Croatia has always been on my fiancée and my to-go list. Having read and heard from many friends and family about how beautiful the sea side towns are, we decided to make it part of our graduation trip holiday! Turns out it not only made sense but was even necessary to enter neighbouring countries Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro along the way. After much research and comparison of prices, the most cost effective way to travel would be to fly BA into Zagreb, rent a car and drive about for 1.5 weeks, before returning it at Dubrovnik and flying easyJet back to London.
On BA, we booked separately - me with luggage, she HBO. On EZY, we booked one 20kg check-in and I decided to also spend a few extra ££ to reserve us row 8 seats, the first row of the regular seats. Flying BA on the way back would have been nice, but the difference in fare price was too great to justify, so here goes my first ever easyJet flight!!
After landing in London from Singapore An Unexpected TR Featuring BA's LHR Arrival Lounge (by pokfur Jun 4 2015 in Trip Reports), I popped into Oxford for the day, and back to Heathrow that night where my fiancée and I stayed at the Leonardo Heathrow Airport Hotel for the night. To be honest, I wasn't planning to do a TR on this as I figured it'd be a bog-standard BA short-haul flight, so no pictures until we boarded.
Basically it was the usual - rather empty but not entirely empty T5, checked in at First check-in, headed through a quick fast-track security, and into the Galleries First lounge for some breakfast. The night before I had checked the seat map and discovered a rather empty plane, and so moved ourselves to the rear in an atypical fashion, hoping for an empty aisle seat. Half an hour before departure, we headed to the gate where boarding had just begun. We were accepted at the fast track queue, and then headed on board.
Upon entering the aircraft, I immediately realised that we were on one of the ex-BMI A320s. The blue seats, lack of headrests, and plastic centre tables in Club Europe gave it away immediately. Not something to be overly bothered about I suppose but the legit BA seats are definitely much nicer.
At my seat!
Strangely the ex-BMI seats seem to provide slightly better legroom than the BA seats, despite the A320 having the same configuration. Suddenly, my leg kicked something under the seat. Hmm..
What's that?? And look how dirty the seat area is!
And what's that under my fiancée's seat??
So it looks like even though this aircraft had been sitting overnight at LHR, nobody had cleaned or checked it. Seems like the cover of the life jacket had come loose, and a wine bottle was rolling around under the seat! We really couldn't be bothered to complain though (yes yes we probably should have...)..
Luggage being loaded under a grey morning sky.
Soon enough, the pilot welcomed us on board and we were ready to go.
Taxiing to the runway.
And here we go!
Without a long wait, we began our takeoff roll down the runway, the lightly loaded aircraft accelerating powerfully.
Whooshing by Terminal 2
Up in the air past Terminal 3!
Terminal 5, obviously.
Service on this flight really was the usual though. We got the customary bacon cheese tomato (new!) croissant along with a drink. So been there done that that I totally forgot to take a picture of it.
My fiancée and I passed the time by just catching up with each other. It had been 3 weeks since we last met. We both kept our croissants for later; in the event of hunger we'd have some emergency back-up food.
Descent soon begun.
Very green Croatian landscape.
We landed with a solid thump that made me thankful that I wasn't sitting on top of the landing gear.
Pulling all the stops to slow this aircraft down.
Tiny Zagreb airport didn't have any jet bridges, so it was down the back stairs for us onto a bus!
And with that, we were dropped off at a tiny immigration hall, after which we emerged into a tiny baggage reclaim hall, then into a tiny arrivals hall where we picked up our car and off we went for our holiday!
Pictures from my travels
I will feature some photographs from my travels. First up, we drove immediately from Zagreb to Slovenia, specifically to Lake Bled where we stayed the night.
We had beautiful weather. But by the time we arrived it was too late to take a boat to the tiny island in the middle. The next day, we went into Triglav National Park for a hike/walk which was beautiful
We really had perfect weather and the sunshine filtering through the canopy made the walk all the more charming. After the walk, we went to pop by Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia.
Beautiful city, though we didn't spend much time there. From there, we drove to Piran where we spent the night.
The next day we drove from Piran to Pula, popping by a winery on the way.
Slovenia produces some really great wines for great prices!! We ended up with quite a few bottles by the end of our trip At Pula, we stayed the night and walked around the following morning.
We then immediately embarked on one of our longest drives of the holiday - from Pula to the Plitvice lakes. We got there rather late in the day but thankfully managed to make it in time for the tram and boat rides. Ironically, arriving so late in the day meant that all the tourists had already left.
It was a beautiful evening stroll on the wooden boardwalk, with lots of lakes and waterfalls along the way.
This waterfall was much more magnificent than the photograph suggests.
Sun setting soon.
Taking the boat across the lake back to our car.
That night, we stayed near by the lakes at a B&B, before driving to Split the next morning. That afternoon was spent walking around Split.
Unfortunately we didn't quite like Split that much so not much photos to show you either haha! The next morning, it was time to cross the border and drive to Mostar. However on the way, we visited the Blue and Red Lakes.
We were much more impressed by the Blue Lake and upon reviewing my photographs, it looks like I didn't even take any pictures of the Red Lake?!
That afternoon, we arrived at Mostar, and took a walk around town.
The famous Old Bridge
Alternate view down by the river.
And what were those two men doing?! Well apparently they were there to collect money from tourists. Once they collected €25 (or €20?), they would then jump down into the river from the bridge!! Unfortunately we didn't hang around long enough to see them plunge down because we were hungry.
Dinner time! Some traditional food.
The next day, we left Mostar to make our way to Dubrovnik. Along the way, we stopped by this really tiny town. Thinking back, I have totally forgotten its name. Nice view from the top though!
View from the tower. And yes, the town is just whatever is on the left side of the photograph.
We also went in search for some ancient walls somewhere... In the end it was a rather scary drive up a dirt road, and we ended up with really just an uninspiring wall. So, instead, I took the chance to photograph our trusty Opel Astra
A spacious, comfortable car, it had an incredible lack of power (1.6L petrol). But for a petrol it could go something like 600-700km on a full tank!
That evening, we arrived at Dubrovnik quite late. Here, we would stay for two nights. The next morning, we drove down into town (because our apartment was quite far) and thankfully managed to find a parking lot.
Quite a nice view while climbing the city walls.
Looking back towards Dubrovnik Old Town while driving off.
We ended the day pretty early, and the next day we were off to Montenegro. Unfortunately I didn't find any of the towns we visited very charming. However, we did drive up the mountains and found the view from up there absolutely stunning.
The pictures obviously hasn't done it justice, but it's probably one of the most unique views up there of very steep, black mountains with the water down below... And with that, we spent the night in Montenegro - our final night - before our flight the next day back to London.
[Edited 2015-06-10 10:33:34]