Saturday, September 19, 2009

Using public transit in Croatia

During the Bosnia & Croatia trip, we largely relied on public transport (i.e. buses & ferries) to travel between and within towns. This worked out well for us, but was a nightmare to plan.

Despite spending hours checking online, calling & emailing transit authority, and double-checking the schedules of transit with the ticket office when we were in town, we still ran into problems. The main reason: all summer schedules become void on Sept. 1st when new schedules are posted to correspond with the shift from summer to fall. Unfortunately no one knows ahead of time what the new schedule will be. Also, no one that we spoke with seemed aware that the schedule changed on Sept. 1st.

(Day 4 of vacation) To travel from Dubrovnik to the island of Vis, we planned to take an 8-hour ferry on Sept 1st. Due to the Sept. 1st switch, there was a change of plans:
6:40am - arrive at ferry landing; learn that ferry will depart 1 hour later (due to Sept. 1st switch); have to wait 1 more to buy tickets
7:45am - try to buy ferry tickets; learn that ferry is going to another island destination & no ferries go to Vis today (due to Sept. 1st change)
8:00am - IM & I running back and forth for 30 min. (looking very clueless) between the ferry ticket office, bus ticket office, rental car agency, & tourist info determining how to figure out how to get to Vis; KS was the lucky one during this ordeal - she got to sit on a bench, eat breakfast, watch our bags, and be relaxed
8:45am - buy bus tickets to Split (learn bus is full and we'll have to squeeze on)
8:50am - board bus to Split (where hopefully we can get a ferry going to Split); bus was over-booked and we got stuck sitting next to old ladies try to use our foot space for their bags
1:00pm - arrive in Split; spend 30 min discussing with lady at ferry ticket office & learn that there are no ferries to Vis until tomorrow morn (due to Sept. 1st switch)
1:30pm - go to internet cafe; call travel agency in Vis; learn from travel agency in Vis that there is a 4pm ferry from Split to Vis today
2:00pm - purchase tickets for 4pm ferry to Vis from the same lady who told us that there were no ferries to Vis today
4:00pm - board ferry; sleep in sun on back of ferry
8:00pm - arrive in Vis (yeah!!!)
9:00pm - negotiate accomodation & site-seeing plans for next day (cave boat trips for friends, scuba diving in caves for me)
10:00pm - make it to our B&B

While we were waiting to get our ferry tickets in Dubrovnik, a couple younger folks got on a (very nice) yacht. I commented how we should get a ride with them. Next time - I will ask them for a ride instead of just commenting. My guess is that they would have made it to Vis much quicker (and in better style). Next year, it's all about the yacht.

I would like to thank my parents who spent years teaching me how to figure out stuff on my own, and how to deal with last-minute changes like the one above. :)

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