Last Chance for Summer

Being quite busy this year with many events taking place in the summer here in Cluj (like this) we ended up almost losing the sunshine of this summer… By the time we double-checked the number of our available holidays for this year, we realized the time for using them is almost finished. So what do you do when you miss the warm summer months? Well, you go south hoping for warmer weather there 🙂 . As one of my colleagues said: this year all nearby holiday resorts are either war-zones or transit zones for immigrants, so there is not too many places you can go in the south hoping to catch some more little sunshine. Our choice was Croatia: it reaches south enough to have some chance to catch warm weather even in September, it is not a war-zone and it is (well it was) not a transit zone for immigrants. Don’t get me wrong, I am not afraid of the actual immigrants, it was the issues at border-crossings that we were afraid of…
Anyhow, after we chose the country, we basically tried to choose the point furthest to the south where we haven’t been at until now (so naturally Dubrovnik was out). The choice fell to Split: it has nice beaches, some nice islands nearby and even a national park that is close to it. Naturally so many possibilities in the area required us to be able to move around in the Split area easily. So, the choice was, again, traveling by car 🙂 . As usual, when we went by car for similar trips, our mid-travel rest-location fell to a point in Hungary: this time it was Siófok.

A quick-search on revealed quite some possibilities for hotels where we could spend the evening and the night at. Our choice fell to Hotel La Riva, which was very close to the lake-shore, allowing us to do this a few minutes after checking in:
Siofok Sunset
Our stay at the hotel was quite good: we had a very tasty dinner at the hotel restaurant, we had a quite good room, nice private parking and a friendly staff to make our stay enjoyable.

After a relaxing evening at Siófok, we headed south (just as planned 🙂 ) towards Split. At the border with Croatia we had absolutely no problems, the connection between the Hungarian M7 and Croatian A4 motorways went very fluently, although after the switch we got onto a bit bumpier and more expensive highway: Croatian highways are toll-roads, so our short trip (1 hour) between the border and Zagreb cost us ~€6 (compared to this the 10 day vignette in Hungary costs ~€11 giving you unlimited access for 10 days to all highways). Luckily the road after Zagreb switched to the A1, which is much-much better. The A1 is a high quality road, nice tunnels and bridges: an absolute joy to drive on 🙂 . Of course driving on it until Split for about 400 kms will cost ~€30… You can do the math: there and back cost us more than 6 times the 10 day vignette of Hungary… 🙁 . The gates are sometimes misleading saying you can pay only with cash, but I could pay at all “cash-gates” with credit card. So no problem at the means of payment, some of the guys at the toll-booths could use some coaching on how to smile (or speak clearly), though… Same story for the fuel-stations at rest-areas: people were not nice, not fit for working at the cash-register… For a country relying heavily on tourism, I was a bit disappointed…

All the bad feelings I gathered on the highway went away, though, after arriving to Split. The woman greeting us at Adriatic Queen Villa was very friendly, spoke English fluently (like many of the people in Split). She gave us a quick tour of the apartment we rented and made sure everything was OK for us to move in for the week. We chose an apartment in hopes of saving some money with the breakfasts (and we knew it would be hard for a few days to get up in time for the breakfast time of hotels also 😛 ). Actually our breakfasts were quite enjoyable, who could not love drinking coffee like this:
Coffe with a view
I think these apartments were an OK choice, although I really hope they will fix their WiFi, because the way it worked when we were there will come back to them and ruin their reputation quite soon… Also the nearby hospital helipad may be disturbing for some, for us it was a bit of a joy to see the helicopter land so close :):

Yes, it took a while until we got there, but then we had a quite good time. More of that, though, I will write in the upcoming post series 🙂 …


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