Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Destination #2 or The Not So Amazing Race Through Four Countries

We were up at 4:00 AM Monday morning to head to our next destination. Our driver picked aus up on time and traffic was light all the way to the Ataturk Airport. We entered the airport and went through security immediately, the line wasn't too bad and things seemed to be going smoothly. A stop for a quick coffee ($11 Can) later and we were off to find our gate. and then the thunder and lightning started!! After the time for boarding had passed they announced that there was a gate change for our flight. Back we went to where we had started and discovered we needed to go through more security to get to the gate. Our 7:30 AM flight to Vienna was over an hour late departing, and we only had 1 hour and 15 minutes to switch planes. Could it be done???

Our plane arrived and we were down to 35 minutes until the next plane took off. We hustled though customs and then ran to find the check-in for Croatia Airlines. Fortunately I asked one of the attendents and she was able to get us checked in with out having to wait for the lineup. The only problem was, our plane had already started boarding!! Off we ran to find our departure gate. And guess what....more security!!!! The lineup was very long and when I told the staff that our plane had started boarding they just shrugged their shoulders. Then we could hear them calling our names. Panic was setting in...what if we miss our flight??? We finally arrived at security and it was off with belts, watches, jackets and everything out of the bags. We were lucky they sent us through and we started running. Down the stairs and a then down a long hallway. We arrived at the gate and jumped on the bus that took us out on the tarmak to meet the plane. The rest of the passengers were all seated when we hurried on. I think the engine started before I had my seat belt fastened.

The flight to Dubrovnik was very uneventful, I even had time to nap a bit. We headed out of the Dubrovnik airport and found the shuttle bus that would take us to the bus depot. It was 12:15 and we had a 3:15 bus to Mostar to catch. After we got our bus tickets and bought some Kunas we walked over to a tiny market and bought some snacks and water for the bus trip. The bus depot was very clean, the staff was quick to mop up any spills and swept the floors at least 3 times while we were wating. There was a 3 kuna charge to use the washrooms, but they were spotless so it was worth it!!!

Finally we boarded the bus and headed up the coast. The scenery was spectacular as we drove along the sea. When we turned inland we saw huge orchards with oranges, lemons, pomogranites and olive trees, and greenhouses full of ripe tomatoes and peppers, fields full of cabbages and rows of grape vines. We stopped frequently so that our passports could be checked. And then, just when we thought we were on the home stretch the bus stopped again. An announcement was made and everyone stood up and started filing off the what???? The driver motioned for us to get off and get on the bus parked beside it. We never did figure out what the reason behind the switch was, but we finally made it to Mostar. A driver from the hotel was waiting for us and we were soon checked in to the Villa Anri.

The view from our balcony was enough to convince us that the hectic day of travel was well worth it. The famous Stari Most bridge was such a beautiful sight we could hardly wait to go for a walk to see it close up. We stopped for dinner at a Balkan Restaurant and then walked the almost deserted streets of war torn Mostar.

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