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Croatia or bus(t)

Our bodies are tired. We’ve just finished a compelling discussion about the available potential impact of the airline industry on the greater good and are hiking up the final hill on our 18 km hike around Plitvice Lakes. We reach the main entrance shortly after and begin to try to determine where our bus will be picking us up for our overnight commute to Split. When I say try, I mean this in a very lackadaisical way - really, we are just sitting at a picnic table while the thought is occasionally brought up.

Luggage is being gathered and I’m sitting at this picnic table, happy to have my pack off of my back. Our final member of the triad returns, gear in hand (well, on back), with news. “So since our bus is so late apparently it won’t even stop here. But, it will definitely stop at this restaurant 20 kilometers that way.” She points. “Apparently.”

We all check our tickets, trying to find a more specific pick up location. It just says Plitvice Park, entrances 1 and 2.

“Wait, so it won’t even stop here? Even though we have a reservation from this spot?” I ask, utterly confused.

She shrugs, just as confused as I. “That’s what they said inside.” The three of us sit briefly trying to contemplate what to do. The main question, how do we get there? Our bus isn’t for another six hours and it’s clear we don’t have much to do at this picnic table.

A man approaches our table. “20 Euros to restaurant. I can take you,” he says, in slightly broken english. It turns out that the man was in the office when our bus conversation had occurred and now was offering us a ride to that restaurant that the bus will definitely stop at. Apparently.

Now we’re in this car. Driving somewhere in the middle of Croatia. We have no idea, but this man does. Apparently. I’m falling asleep in the backseat when we’re suddenly at this restaurant. It’s empty and I can see all of our brains trying to process how we’re supposed to spend the next five hours here.

Dinner(s), card games, many drinks, and five hours later, we’re sitting on the pavement in the parking lot outside of the restaurant. Buses leave almost no room for cars. It seems as though the buses DO stop here. Bus after bus, we ask each driver if theirs is our bus. And every answer is no - until one calls our driver. “Five minutes,” he says. Five minutes and we’re on our five-hour, overnight journey to Split. Too bad I struggle to sleep on public transport.

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