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Dubrovnik Travel Blog

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It's a straight shot on a 2-way coastal highway from Split to Dubrovnik. And, I thought, a perfect opportunity to give European hitchhiking one last go. Unlike last time, I couldn't find anyone that had actually tried it here and had no tips other than which bus should deliver me somewhere in the vicinity of that coastal road. My backpack and I wedged our way into the crowded bus and waited. For a sign, a gas station. Anything that could serve as a proper pickup point. As it turns out, luck was on my side. I learned from another group of backpackers that the bus's route was actually 45 minutes south on the exact road I was looking for.
Joseph, my personal driver
So I stayed put, rode as far as the bus driver would let me, and finally got out to thumb a ride. It was perfect, actually. The narrow, shoulderless road didn't provide many opportunities for a car to pull over. And as that's an essential part of a hitchhiker's success, I was grateful that my dropoff point was the long gravel parking lot of a side-road cafe. I stood at it's mouth and waited about 10 minutes before Joseph showed up. The very friendly Croat drives from Split to Dubrovnik and back again daily for work and was excited to have someone to keep him company. And as he was in no real hurry, Joseph even pulled over for pictures and took the extra-scenic route purely for my amusement.

My payment for the ride was a solid 4-hours worth of Jesus talk, with one half-hour of it devoted to the rapture.
He's a believer, to say the least, and seemed relieved to learn my siblings would more than likely be moving before California's impending 2010 descent into the sea or equally devastating punishment from above. As my feelings on the entire subject are slightly different, it was a predominately one-sided spiel. I sat back and let Joseph talk, however, comforted by the conclusion that someone that in love with Jesus would have no interest in harming me.

After multiple failed attempts to get to the little side street address scribbled on a scrap of paper, he delivered me to my Dubrovnik hostel door. I said goodbye to Joseph and hello to the hostel manager, who just as quickly turned me away for lack of space at a cheap price. He did, however, point me in the direction of a nearby alternative.
The second option, with its comfy facilities and amazingly sweet owner, seemed to be the perfect answer. And even better, they agreed to my proposal of work in exchange for accommodations. I was set.

I resorted to this suggestion for two reasons. Money is not exactly on my side at the moment. Post-purse stealing but pre-return of my credit and debit cards, I'm left attempting to survive on wired cash until I leave Europe. It's a "fun" challenge that leaves me searching for cheap alternatives and thumbing rides across the country. I also hate seeing my money rapidly disappear into lodging, but my usual solution of couchsurfing didn't seem to be an option this time. Dubrovnik's CS community is small and largely inactive. I had written a couple hosts, but held little hope.
When I received a positive reply from one guy, I surprisedly assumed I was set until my Split host advised against it.

Croatia--and Dubrovnik, specifically--has recently dominated the news and conversations of backpackers in this part of the world. A month ago, an Australian girl went missing. A few weeks later, her body was found in the water. The guy that had answered my reply just happens to be a lead suspect.

I tell this story under the strict condition that you remember, short of the sole reason I'm connected to it, the situation is completely detached from couchsurfing. I've spent the last four months trying to illustrate its positiveness in the eyes of my doubting friends, and I will be seriously misunderstood if this is interpreted as fuel for those doubts.


But I digress...

I think most would agree my reason for declining the offer is sufficiently valid, so you can imagine my surprise when after checking in and getting comfortable, it was brought to my attention that this guy (who we'll hereafter refer to as, Bob) is the son of the hostel owners. And this hostel just happens to be where the girl was staying when she disappeared. I had met a Canadian backpacker named Mike within minutes of arrival. After this new revelation, I informed him he wasn't allowed to leave my side until we safely vacated the premises.

Nothing has been determined by the police, and the investigation continues. The speculations are running rampant, with the majority coming straight from the mouths of my fellow hostel patrons.
the spaghetti clan
In the midst of the bizarreness, a bond formed among all the travelers and tasteless jesting kept everyone laughing, but from straying too far from the group.

We actually saw very little of Bob. Perhaps it was an intentional effort to lay low, or maybe he's slightly preoccupied at the moment. Either way, I can't say I minded. I'll leave the judging of his guilt to the officials, but keep my distance in the meantime. I think it's safe to say, though, a handful of travelers emerged from these couple days in Dubrovnik with a newfound interest in this mystery.

It was a short stopover for me. A chance to see the increasingly popular city with the walled-in old town and ancient charm. We toured the streets at night, and again in the daylight. On the second evening, our hostel clan had grown to 9 (4 aussies, a canadian, englishman, kiwi, south korean and little ol' american me) and we collectively made a spaghetti feast. The socializing continued well into the night, where we ended with the now-customary routine of email and facebook swapping before saying goodnight and goodbye. I ended my night by moving from the empty dorm room to a bunk with the rest of them, when I learned it had been hers. I have my brave moments, but I don't need a ghost story on top of everything. My blog is long enough as it is.
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Joseph, my personal driver
Joseph, my personal driver
the spaghetti clan
the spaghetti clan
overlooking Old Town
overlooking Old Town
canadian mike
canadian mike
Milka (the hostel owner) and the b…
Milka (the hostel owner) and the …
they love their torcida
they love their torcida
mandarin farms
mandarin farms
mussel farm
mussel farm
Dubrovnik
photo by: benwielenga