Well I finally managed to get into Croatia late in the evening. Simon, my Airbnb host, was kind enough to pick me up from the train station and give me a ride the 4km to his apartment. After a quick shower I left to meet up with Frane, the hostel owner I met last year. Since Simon was heading into town anyway, he gave me a ride on his motorcycle. Allow me to explain something about motorcyclists in Europe: they don’t really follow traffic laws. Sure, they stop at stoplights, but that is more about their own safety. Otherwise, all bets are off. Swerving at high velocity in and out of traffic is quite common. When we entered the long tunnel just outside of the city center he floored it and we quickly doubled our speed.
He dropped me off near the Riva, and I met up with Frane, two Australians and a Canadian he was hanging out with. We had a few drinks that night at the same outside bar I visited last year while in Split. This year, however, there were about ten times as many tourists in town for the music festival. I must say, I rather prefer places with fewer tourists, but this was a special occasion: Ultra Europe!
The next day was Friday, the first of three days of the festival. It was windy and rainy most of the day. I met up with the Canadian guy from the previous night as well as two of his friends that were in town. The festival was postponed due to the weather, so the three of us got some rum and gin and hung out in a shopping center alcove for a few drinks. This is me on the left.
The festival was supposed to start at 1700, but by 2000 we heard that is was cancelled for the evening. Instead of refunds, the organizers decided to move a few of the artists to Saturday. However, since we were unable to re-enter the venue, we would have had to have stayed there for 17 straight hours to see everything. I did not do that. I did make it around 2100 on Saturday, well into the craziest part of the evening. I met up with Oliver and his friends again and we danced to EDM for awhile. I must admit, I didn’t stay long enough to justify the $170 price tag I paid for tickets for two days. Still, it was an interesting experience that I will be able to brag about during my travels.
Sunday was a recovery day. Well, it was supposed to be. Simon used my wrist band to get into the festival (I think, being a local, he was able to enter despite having only a two-day pass). I stayed back at his apartment relaxing, until the three Norwegians I had met in Zagreb texted me that they were in town. They had meant to come earlier, but ran into car troubles. They came over and we had some more drinks and chatted. They left around 0300 and I slept for quite some time after that.
That brings us to today, Monday. I bought a bus ticket to Podgorica, but it doesn’t leave until 0230 Tuesday morning. I spent about two hours in town trying to find a place to print the ticket from my email (I haven’t printed a bus ticket yet, so I have no idea why I had to this time). And now I am back at the apartment waiting for my laundry to dry before heading to the bus station. The Norwegian friends I made are staying in Split for a few more days, then heading to Podgorica, so I will probably meet up with them again in Montenegro. We talked last night about taking their car down to Tirana, but I don’t know if that was the alcohol talking or not. I do plan on continuing south to Albania, so if they are going that way it would be nice to hitch a ride with them (the bus ticket to Podgorica cost me over 50 Euro).
I think the blog is finally up-to-date. I have booked a hostel in Podgorica, but only for one night. I may try to find Couchsurfers or a short-term Workaway. I have never been to Montenegro before, so I want to stay there a few days and get a feel for the area. I know this is getting WAY ahead of myself, but I’m already considering where to travel after Albania. I think the surrounding countries are Greece, Macedonia, and Kosovo – all interesting choices that I wouldn’t mind checking out.
That will be all for today. Hopefully I can write more from Montenegro!