Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Trip - Day 7: Budapest, Zagreb & Rijeka

Thursday, June 17th 2010

I took the 6:30am train from Budapest to Zagreb.  As usual, I was wearing my Cal hat and as I was walking down the train to stretch my legs I got a “Go Bears” shoutout yet again.  This was from an older couple (my parents age) who had both gone to Berkeley.  I ended up sitting with and talking to them (along with another couple) for most of the train-ride.  It was fun to share stories of Berkeley from back in the day and now.
My original plan for Croatia was to meet up with Kyle Delbyck in Zadar, and that was the main reason I took the earliest train out of Budapest (so I could get to Zadar earlier rather than later).  Well when I got to Zagreb (at around 1:30pm) I found out that the earliest I could possibly get to Zadar, through bus/train would be 4am the next morning.  Well that didn’t exactly work for my plans so instead I decided to take the 5pm train to Rijeka.  This gave me a few hours to walk around Zagreb and check it out (so I took a number of different trams and walked around to see the different parts of the city).  I think I liked Zagreb the most of any Eastern-European city I’ve been to so far (not necessarily on sights & things to do) because everyone seemed to be happy.  A bunch of locals were sitting out in cafes drinking and socializing… all these bars were playing the World Cup games on TVs outside…. It was just a really good vibe.  Also, I bought a beer at the grocery store as a refreshment and as I was walking around town I was looking for a place/ledge where I could open the bottle.  As I was thinking about that… and man sitting on a bench called me over and opened my beer for me.  Gotta love the hospitality.

I slept almost the entire train ride from Zagreb to Rijeka and as I was taking the bus from the train station to my hostel… I realized that I lost my wallet (still unsure how exactly that happened).  I then went to the Continental Hotel (where they had free internet) to try to figure out my credit cards and logistics.  Well by this time it was already getting pretty late and I could either 1) pay for an expensive room in the Continental.  2) Search around for an ATM (because I didn’t have any local currency anymore), then try to find a hostel and sleep there for a few hours. Or 3) stay up all night for free and use the internet outside the hotel all night.
Well I’m choosing to do #3 and that’s where I’m writing this from right now.  Because the hotel knew that I had lost my wallet, an employee was very nice and brought be some food & water and put the cushions back on the couch outside so I could hang out here all night.  I also wanted to stay up to follow the Laker game and them winning the NBA title J

General notes: very few people spoke English and I heard 0 English-speaking tourists.

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