(Mis)adventures of Jumbo, Jordan and Coco enroute
Stories of a lifetime: One of the things I love most about travelling with Jordan and Jumbo is that no matter where we go, there are always stories to tell. Stories of our misadventures, mis-steps, follies and forced wisdom reverberate longer than the highpoints. It’s probably due to the fact that we can never let the other person live it down in this lifetime and the trip to Croatia and Montenegro was no exception in this regard.
Rent a Car: My staunch support of public transport is often mistaken to be due to my socialist affinities; however, in reality it’s only because of my Neanderthal (read non- existent) driving skills. Being a girl brought up in a small town in India; I was chaperoned everywhere I went. By the time I ever felt the need to learn driving, I was a poor student getting manhandled in Delhi Transport public buses. Granted, I can count the number of times I took the bus but I never got around to learning how to drive. Hence, renting a car is not an option unless I have a parasitic-symbiotic relationship with my co-traveler(s). I also provide a stimulating companionship in case you are wondering about the symbiosis part. Here is how it goes; you drive, I sleep aka provide you an opportunity to stimulate your thoughts in solitude.
Jordan cried hoarse about renting a car and how amazing a drive along the beautiful Dalmatian coast can be even though he had never driven a left hand drive. Overcoming my reservations and fear of carcolepsy (when you sleep as soon as the car starts moving; shout out to urban dictionary!), I acquiesced to Jordan’s push for renting a car. What gave me comfort was that Jumbo had done a road trip last year in Spain so we at least had a 33% chance of making it alive. So, we started on our journey from Zagreb towards Split.
Come D Day, startling information started unravelling. Jumbo had never touched the steering wheel on his last trip (parasite like me). Almost half of our journey was on Croatian Motorways (A ) with a minimum speed of 80 miles. For all their world class directions within the cities, the Croats cheaped out on the direction signs on highways, and the drive along the beautiful Dalmatian coast was very tricky with unending turns and steep curves. Under duress Jordan and Jumbo turned out to be real sports. So much that they kept playing “drop the ball” with one on steering wheel and the other with GPS and directions. Needless to say, I was too stressed and under carcolepsy and woke up only periodically to sooth my nerves with some special fluids. This blog post is a live testimony of us surviving the road trip.
Coco, Jumbo & Jordan go to Plitvice (Plitvička jezera): Jordan and Jumbo were ready to kill me as I included Plitvice national park (largest national park in Croatia known for the lakes arranged in cascades) as a must stop in our road trip but I must explain my conundrum. It appeared on one of those “must see places before you die” travel lists on internet. Going by the pictures, I was certain that I had to see it before I died but having seen it, I could have died without seeing it but there was no way to know this till I actually saw it. Not helping was the fact that we got lost within the Plitvice National park even with the most explicit directions and had to re-trace our steps halfway and even more travesty – there were not too many pretty girls for Jordan and Jumbo to ogle at and be motivated. I mean who cares for waterfalls and natural beauty? Definitely not pretty girls!
Interestingly, what impressed me was how thoughtful the Croats were. There aren’t too many stores or cafes within the park as they don’t want you destroying the park. Thoughtful! But, you can buy any amount of food/alcohol/chips/trash from store right outside the park and carry it with you into the park. I mean, if you must litter, at least you did not buy it in the park and if you happen to die due to slipping, at least you die well fed, inebriated and happy. Really thoughtful!
Don’t get me wrong, Plitvice is as breathtakingly beautiful as claimed during peak season but I can’t help but have a problem with the travel lists floating around. They have become one too frequent and none too reliable. It’s great to have a compilation and I definitely see value in some of the lists but I have been disappointed way too frequently with some of these lists. Anyone who can google can come up with a “top 10”, “world’s best” or “must see” list without actually having visited them. I have a bigger pet peeve with travel magazines who have the wherewithal for research and can actually influence people, come up with meaningless lists just because someone plummeted them with money or just because they need to be different. Granted, Paris being a top destination every year can get boring but what can explain Malawi being featured in 2014’s top travel destinations?
We started for Split immediately after we came out of the park to be able to hit Split before it got dark as we had to find a hotel first to crash in for the night.
(Caveat Emptor: All views expressed in this blog are solely borne out of my misconceptions, misconstrued notions and misunderstandings)