Friday, July 16, 2010

Hvar to Dubrovnik saga

Saturday morning we got up bright and early to head out for the bus to the ferry in Stari Grad. Now…if you look at Hvar Island, you will notice Stari Grad is a city on the northern side of the island (roughly speaking) and Hvar Town is on the south side. OK…Split is kinda north but when we took the ferry from there it took us to Hvar Town. OK…I can live with that. However, when we wanted to take a ferry to Dubrovnik, we had to travel to Satri Grad, across the island (fortunately, it’s not a huge island). The strange thing is that the ferry comes out of Stari Grad, around the island and past Hvar Town and on down the Dalmation Coast to Dubrovnik. Seems strange.
The bus was a real Japanese experience. We got to the bus stop early. Some others were there waiting so we joined them. Then some more came, another car came to drop people off, a small bus appeared with more, more people walked up, more and more and more. I bet there were 80 people standing there, waiting for the 7 am bus. The bus comes up…and the driver jumps out and starts loading suitcases and backpacks. He loads and he loads, he fills up one side, he goes to the other side. He loads and he loads. Then he goes to the back door and starts shoving in more packs underneath and then in the stairwell. The pile grows taller and taller and taller. Finally he’s satisfied that as many bags as possible are on the bus so he goes to the front door to start taking our money. Thank goodness we are early in the line because we do get seats. It’s quite apparent that there are more bags on the bus than seats and sure enough, it’s true. The middle of the bus starts to fill up. Cries of “move back” are heard. Some people shuffle, others do not – obviously the sense of space is larger than that of the Japanese. More calls…the driver squeezes in two more people then tries to close the door…but no, more people are saying no – my bag is on the bus, I want it off first. He squeezes in two more, then another and yet another. The bus is barely breathing room only and still there are 20 people outside, heading for the taxis. Insane. Thankfully it’s only a 20 min. ride to Stari Grad, that bus is really taking its time up the hill.
We have tickets for the ferry but we have to exchange them for a boarding pass. OK…we divide the job. Jeff gets the luggage, I go stand in line for the tickets. I wait and wait and wait and wait (we’re all in this line now). There’s a ferry leaving and, nicely, the lady calls for the people for the other ferry first which is fine but meanwhile, we wait. Finally I get to the window and she says I’m supposed to be in the check-in line over on the other side of the parking area…great…the sign I had seen said “check in” but it had the wrong destination so I ignored it. Now we’re in that line and finally we get on the boat. What a start!!!

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