Day 14: From Breakfast in Berlin to Dinner in Croatia
Last night we discovered a beautiful rooftop terrace on our hotel. Standing tall in the distance was the 1,200 foot tall tv tower which was built in the former East Berlin in 1969 for the 20th anniversary of the communist government. Beside the tower is a great department store, Kaufhof, which was the commercial pride and joy of East Berlin. On the first floor is a gourmet market and watches displayed in gleaming glass cases. One of my teacher friends at school and I are huge Swatch fans so I picked one out for each of us. It's one of my favorite souvenirs every year.
Today we flew on Easyjet from Berlin to Split, Croatia. Since seats are not assigned, at the gate it was an every man for himself and show no mercy mentality. It can get crazy, but to be able to buy the ticket for under $75 is a really good deal.
Landing in Split, I immediately noticed the clear aquamarine water, white stucco houses with red tiled roofs, and barren mountains. I tried to figure out what it is about this country I love so much. Sometimes when we go places we look for something familiar about it from our past to make a connection with it, but during the past three years I have come to the conclusion it does not really remind me of any place I have ever been before. I think what I love about it here is it seems to be such a nice blend of the old and new world here, plus having once been part of the former Yugoslavia, it has an interesting history which the locals love to share with you.
This year we are staying on Hvar Island. We don't have a cell phone here and couldn't get a strong enough signal on the ferry for our Skype phone, but no problem. Everyone here has a cell phone so I searched the crowd for a friendly face and asked someone to call our accommodation for us to let them know our arrival time. There's a fun summer time vibe on the ferry and the views of the Dalmatian Coast are amazing.
Once we arrived in Hvar I wondered how Ana, our accommodation owner who was picking us up, would know who we were on a bus of 60 tourists. I guessed she would look for two clueless people and I was right. She called out my name right away when I glanced across the street. We are renting a self catering apartment with a sea view. (see photo below)
Dinner was at Villa Dinka across the street where we had grilled tuna fresh from the sea. The dollar is strong here. Our entire meal with wine was under $50. Tonight as I write in my journal from our balcony we are serenaded by a chorus of cicadas. We hear them every year here and to me they are a sign of summer. What a warm welcome to Croatia!