Day Twelve. It’s a big pizza pie!

The three of us had our flight to Rome booked for 8:55 am this morning. We got up bright and early, and got ourselves a cab to the bus station, from where we planned to catch a bus to Dubrovnik Airport. The cab driver, however, offered us a fare straight to the airport that was only 2 euros more expensive than the bus tickets to take us the whole distance, and we decided that 2 euros split 3 ways was worth the headache and extra time that the bus would take us. We were at the airport with plenty of time to spare, and had all our things packed up nice and compact yet again for our early flight. The ride to the airport was breathtakingly scenic, as well. We spent our last kuna on a couple bottles of water and some coffee, and then geared up for Rome.

Rome 101  Rome 102

No sooner were we in the air then it seemed that we were coming back down again, and by 10 am we found ourselves in a whole different country. Buying train tickets took a little while, but we were able to figure out the cheapest passes to get ourselves for the duration of our stay, and then just had to wait a half hour for our train before shuttling off to Rome to find our flat.

Rome 103  Rome 104

Our apartment this time was a little removed from the centre of Rome, but our host, Daniele, met us right at our metro station and walked us to our flat, where we got to meet his huge, friendly dog and get ourselves acclimated. We found a free walking tour starting right around the Spanish steps for 4:00 pm in the afternoon and by 3:00 pm were back on the metro headed into the heart of the city. Unfortunately for us as tourists, but fortunately for preservation, both the fountain at the bottom of the Spanish steps, as well as the building at the top are currently being renovated. We snagged a couple of pictures and then headed over to the oldest McDonald’s in Europe for a perfectly tactfully unhealthy post-plane and pre-tour snack.

Rome 105  Rome 106

Free walking tours are really quite hit and miss. The guides work off of tips, and so usually you get someone who is passionate about the material and also has a personality that keeps you intrigued. But every so often someone is lacking the formula that makes them appealing to you. This happened to us this afternoon. We tried to listen to our guide, but she just wasn’t selling the story to us even one bit. After half an hour it was clear to us that none of us were getting anything out of this tour, and we found a convenient spot in a crowd next to a street artist to ditch our group. We bought ourselves a map and walked over from the Colosseum over to the Circo Massimo to do a little of our own sightseeing and to salvage the day. On the way, Deanna and Nastassia decided to try some fresh coconut from a fruit stand, as the cascading water displays looked extremely appetizing on a hot day like today. Both of us happened to come to the consensus that fresh coconut tastes more like nut than we had imagined it would.

Rome 107  Rome 108

At the Circo Massimo, Nastassia and Jan decided to relive a taste of Roman glory by having their own foot race. Not until we all got back to the flat tonight did we realize that we must have left our map somewhere on the ground near there, because it’s gone strangely missing from every other place we could have possibly left it. But aside from that, the Circo Massimo was a fabulous place to pick up the energy after a boring tour.

Rome 109  Rome 110

After the foot race we all sat and talked, and tried to plan the activities for the next day or two. While we sat on the hillside and thought over all the history that is contained in every crevice and crack of Rome, we watched a couple have some splendid wedding photos taken of them right across the field from us. As the sun set and the mosquitos came out, we decided this was the perfect moment to call it an early night and to head back to the apartment.

Rome 111  Rome 112 Rome 113

Although our location in Rome is a little unlucky due to the fact that it is a little outside the centre, we are perfectly content with the fact that there is a grocery store almost directly downstairs. We didn’t feel like cooking, but also didn’t feel like going anywhere, so a lazy meal was in order. We filled up on some breadsticks and cream cheese, and had fruits and cookies for dessert. Sounds quite meager but we were more than content with it. Now we’re going to bed a bit earlier in order to gain strength for the coming days and also to make up for some of the sleep we lost last night.

Rome 114

Day Nine. Dubrovnik, all gears ahead.

The day got off to a rocky start, to be honest. Our bus was leaving the Split bus station at 6:15 in the morning – luckily we had arranged for our airbnb host to drive us there, which should have only been a 15 minute car ride. Nastassia awoke at 5:30 to the sound of the buzzer, and shortly thereafter Deanna and Jan woke up to the sound of Nastassia shouting ‘WE OVERSLEPT!!’. We packed last night, so luckily getting all our stuff together took no more than 5 minutes; getting dressed, brushing our teeth, and packing everything into the car took only another 10 minutes after that. We arrived to the bus station at 5:55, and made our bus with time to spare. However, we definitely learnt our lesson and will set more alarms for the rest of all our transfers.

Dubrovnik 101Our expected arrival in Dubrovnik was 10:30 am, and since we were only running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep we all took the chance to catch a catnap. We woke up in Bosnia-Herzegovina around 9 – roughly about 40 km from Dubrovnik. As nothing planned ever goes as smoothly as you’d like it to, we hit a traffic jam on a two lane highway. We went from a quick ride to a slow crawl and then to not moving at all. And officially, all three of us can say we’ve been in, and peed in, Bosnia and Herzegovina. We pulled into Dubrovnik a full two hours late, but luckily we had no transfers or anything of the sort to make.

Dubrovnik 102  Dubrovnik 103

We made it to our airbnb apartment, and after appreciating the gorgeous view from our balcony, we made a stop at the local grocery store to grab some food to cook up for lunch. Lunch itself was pretty simple, but we decided to try a boxed croatian iced coffee drink and some lemon chocolate. Both were quite alright and let us end our lunch on a sweet tooth before packing up all our swim gear for the afternoon.

Dubrovnik 104  Dubrovnik 105

When the three of us went searching for a beach, we knew that there was one somewhere close to our flat. We never imagined, however, exactly how close it was. A short 6 or 7 minute walk took us directly to one of the most popular beaches in Dubrovnik. Copacabana Beach, Dubrovnik, dubbed after the Brazilian original, was a great surprise. With a huge water playground, as well as a DJ every day from 5-10 pm, we were sold on it instantly. Nastassia and Jan were drawn to the water playground like moths to a flame, and were gone almost instantly. The water was clear and warm, absolutely perfect conditions and blue sunny skies on top of the package. Deanna didn’t feel up to the playground, but managed to get some great snapshots of the location while suntanning on the beach.

Dubrovnik 106  Dubrovnik 108

Even Glubschi, our travel mascot, got in some rays. With a gorgeous view and a warm sea, who could resist taking advantage of the lovely beach time. We had planned to be at a beach for only a couple hours, but ended up staying for closer to 3 or 4.

Dubrovnik 107  Dubrovnik 111

When we were all finally sitting on the shore all together, we cracked open a few beers we’d brought with us, and opened up a quick snack. Chips are always fun to try in new countries because of all the different flavors that can be found offered that aren’t available back home. We enjoyed the rays and some good conversation among good company before wrapping up to go home.

Dubrovnik 109  Dubrovnik 110Dubrovnik 112

We had planned earlier to go into the city in the evening to grab a fancier bite there, but by the time we got back to our apartment from swimming, all of us were just way too tired to even think of getting ready and packed up enough to go into the city. We made a second visit the the grocery store close by and cooked some bruschetta, pasta, and chicken as a welcome to Dubrovnik meal. Today was a long day, when you include the abrupt wakeup, the prolonged bus ride, and the swimming in the sea that we did. And therefore we bid you good night and sleep tight.

Dubrovnik 113  Dubrovnik 114