07/03/2018 Senj, Croatia
We were up early as the peaceful site suddenly got a little noisy as a gang of workers turned up to do the gardens and add supports for the trees. So, we took advantage, got ourselves ready and headed in to town of Koper. Later we returned to the van and moved out of the superb camperstop to head off down to Croatia.
The first part of the journey took us back into the mountains and although the roads were completely clear, the whole countryside was covered by deep layers of snow and looked very picturesque.
We passed signs warning of bears and wolves. We then got to the border and as we are so used to Schengen borders where you just drive through that we did not have our passports ready to show the border officer. She was quite miffed we made her wait and then gave the passports such a perfunctory look, that made the whole exercise a waste of time. She hadn’t even seen Elaine who was in the back tidying everything back after the search for the passports. I gave the guard both passports and all she said was “oh, there are two of you”. She opened both and then handed them straight back.
We had been through quite a few tunnels on the way. Just after the border we went through a huge mountain. The tunnel went on for just under a mile. When we got to the end we were gobsmacked, the surrounding snow had virtually disappeared. Slovenia snow, Croatia no snow! The road finally descended to sea level and we had completed our 111mile journey, for the day, as we drove into Senj. We took a right at the roundabout for the campsite only to find two workers digging a drain across the entrance. They shrugged to imply that the camp was closed. Free camping is not allowed in Croatia, so we drove back up the road to a restaurant with their own large car park.
Elaine went in and got their permission for us to stop for the night.
08th -14th /03/2017 Storbrec, Split
Rather than meander all the way down the coast we decided to take the toll road. We had the most beautiful, scenic drive back up into the mountains for about 12 miles, so we could get to the motorway. The road snaked its way upwards and every little while we would see a sign saying “Serpentina”.
It meant that the road turned immediately back almost upon itself and these were definitely, second gear turns. When we arrived at the toll station Elaine, immediately, leaned out the window to get the ticket having pressed the lowest button and we were on our way on the motorway.
When we got to our turn off for Split, Elaine handed the ticket to the man in the toll booth and the price came up in euros and Kuna (the Croatian currency). Our journey cost us about £22. There was very little traffic using the motorway and for long stretches we seemed to be the only vehicle on the road.
From start to finish our days drive has been 192 miles and we pulled into Camping Split in the small town of Stobrec. We have been here before and it is right by the sea. The site is open all the year round and in the off season they have a special rate of 12 euros a night plus a little bit of council visitor tax. For this we get the pitch, free internet ,and a wrist band that we use to pay for up to 3 free showers a day. There is a restaurant and bar, a shop and everything that we need. The small town of Stobrec is just a short walk away and Split is easy to get to by bus.
It is quite mild, and the sun is shining. It is the best weather we have had for quite some time. We will explore the area and of course spend a day in Split. Elaine’s normal start to the day is to stay in bed, drink the tea that I have made for her, whilst catching up on the news on her smart phone. She alerted me to an article about extensive flooding in Montenegro, Macedonia and northern Albania were particularly badly hit.
It said that torrential rain and melting snow had caused deaths and devastation and to add to it, in Albania, the authorities had had to allow a lot of water through a dam to relieve pressure on the structure. We looked at some of the pictures of mud slides, vast flooded areas and broken roads. We read all the articles and had a lot of sympathy for all the people affected and according to the internet, it is a problem that occurs quite frequently.
So, it became quite clear that we had to change our plans quite drastically. Even though we had gotten all the way down to Split in Croatia we could not follow our original plan. We found that only cars could travel on the ferry from Dubrovnik to Greece. We spent the morning on the computer and on the phone and we have managed to get two ferry tickets.
The first will take us to Ancona in Italy from here in Split, on the 14th March, arriving on the morning of the 15th. The second ticket will take us to Patra in Greece. The ferry leaves on the same day and from the same port and we will arrive on the 16th. There is no upset on our part, this minor inconvenience is nothing like the people in these countries are having to put up with. It is all part of travelling and we have been able to find a way to continue our adventure without having to drive all the way, back into Italy. It just means that we will get to enjoy the delights of Greece much earlier than we expected.