One of my top tips for travelling (especially solo and for a long period of time), is to keep a journal. Whilst souvenirs and photos serve as a great reminder of your trip, written records will stow away quirky details you wouldn’t otherwise recall, especially when seeing so much in a short amount of time.
I thought it’d be a good idea to share some of my journal entries with you that are a raw recount of my experiences and feelings while riding the whirlwind of travel. This one’s about Croatia while on a forty-six day Contiki tour. Enjoy!
Dubrovnik did not disappoint. Old town is the setting of a fairytale, and perhaps that fairytale is mine. I’m no princess, but each day of late feels like a happy ending. On June 7th we headed into Old Town and had a local guide take us on a walking tour. Her name was Eda. The highlight would have to be our complimentary ice cream – tying with Italian gelato as my favourite. I’ve not really ventured out with flavours though as I’m quite content with mango. Yesterday it tasted truly orgasmic. Mmm.
At midday we boarded a boat for an afternoon of sailing, swimming and BEER. Yes, I’ve been partially converted to the beer-drinking community. Dad will be proud. Let’s just hope I don’t get the membership badge of such a club; bellies that double as tables for your favourite beverages. I’m more of an inconspicuous member. You know, the kind that don’t require a dildo to wave around as proof of their new Adult Shop subscription.
The night started off well and went downhill quite quickly. After drinking one long island iced tea, one vodka shot, three tequila shots, and two beers, I (not so) subtly hit on Danny [trip manager], tried to kiss Carlos [bus driver], and got kicked off the out-of-bounds stage and dance cages for gettin’ my groove on. I ended up hugging a toilet bowl (seat lifted and all) and gave myself a pep-talk through my phone:
‘If you’re watching this, Me, I promise I’m okay. I need to be wiser with my consumption in the future but I’m okay,’ I say through slurred speech and hiccups.
Mel [fellow traveller] ensured I got back to the campsite safely which I’m very grateful for. I remember telling her how disappointed I was in myself. I was vulnerable and helpless and completely reliant on others to keep me safe. I ended the night with a fine for vomiting out the window and onto the door of a taxi.
After a three hour sleep, I woke up sans knickers but sporting a t-shirt, and took about fifteen minutes to get dressed in the tent, dozing off multiple times. I was, indubitably, still intoxicated. At 11am we headed back to Old Town for what would be the best day I’ve had since coming to Europe. We made our way to a bar on the cliffside overlooking pristine waters. It was there that I conquered a fear and ticked off a bucket list item by rock-jumping. Admittedly, when I climbed up I had zero intention of making the plunge, wanting only to see what the fuss was about. After Carlos chickened out and headed back to the bar, I stayed up there for another twenty minutes or so and eventually worked up the courage to take the leap. I was so proud of myself afterwards, although my emu-legs slapped the water upon landing and gave me battle wounds. #Worth it. #No regrets.
For lunch we had the best bloody burgers on this planet. On the wall of the restaurant were the words ‘meat is murder’. Although I don’t vocalise my stance on veganism as much as I should to make a difference, I quietly appreciated the message. I wish everybody could understand and learn from it.
Next was the cable car ride! We were in luck on both trips and managed to be the first ones in line to choose our seating/standing spots. Given that everyone becomes crammed like sardines, it’s nice to have views out the windows and away from people’s backsides. It was spectacular.
While the others headed back to camp after the cable car extravaganza, I decided to stay and wander Old Town some more. I wanted to walk the walls but didn’t have enough cash on me, so off I went on my merry way to explore elsewhere. Angie got lucky again as I found my way to a staircase in a quiet, residential corner of the town. It led me to the walls where there was no inspection. WINNING. At one point of the wall-walk, however, there was a ticket officer but he believed me when I said mine had blown away whilst taking photos. Am I evil for taking advantage of someone’s trusting nature? I was pretty chuffed. By the time I’d finished the circuit it was 7:35pm and the campsite dinner was in twenty-five minutes. I expected to miss it seeing as I still had a ten minute walk to the bus stop, half hour bus ride while relishing the possibility that someone might’ve thought I was a Croatian local, and a fifteen minute waddle uphill to camp. But hey, I was in a fairytale, remember, so of course the bus pulled up within seconds of me arriving. I did miss my stop though and had to do half the loop again, but dinner was late so I made it. Mashed potatoes and marinade tofu were on the menu –f*ck yes. I had a quiet night and rested my head soon after Mr Tum Tum was fed.
We just stopped in Bosnia for half an hour and have now crossed the border back into Croatia for our last two nights here. I’ll definitely be returning at some stage, whether on this trip or in ten years’ time. Tomorrow night we’ll be in Budapest and are attending a spa party. Bikinis and booze, although no vomiting this time!
Talk soon, Journal.