So I arrived in Zagreb, eventually, but my baggage did not. I had quite a crazy morning screeching through the airport like a mad woman to try to catch my connecting flight to Zagreb after my first flight was delayed. Poor Munich airport did not see me coming!
Well I am here. After a much-needed shower, we hit the streets of the city for some quality cafe time. The city is littered with cafe´s where you just sit and relax and people-watch. (By the way, I have watched the Croatian men and they are delicious!)
Speaking of delicious, it is also strawberry season and these babies are the juiciest and sweetest you have ever tasted…yum!
Off to Plitvice Lakes tomorrow (after a quick yoga class in Croatian – should be interesting), which is the number 1 must-see of Croatia, so that will be lovely.
That is it for now, mainly because I cant find any damned punctuation on this Croatian keyboard and I dont need stress on my holiday. *smiley face*
One more sleep until I leave for Croatia! I am quite stressed about the whole thing, although I know that I am actually ready for it. There’s just something about independant travel that gives you that extra buzz of nerves. I don’t know – could be the whole not having booked anywhere to stay and just winging it, not really sure 😉
I’m armed with my Lonely Planet book on Croatia, and having had a brief little visit to the Thorn Tree forum on their site, I do have a bit of an idea of where I’m going, how I’m getting around and how much I can expect to spend (ah crap, just realised I need to transfer some money still…). I’m a big Lonely Planet fan, and between their site, books, blogs and traveller forums, I think that they absolutely provide the best support for independant travel! Maybe one day I will write for them…hmmmm…or photograph for Lonely Planet Images.
I am packed (just about) and ready. Just have to fit this small pile of clothes into a backpack and do some bon voyage kisses.
I’m not taking my Blackberry and am completely removing myself from the world as I know it for 2 weeks. I will probably start having withdrawal symptoms and hunt down an internet cafe every now and then for a quick-fix blog post, so I’m not making any promises just yet!
If I don’t come back, please just assume that I have found a beautiful Croatian husband and am sipping cocktails and eating truffles in his seaside villa. Or more likely, I lost a day and missed my flight.
I am in the rat race. There…I admit it. Corporate Schmorporate. One day you will hopefully see a blog post here about how I went on to do my own thing and how I am insanely happy doing something that I love for a living, that brings me constant fulfilment…but for now I will just have a little moan and a laugh.
I came across this artist online – Hugh MacLeod, and his website called “Gaping Void“. His cartoons had me in hysterics. I’ve put together some of my favourite stabs at the corporate world in my current cynical state for you to enjoy.
A few of the crazies and I took the recent very conveniently placed holidays to take a real break from, well, everything we know, and packed up and headed off into the deep Transkei.
As South Africans, we are always itching to dash off overseas for a holiday when we actually have such amazingly beautiful places right here in our own country. All we need to do is rough it up a bit, go off the beaten track and we will find places like this for a ridiculous fraction of the price of an overseas holiday.
Okay, this one was quite FAR off the beaten track, I won’t lie about that, but the treacherous bends and a few encounters with near-death on the mountainside gravel dongas (I’d like to call them roads, but that would be lying), was well worth it.
Absolute untouched, unspoilt, rural beauty.
We stayed at Swell Tours Guest Lodge, a modest and rustic “lodge” on the north side of the Mdumbi river. We lived amongst the locals, minutes away from the untouched beach, with the locals helping us out wherever they could.I would highly recommend this place if you are interested in this kind of holiday – the owners are unbelievably supportive of their neighbours and in return very well respected in the area as well. It was just so easy and quite perfect, really.
The Xhosa people are so friendly and accomodating and I was quite touched by how happy they were with the little that they had. Well, depending on how you look at it, they are probably the ones who have so much and we are the ones that have very little. Humbling.
Life in the fast lane came to a grinding halt and we were very quickly forced to slow down, relax and feast on prawns, crayfish and oysters for next to nothing. Oh, and take a slow stroll down to the beach every now and then. If you’re into more than that, there are plenty of activities like surfing (the lodge is actually a surf lodge), kayaking, hiking, shebeen tours, horse-riding (although you may have to catch your own horse – true story), etc.
All in all, a truly memorable holiday that I hope you will also get to experience in your lifetime.
Support our country – there is so much untouched beauty here – you never know how long it will last.
Okay so my first real more-than-a-day hospital experience finally came and went (well, almost…check-out is tomorrow, based on my good behaviour). If it weren’t for the pain, it would actually be such an entertaining event.
My ‘cellmate’ is a really rough Afrikaans, tattooed, 40-something year old woman with wild hair whose pastimes included snoring, grunting, and occasionally farting. If the curtain between us happens to part, she takes that as a cue to complain to me how badly run the hospital is and that she has diabetes and that and that and that. Absolutely charmed to have met her.
On the other side of the Nutter is a window to a beautiful garden filled with birds. 17000 birds that all start screeching at 4am and continue throughout the day, singing songs to the sick.
And while I am napping ever so lightly to the songs of screeching Indian Myner birds, I can rest assured that all the metal ware in the hospital is being cleaned vigorously by the staff, who are so happy to be doing that, that they clang the metal ware together in happy chants, as if they are the tap dogs of the hospital.
They do serve some nice tea, though, so I have heard. I asked for some last night when my vegetarian meal came as a beef casserole and decided to give up on explaining what ‘no meat’ meant. The problem was that I could not move to shift myself high enough to actually drink the tea and could not reach the nurse’s bell to get some help, so dinner was the fresh aroma of a nice steamy pot of tea.
My crazy friends have saved the day, though, promptly arriving during visiting hours to say inappropriate things really loudly (I hope my cellmate doesn’t beat me tonight) and to fill my cupboard with Lindt chocolate and Woolies goodies.
All jokes aside, I need to go prepare myself for a stranger to stick painkillers up my ass…again.
Dahab, Egypt has to be second on my list of favourite places to trave to. It is situated on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and is the only place that has really been able to put me at peace. It’s a ridiculously lazy diving town that sucks you in and wills you to stay. What was meant to be a few days there ended up being over a week. We also managed to lose a day to the town and nearly missed our flight home.
The sunsets over the still Red Sea against the backdrop of the Saudi Arabian mountains on the other side of the coast is something that everyone has to see in their lifetime. Put it on your bucket list now! As soon as the sun starts to fade and the sea turns red, while you’re sipping your traditional bedouin tea with the smell of fruity-flavoured shisha pipes, you cannot actually imagine being anywhere else!
It’s also an amazing diving town and there are many, many diving schools where you can do a huge range of certified diving courses at your own leisurely pace. The underwater world of the Red Sea is definitely something that you want to see.
I found a kind of magic there that I have yet to find anywhere else.
To steal a line from a fortune cookie from my good friend, Big Daddy: