Thinking back over the last fourteen days, I am amazed to think of how many places I’ve already seen and experienced. To be honest, the whole idea of travelling to another country in just a day still thrills me (as does travelling to another country full stop). And riding on planes still feels like a novelty, like something I should dress up for (which, at the moment, means my cleanest T-shirt and jeans).
In just fourteen days I have caught eight trains, seven buses, six planes, four taxis, three trams, two ferries, two bicycles and one very awkward lift from a hostel owner. I have slept in eight different hostels and on almost every form of transport. I have visited three countries and gone via four others. I have used Australian dollars, Euros, Czech Crowns and Croatian Kuna. I have seen the deserts of Dubai from a plane; the graffiti art in Berlin; the majestic spires of Prague; the cafe culture of Zagreb; and the irresistible blue of the Adriatic Sea.
After my momentary moping yesterday, I gave myself a serious pep talk and thought about how amazing this whole experience is. Then, I hired a bike and rode East from Split, with grand old buildings and shabby concrete apartments on my left and the sparkling sea on my right. I found a small cove, which seemed only to occupy locals, and spent a couple of hours in the sun, floating in the very salty sea.
Then, after a delicious lunch of local lamb stew and wine at a table shared with Croatians, French, Spanish, and Germans (none of us shared a language but we all agreed it was the most delicious food), I spent the afternoon wandering the small alleys of the Dalmatian castle and the broad portside boulevards.
After flying to Zagreb late last night and finally having a good night sleep, I ventured out to find breakfast in the bustling city streets. This task was a little more difficult than anticipated though: from the scores of cafes lining the cobbled streets, I did not find one that served anything other than coffee, tea, alcohol and cake. So, to do as they do in Zagreb, I had a espresso kava and the top half (gluten-free half) of an orange cheesecake. Yum!
Now, I am sitting in Zagreb Airport waiting for a flight to Istanbul, Turkey. I have been reading about the spices of the Grand Bazar, the colourful Turkish architecture and the mix of European and Asian cultures. I can hardly contain my excitement and am relieved to feel my old friend, Wanderlust, by my side again as I start another leg of my journey.