Slovenian and Croatian 9/13/2007-10/7/2007

Steamboat SpringsDenver BostonMilan, ItZabreb, CroatiaSamabor, CroatiaLjubljana, SloveniaBled, SloveniaBohjni, SlJulian Alps, SLBohjni, SlIzola, SlOpitja, CroatiaPlitvice, CrStarigrad-Paklenica, CrZadar, CrZagreb/Samabor, CrMilanBostonDenverSteamboat Springs


Journal Part XI:


10/4/2007: Garney Hotel outside of Zagreb, Croatia: Got wake up knock at 3:45 AM to head to the airport. The Garney is not your typical hotel. It is located in a neighborhood twenty minutes south of the Croatian capital of Zagreb and five minutes from their airport, Pleso International Airport. Unlike most areas adjacent to major international airports, this is a very quiet community with mainly old homes, very old, grass fields and a few restaurants located about a 20 minute walk from the only hotel.

Reminder of past occupation near the Garney Hotel


The other major difference from your typical airport town is that there is almost no noise. Of course this is off season and the flights might double during their busy time.

The hotel is more of a B&B art gallery than a hotel. An artist lives next door and through some arrangement uses the Garney as his gallery. Every floor and every room is warm feeling, comfortable and completely unique. The staff, character and accommodations more than made up for an inoperable satellite TV and a luke warm shower.












A taste of the Garney



















When we arrived on the 3rd we had requested a wake up call at 3:45 AM and breakfast at 4 AM (they actually do that) so that we could walk to the airport and make our 6 AM flight. We were informed that there was no problem with breakfast any time, but there would be a wake up knock not an impersonal phone call. The knock came right at 3:45 followed by a cheery good morning, time to wake up.

After dressing and packing a few last items we descended the stairs two flights to our dining area where we were met by Susan the night receptionist. Sometimes cheery doesnt mix with sleep deprivation and a month of travelling, but Susan was an irresistible package of condenses sunshine. She had grown up in a small town on the Slovenian-Croatian border called Humlyani. The river that runs by her town forms the border between the two countries, but she jokingly said she had never been to Slovenia because she could only swim half way across the river. The furthest she had been from home was Zagreb where she attended high school and trained in tourism. She loved her home and where she lived and had no desire to go further. Directly out of the tourism school she had got a job at the Garney and that is where had been for the last three years. I had to comment on her 4 AM happy disposition to which she replied you are only as old as you feel in side. Im 22 and I feel like 15. We had a fine breakfast, pulled on the back packs and rolled out in to a dense fog toward the airport ready to reenter the real world. 15 minutes later we were in the airport and headed for the Alitalia check in. It was 4:50 and no one was around. We were told they open at 5, so we patiently waited. At 5:15 we asked the nice lady at the desk if we could check in to which she replied, Oh, your flight is at 6:45 AM TOMORROW. Why of course, we knew that. This was just a test run. Yes, we had arrived just 24 hours early. After all this sunk in we dragged ourselves back to the Garney where Susan was delighted to have us back for another day.

Rather than waste the day we decided to take a little recovery nap and take the bus back to Zagreb and then north to Samabor. This is the small town we had visited on our way to Slovenia and had been so taken by the square, the castle and the peaceful setting. We headed back to the airport to catch the airport shuttle to Zagreb. Once in Zagreb we walked a few blocks to the train station where we caught the #2 train to the end of the line at the Crnomerec station. A short wait brought the bus to Samabor and with in a couple of hours of our airport fiasco were walking through the public square in Samabor watching the locals drink there Croatian coffee and eat their cream cakes.












Samabor Castle


















We walked along the trout stream through the park area up to the castle where we had stoop three weeks ago and decided to take a new path through the woods to where ever it went. It was a beautiful shaded track that climbed upward through the woods back above the town. After walking for more than an hour we found a path that looked like it headed back down the hill to Samabor. After about five minutes of descending we came to a small opening with a bench located to the left side of the trail. A white haired, elderly gentleman (as opposed to a white haired young gentleman like me) sat on the bench. As we approached I greeted him with dober dan. He responded with rapid fire Croatian, to which I quickly responded in pig Croatian, that I had exhausted by Croatian and I was American. He responded in un accented English, that is ok, Im Canadian. The condensed version of his life story is that he was of Croatian origin, but was a petroleum engineer who had lived and raised his family in Alberta Canada. His kids had actually been born at the hospital that Mo had done her nurses training at. His family consisted of a long line of Croatian war heroes and he had decided to do what he could for the cause when the Homeland War broke out in the 90s. He part was to smuggle arms from the US to Croatia, but unfortunately he got caught and deported to Croatia. We talked about Croatia, the US, Canada and the damage caused by rabid nationalism. He was quit happy in Samabor and his kids had

moved back and were close by.










Our new Canadian-Croatian friend















We eventually got back to Zagreb and then to the Garney, but it turned out to be a long day since we kept missing the critical bus back to the airport.


10/6/2007: Kelleys house Boston, Mass: Made our flight with a repeat successful wake up from Susan. Sorry to say goodbye to Slovenia and Croatia, but always good to be back to the US. Had a wonderful time in Boston. What a fun town and Kelley seems to be in her element. We walked about 20 miles around town and took in every possible historic tourist attraction. I was tortured in Nathanial Square due to a mild GI bug that didnt cause diarrhea or vomiting, but just made me anorexic. Looking at food is just not the same as eating it.

Paul Revere standing guard

Contrast of the old and the new in Boston


The end

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