Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Vienna Travel Blog

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waiting for a new bus
Let me give you a little tip...no matter how close they look on the map, getting from Croatia to Greece is not easy. In fact, some would call it a "pain in the ass."

By this point in my trip, I flat out ran out of time. In the beginning, I envisioned weeks or months to explore Europe's southeasterly countries. But somewhere in the midst of the extra days here and side trips there, those weeks dwindled away and the list of all the places I'd have to come back for grew. The one solid, no budging plan I did have, however, was a flight out of Athens. How exactly I would get there was yet to be determined. I wanted to leave the details of my 5 months in Europe up to spontaneity and go-with-the-flow logic, so it wasn't until I was IN Croatia that I read all the travel websites saying "Listen people.
roadtrip!
..this big idea you have to simply swing on down to Greece from Croatia needs to be rethought. Why not just travel to Hungary?"

My options were few and my cash was dwindling. At this point, my new credit cards were still in the hands of my family in the States and the option to buy online with the number just didn't exist in the countries along my southbound path. And then there was the issue of time. I would love to brave the unknown adventures that lie in unpredictable time tables and multiple bus changes in Montenegro and Albania. I can only imagine the blogging gems waiting for me on that journey. But I couldn't take the risk or the stress in the meager two days I did have and decided an alternative plan was in order.

I wore out the keys on my computer googling every new idea that popped in my head.
michael, me, sam and elle
Each one a little more creative and crazier than the last. Every flight in the vicinity (a "vicinity" than spanned the width of about 7 countries, mind you) would cost me a minimum of $500. Ferries only ran two times a week and first stopped in Italy for a day before actually heading to Greece. I think we can safely say a "dilemma" had formed and I was beginning to "stress."

This is when Elle and Sam came to my rescue. They're two of the theory-spreading, spaghetti-eating Aussies in our hostel and with their help, we came up with a plan. It looked a little something like this: We'd all hop on a bus back up to Split. (Yes, the exact place I just came from and the absolute WRONG direction, but we'll forgive such inefficiencies for the sake of the adventure.) From there, we'd pick up their stored rental car and drive north, to the cheap flight I did find in Vienna.
Makes sense right? To get from Croatia to Greece, you simply drive north through Slovenia and Austria. Geography teachers everywhere are cringing, I can feel it.

The first bump in our smooth plan was a broken belt in our Dubrovnik to Split bus, resulting in a 4-hour hinderance to our progress. Communication was minimal from the driver, as to be expected between a non-english speaking Croatian and a bus full of tourists. Patience wore and the true colors of some passengers erupted in unnecessarily dramatic snips. I was grateful to be part of the remaining "why stress when we're on holiday?" crowd and eventually got on a new bus and carried on our way.

By the time we arrived in Split, though, it was too late to start the next leg. We stayed the night and continued on in the morning.
wien town hall
We drove (and by "we" I mean Sam) the length of Croatia, through Slovenia and finally into Vienna, arriving in early evening. The sun and heat of Croatia had left us somewhere in between and the reality that some places in the world are launching into winter hit me with the chilly breeze. We threw on every available layer within reach, and explored the city while we waited for a phone call from our couchsurfing host.

I was more than aware through this entire escapade of the hugeness of Sam and Elle's favor to me. As one way to say thank you and help them in return, I found a CS'er that would house us all. It was after 9pm before Michael returned to town and we were able to meet up. It didn't leave us a whole lot of time to bond before my noon flight out the next day, but we did our best.

The night started with a friend's birthday party at Michael's favorite bar and continued until about 6 in the morning at club U4 to the beat of 80's dance tunes. If you only have a few hours in Austria, I suppose this is as good a way to spend them as any. I left the next morning tired, knowing I'd need to return again someday and humming "Billy Jean." Auf wiedersehen, Austria. On to country number sixteen.
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waiting for a new bus
waiting for a new bus
roadtrip!
roadtrip!
michael, me, sam and elle
michael, me, sam and elle
wien town hall
wien town hall
on the bus
on the bus
Vienna
photo by: EmyG