate at the entrance. I went there and asked if they allow me to hitchhike there as you are not allowed on the highway by foot. The guy was very nice and told me there’s no problem.
After I set myself into position I realized that I hitchhiked in the exactly same spot last year in the summer when I went from Zagreb to Lovran!
It took me about half an hour to get a lift and at 8PM, when it was already kinda dark outside, I was picked up by someone. I was very happy about it, because it was getting late and I started to think about my options.
The driver didn’t know English so I used all my Slovene vocabulary with him and it was good. Actually he told me I speak very good Slovene!
I was so happy when I saw we were approaching Metlika, oh my!
But it wasn’t so easy to get home. No, no, no!
At the border what do you think it happened? Yes! We were asked to pull the car over for a car-check.
Will you believe me if I will tell you that it was exactly the same god damn officer who sniffed my trash the one who searched the car?! Well it was!
When I saw him I started laughing and when his colleague(who actually knew English) asked me to unpack my stuff I actually asked him: “really?! Again? You saw all my stuff yesterday!” but he was nice and being a bit uncomfortable for doing this said “it was my colleague….. it’s just border check….” He almost said sorry for doing it, hahaha!
So after this check-up we finally arrived!
It was a crazy weekend and extremely fun!
Now I have some wonders:
- How come that at a border, where you have people from other countries of the world you, the worker, don’t know any other language except yours?!
- How come that in a supermarket, the lady who sells bread knows more English than a border officer????
- Why aren’t you guys traveling?! Really! You’re missing out so much and no, I am not cocky or trying to make you jealous, but really! You should travel, random and with no plan!
Take care and see you soon!