So if it’s Tuesday, this must be Ljubljana…er….Pula? Again? Say it ain’t so.
It goes like this: It’s hard to get out of Pula, Croatia. According to the tourist office there, it’s easy: I could take a bus to Pazin (cash only, of course! What is it with all these cash only bus companies?) and switch to a bus to Rijeka and then either take a bus to Ljubljana or the 1pm train. That was a six-hour adventure that gets you in at 15:35, OR there’s a train at 6pm that gets in at 10:20p.m. Plus I have a rail pass, so it’s free (in a manner of perspective). So minus having to store my bag at the bus station with this incredibly rude jerk of a guy, and figuring out how to entertain imyself for one more day in Pula, the train seemed ike a no-brainer.
By 5pm I’d completely run out of things to do, went and got my stuff and hoofed it over to the train station (about 15 minutes away on foot). I was early, but I was getting out of there, so I was happy to be waiting. At 5:20 this ridiculous tiny one-car train (COVERED in graffiti) loaded up with people and left. And then around 5:50 it was back from the opposite direction.
At this point, I had expected to see my train pull up, so I went up to an employee to inquire about where I should wait for the train to Ljubljana. He repeated the question back to me about three times in what sounded like German, but I suppose must have been Croatian. He frowned, and motioned that I should come with him. In my experience, these moments rarely end with news you want to hear.
We went into an office where he got some paper and wrote some things down. Then he frantically rattled a bunch of stuff in Croatian (German? It sounded like German, and I could almost swear I kind of understood it. Maybe this is what’s happening when people tell me they don’t speak English, and I keep talking to them anyway, and they get it? Some sort of cosmic translation?)
Anyway, I kept the paper, so I can state with 100% authority that it looked like this:
Pula – Lljubljana
Rijecka – Ljubljana
20:45 – 23:45
Basically, that train that the tourist office told me about stopped running two weeks ago. Nice.
Long story short, there was no getting to Rijeka in time for the evening train., so Pula and I spent one more magical night together. It’s a brand new day, and I am now on the bus that takes me halfway to Rijecka (at some point, I apparently change buses, just to make it more of a hassle and to aid in wrestling some extra “baggage” fees out of me – about $1.50 per bag). Actually, it’s more like a mini-van than a bus. An overpriced mini-van full of loud talkers wherein every other word seems to be “dobre” or “da”. There’s a girl who looks amazingly like Thelma of the Scooby Doo cartoons. She even has the hairdo and the turtleneck/skirt combo. Her voice, although equally grating, is twelve times as loud. She also pulled my hair. Probably by accident, but whatever. This bus is too small for the both of us.
So while we’re on the topic, why don’t buses have seat belts? If it’s so dangerous to ride without one the police will pull you over and give you a ticket…how come it’s okay if 25 people do it together? I can see in the mirror that even bus driver isn’t wearing one. But there’s a rosary hanging from the same mirror, so I guess we’ve got God on our side.
Okay, so super weird, but literally FIVE minutes after I wrote that we nearly had a car accident. There was some kind of truck stopped on the side of the road, and I guess our driver was taking a nap and letting Jesus do the driving, because he noticed it WAY TOO LATE and came to a screeching halt. We ended up sideways in the oncoming lane, but we didn’t hit anything and no one hit us. I guess this sheds some light on the cash only policy: No paper trail. Just shove the bodies over the side of the cliff into the ocean and get a new load of victi…passengers.