Paris – Milan – Padua – Zagreb: October 2018
If I am making a long journey I spend quite a time looking for cheap ways to do it. This time I plotted Paris to Zagreb on Google maps, saw the stop-offs it suggested I made, and from there checked the airlines for who flew where. In the end I found a cheap flight to Milan from Paris which was straightforward, and then took Flix buses the rest of the way.
That part was arduous with local transport from Milan Airport to Monza to get the bus, which was delayed so that was already 10.30pm, although the wait was made more enjoyable with a conversation with a masters student studying in Padua. She told me where to go when I made the change there. I think this was my first 11pm – 1am sightseeing trip!
Then the over night part in the hottest bus I have ever ridden was quite a challenge, plus we had to get off twice at the Slovenian – Croatian border for passport checks despite it being the 32nd country to enter the European Union. Is that what we have to look forward to now just enough British people have voted to leave? What a calamity.
However, I did eventually get there and was met by the wonderful dancing Lea (who I met in a woman’s dormitory in Graz last year and kept up with on Facebook).
‘Croatia was, and still is, the hottest piece of geographic real estate in Europe. Croatia is the gateway between north, south, east and west in Europe.’ From inavukic.com (no longer available).
During my first day I stayed close to where the apartment is and look what I found: Bundek lake with woods in Gradski Park, and the Museum of Modern Art on Avenija Dubrovnik (all less than 15 minutes walk).
The familiar smell of Autumn, insects and wildflowers I am used to, sunshine on my skin.
I sat back against the tree and relaxed my pelvis. Smelling the rotting earth at my feet, I reflected that it is hard to write when I am unsettled. I relax and exhale, feeling myself let go.
I walked around the lake shown above and there was the other side of it – all open and sculpted.
Like Norway, I am in a country where I speak none of the language and cannot make sense of the signs around me. I quickly learn please and thank you by asking shop owners to teach me. I smile a lot.