Budapest, Hungary: A Solo JauntOctober 15, 2023
Wandering Through the Ages: Pula, CroatiaOctober 18, 2023
Rijeka, Croatia is a port city on Kvarner Bay in the northern Adriatic Sea. It’s known as the gateway to the Kvarner islands.
Another pit-stop on my solo journey, I arrived at Rijeka better rested than I had been the previous couple of days and my enthusiasm returned.
Prior to my arrival at Rijeka, using Interrail, I had taken the train from Budapest-Keleti to Zagreb only to be confronted with a multitude of delays, including a partial bus replacement and then the need to switch to an alternative train.
Zagreb and Flixbus
Having travelled the entire day in blistering heat, no aircon, and eating only a cereal bar a kind stranger had shared with me, I collapsed in to my bed at Zagreb Speeka gleefully. As frustrated as I was at not exploring, I needed to rest and I had been pushing myself relentlessly for weeks, walking miles every day.
The hostel was clean and the showers amazing but, it had nowhere to lock belongings away. A painful lesson learnt – don’t ever travel without snacks. Assuming you will be able to buy something at the next destination is futile when events turn. This is a rare shortfall for me, 99% of the time I won’t travel anywhere without snacks! Learn from my mistake.
This minor annoyance out of the way, I left Zagreb via Flixbus to Rijeka. I was seated next to a wonderful young Croatian lady who was ecstatic to be able to teach me some Croatian (I will upload the notes I took here; you may find one helpful basic phrase at least…) She chuckled at my mispronunciations and helped me write them phonetically to achieve the correct sound. By the end of the journey, she was pleased with my progress, and happy to have been able to practise her English. I’m always amazed by multi-lingual people, it is an incredible skill that I am slightly envious of! Hence, my dogged determination to maintain my Duolingo streak (At my last check, I was up to day 765).
Things To Do
Arriving at the bus station, I found myself next to the Capuchin Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, deemed a unique example of eclecticism within Rijeka, so I had a little wander round. After this, I headed for the sea. Unsure of what this area held instore, I felt a little disappointed to see that it was a harbour with working areas rather than the expanse of Croatian beach I had envisioned. It pays to research your exact locations, but this disappointment was short-lived.
The harbour itself was full of incredible yachts with animated crews who shot multiple smiles as I passed. Heading past the Botel, I found many more restaurants and bars, so I made the most of a drink with a view before departing.
Another place I thoroughly enjoyed, was the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral, there was a lot to see, the Lapidarium was fascinating, and the Governor’s Palace was beautiful.
Later on, I managed to slip about 20ft down some steep stairs, practically knocked myself out, and had to find my way back in to town with a malfunctioning phone screen: it was cracked in half and showing nothing. Mobikom was an absolute diamond and fixed it in a couple of hours for me - he even made sure the new screen protector was properly fitted before I left.
One of the waiters at Maslina felt sorry for me as I recounted my woes about it over their cheapest salad, and gave me a glass of honey wine. I came back for a steak that evening once the phone was fixed, and money worries alleviated! The waiter and I then shared a shot of something I can only describe as perfumed red wine. Delicious! I recommend trying the wine, but don't wear flip flops on slippery stone steps! Also, let this serve as a reminder to have some bearings about you in case anything happens to your phone. I now make a point of remembering the vague direction of main centres and train stations.
Rijeka Accommodation and Surrounding Area
I had walked from the bus station to Hostel Dharma and found myself blown away. The private room was lovely, there was a yoga session for that evening and the restaurant had the most amazing dinner; curry, sweet polenta and fresh veg.
Dinner eaten, espresso necked, I changed into my bikini and made my way down to Grcevo Beach, just 200m away. As per, I made friends with the locals, swam lots, drank many Lasko beers, and ended up watching the sunset on the beach with bats flying around. A magical way to round off a rough few days!
I only stayed one night at Hostel Dharma as I wanted to get to Pula before moving on to the next country. Following the coast round, I booked myself Apartment Moni for the following night so I was able to wash my clothes and feel a little more at home. I interspersed hostels with apartments and hotels occasionally to ensure I had facilities and retained some sanity.