After arriving back in mainland Italy we had to drive from Civitavecchia right across to Ancona. Our main goal while there was to sort out our 5 bags of dirty washing and get Angus a much needed hair cut. We saw a sign saying “Bambino! Haircut! only 7 euros!” It was a trap. A big trap.
Being Australians we have to abide by the Schengen Agreement in regards to where we can travel and for how long. We can only do 90 days in 180 day period in the Schengen Area. Fortunately the UK is not in Schengen so we smashed out 80 days there so we only needed to jump out for a further 10 days. We considered various things like leaving Beryl and flying somewhere warm, or going to somewhere like San Marino in Italy but in the end decided on Croatia. Flying somewhere warm would have seriously broken our budget and places like San Marino do not have border control so we would have had a hard time proving we were there if we didn’t seek out passport stamps.
Thankfully Croatia was amazing! A lovely surprise with beautiful people. We have found that Italians can be quite arrogant and abrasive in their manner but we fell in love with Croatians immediately. We were directed onto the ferry by the Italian ground crew at Ancona and Jeremy was driving like he had Tourette’s with some colourful language to the 5 guys all screaming different things at him. Then the atmosphere completely changed as we headed up the stairs and were greeted by the lovely Croatian ferry crew. They were warm and friendly and couldn’t do enough. We even had breakfast included in our fare which was a nice surprise. We hit the harbor in Split at 7am and headed into town. We did a huge shop to stock up and waste time but by 9.30am we were all exhausted and wanted to get to the campsite.
We were well aware we were probably going to be made to sit outside until check in time but we were so tired we didn’t care. Jeremy went in to book us in and not only were we allowed to go in early but he got a 2 bedroom cabin on the water for half price! So by 10am we were chilling with a coffee on the couch watching CNN.
It was so relaxing and peaceful we stayed there for 9 nights! AND on check out they only charged us for 7 nights and called ahead to Dubrovnik and booked us into the next campsite! We were floored. In the end the price of the cabin per night ended up being less than what we have spent on some campsites!
Our next stop was Dubrovnik for 2 nights and Valentines Day. We got some extra passport stamps for the whole 20 minutes we spent in Bosnia and stopped there for lunch, just because!
Our campsite in Dubrovnik was literally some woman’s front yard with a power point but it was across the road from the mall and right on the bus line so it suited us fine. Old Town was beautiful! We were grateful we went in the off season though because it was busy enough without all the summer tourists as well.
We walked the 2km on the castle walls and saw some of the damage caused by the conflicts from the 90’s. I tried to get some cute photos of Archie on the wall but every time I got him out of the carrier he was swamped by tourists which freaked him out!
Archie hating life in Dubrovnik: what you can’t see is random people making kissy faces at him over my shoulder!
Our final day in Dubrovnik was Jeremy’s birthday and he got an amazing birthday present from Archie…. “DADDA!” His first word!!
While my initial reaction involved “um excuse me small child who hasn’t let me sleep in 10 months….” it was a wonderful thing to happen on his birthday since we are very low key at the moment in regards to any special days. So Jeremy’s birthday involved Archie’s little present and a long drive back to Split to catch the ferry, firstly to Ancona and then to GREECE!