Croatia travel diary/travelogue

Day 10 - Homeward bound

4th July 2009

Well, this really was it - home time. No more trips to exotic locations for us now. But there was one bit of ‘drama’ for the morning. A German couple who were staying at the guesthouse were in a bit of a fix as they couldn’t get their car out of the driveway. There were two cars in front, one directly in front and one to the front-left. There was a gap between the cars, and it looked to me like it was possible to get their car through. The only obstacle, really, was Ilsa the German woman! While her husband got close to getting the car through, she’d flap wildly and panic about the turning wheels getting a bit too close to one of the other cars.

Despite my insistence that there was room for the car to get through, Ilsa’s continued panicking put a stop to her husband’s attempts. Afterwards, I said to him “Trust me, you do have room to get through”, to which he replied “I trust you ... but I fear her!” And so the guesthouse staff tried to find who were the owners of the cars in front by knocking on everyone’s room. When that proved fruitless, he came back to where Manda and I were having breakfast and chatting to the still-flapping Ilsa. “You are my last resort!” he said to me, willing to give it another try but aware that Ilsa would only panic again, so he tasked Manda with ‘babysitting’ Ilsa while the men got on with the job at hand. Minutes later they were free (and Ilsa got served a large slice of humble pie!).

With little else to do, we took a bus into Zadar old town for one last visit. Enough time to have some lunch and a small walk around before heading back to the guesthouse and waiting for the time to catch a bus to the bus station. It was a hot, sticky wait in the reception; later, on the bus to town, we spotted a temperature on the outside of a pharmacy that read 34 degrees C, and this was 5pm. That might explain why we had been feeling a little clammy!

From here on in, it was the usual rigmarole of getting home which in this case involved a one hour delay on take-off, an arrival followed by a wait for 20 minutes while they tried to locate some stairs, taking the long bus route back to the airport parking and finally, just when we thought that we were done with delays, hold-ups on the M25 as traffic was filtered to one lane. This was at almost 1am! But while these delays are kind of expected, there was something about the trip that was actually surprisingly quick ...

Normally, the process of getting through the various checks at an airport are tedious and long-winded. As such, you allow plenty of time to get through them, normally. Take it from me, you don’t need to do this if you fly from Zadar airport! We got there at 6:30pm for a (scheduled) 9pm flight. But the process went something like this:

  1. Arrive at check-in desk, hand in paperwork
  2. Take 5 paces to left
  3. Show boarding pass
  4. Take 5 paces forward
  5. Go through security check
  6. Take 5 paces forward
  7. Show passport to border control people
  8. Take 2 paces forward
  9. You’re done!

The checks that you normally have to go through were literally one after the other, after which point you are at the gate. Or rather in a room from which you can see all three - yes that’s three whole gates - and wondering what the hell you can do to keep yourself occupied with for the next couple of hours. There’s one duty free shop in which there’s just about enough room to swing a cat, and a bar/cake/snack place. And that’s it! But then this is the airport that, as we landed 10 days ago, had to shut off a nearby road to traffic so that the plane could taxi across it!

So that was Croatia, or at least the parts we saw. Maybe another time we’ll come back to see Dubrovnik in the south or some of the northern towns. And if we do, chances are I’ll be writing about it!