‘I thought you didn’t want to go to Pula?’ Mark arched his eyebrow at me when I suddenly confidently announced before we went to bed last night that Pula is where we would be going the next day.

The last few days I had told Mark we wouldn’t be going to Pula because it was an epic trip there on bus and then after a couple of days there, we would have gone on an even longer epic trip to our desired destination, Zadar. Quite frankly, I’m getting too old for these long bus trips. Pula lies on the Istrian Coast in the North-West region of Croatia, only a stone’s throw away from Slovenia but as we would be working our way down south throughout Croatia, is it really feasible judging on our timescale? That was my reasoning until last night.

‘It wouldn’t have to do with a certain receptionist downstairs?’ Mark grinned at me. Oh dear, perhaps he was clued on than I thought.

‘Well, she did offer an intriguing argument..’ I reasoned only to be interrupted,

‘Admit it, you fancy the pants off her and you couldn’t say no.’

All I could offer was a shy smile. Actually, despite the hotness of the women of Palmers Lodge Zagreb, she really did convince me to go to Pula. First, she was from Pula herself so she had a wealth of information what we could do there. Secondly, and most importantly, she told us of a shortcut to get from Pula to Zadar – the ferry. I could imagine it now, sunbathing myself on top with room to spread out my legs rather than cooped up inside a tightly packed bus on winding roads. Sorted. Thirdly, she was really hot.

With buses leaving regularly from Zagreb to Pula, we knew we could just rock up at the bus station just minutes away from the hostel and we would be on our merry way. However, we still had more sightseeing to do in the capital so I declared we would be catching the bus in the afternoon leaving us to explore in the morning. Booking ahead our accommodation in the form of Riva Hostel, we went to bed safe in the knowledge that our next day has been suitably planned out.

Well, to be honest, I forgot the one of the laws of travel that should have been factored into here. Sod’s Law. it will never work out what you plan. Always expect the unexpected and all that malarkey.

CRASH! THUNDER!

I jolted awake as water streamed in of the open window of my hostel room. Fumbling for my clock, it was 7am and there was a raging thunderstorm playing havoc in the skies above Zagreb. Angry black clouds dominated the sky glinting evilly and basically laughed in thunder that our plans to sightsee Zagreb in the morning was a wet puddle. Bollocks. Thick raindrops splattered the streets below turning them into mini-rivers and with that knowledge, there was absolutely no way we could sightsee. I thanked to the gods that we already saw the main sights of Zagreb the day before but I still wanted to learn more about the history and culture of the new country that used to be part of Yugoslavia. There was the city museum I was looking forward to but that required a good walk through the gushing rain to get there. It would have to be left for another day.

So, washed, dressed and checked out of our room, we hung around the common room hoping to have one last look at the hot receptionist. Unfortunately, there was a different one. Darn it! She rubbished our plans for Pula and claimed the hostel we would be staying at is the worst hostel full of awful smells. Thanks. So we retreated into the abode and played cards amid colourful banter until it was time to catch our bus to Pula.

Wahey, I got a winning hand at Shithead!

Wahey, I got a winning hand at Shithead!

Skipping through puddles and streams, we caught the bus finally and moseyed on for four hours to the Romanesque city of Pula. After an hour of travelling, I urge you to put down anything you may be doing whether it is reading a book, watching a movie on your laptop, chair dancing to your iPod (this was me, much to Mark’s chagrin) or perhaps the binoculars to scout out the fabled beautiful Croatian women (this was Mark). Why? You’ll immediately come to views of the grand and panoramic Istrian Coast that will literally make your jaw drop! Green craggy mountains line up the dazzling blue sea and small villages hang precariously to their sides. It’s such a wonder! So much so, that I forgot to take a picture…

Anyway, as soon we pulled into Pula, checked in our hostel (more on that on the next post), a quick shower and change, we went exploring for good old-fashioned Balkan food in a local restaurant. But the sights on the way will distract you…

Temple of Augustus - the only visible remnant from Roman Times on the Forum Square

Temple of Augustus – the only visible remnant from Roman Times on the Forum Square

The Forum aka 'Central Square' where you will find plenty of markets, concerts and basically a place to meet!

The Forum aka ‘Central Square’ where you will find plenty of markets, concerts and basically a place to meet!

Colourful cacophony of Pula Architecture

Colourful cacophony of Pula Architecture

Triumphal Arch of Sergius

Triumphal Arch of Sergius

Now, you can see how Pula is influenced dramatically by the Italians. More on that in the next post. We need to find food first.

NEWSFLASH

Guess what, I’ve discovered a top 5 food that I’ve eaten in the entire world! Slightly out-of-town, away from the sea lies a local restaurant called Kod Kadre. It serves, literally, the tastiest food I’ve had the pleasure to experience and it’s a Balkan food called Cevapici.

Cevapici - grilled dish of minced meat and a type of kebab.

Cevapici – grilled dish of minced meat and a type of kebab.

Okay, it’s nothing much to look at and one person commented on my picture when I posted this up on twitter that it looked like a pile of ‘you know what.’ Actually, just take a bite and you’ll be amazed by the party that is in your salivating mouth. Cevapici is rather filling and I will tell you that you will be eating with your eyes!

Meanwhile, duly fed, we headed back to the hostel before taking in a concert. We were pretty tired and relaxed with a few bevvies on the rooftop terrace. We would have a decent night’s sleep…right? Again, little did we know…

Want to read more Croatian Adventures? Check out the following:

Day 1: Introduction to Zagreb

Review: Palmers Lodge Zagreb

Day 2: Zagreb Zingers!

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