Pula, Croatia courtesy of Ms. Lauryn Hill
We boarded a bus in Zagreb for Pula, a four hour bus ride.
What we weren’t expecting was an oversold bus full of fellow passengers who were lucky enough to get seat numbers. We had no seat numbers. Apparently we were in standing room and standing room tickets were the same price as front row seats. The bus drove off with Jess sitting in the aisle and me standing outside the toilet door by the exit. Definitely the safest and most hygienic way to travel between Zagreb and Pula, right? Luckily this only lasted for about 45 minutes until we were transferred to another bus, which we had to ourselves!
It gets better…
Airbnb is great and we highly recommend using it, but you must use it properly. Only stay at places that have a lot of reviews and READ each and every one of them. We had booked our place in Pula well in advance, which meant there were a lot of new reviews posted before our stay. One review raised a red flag for us, which prompted us to inspect the mattress as soon as we arrived. I’ll leave it to you to determine what we found, but I will tell you we were out of there within five minutes with a full refund.
It was now 7 PM and we had nowhere to stay in Pula. We searched hotels and Airbnb for last-minute reservations. We knew that wherever we stayed had to be absolutely spotless based on our experience 30 minutes ago, but we also had to stay within out RTW budget. It’s a fine line really. We ended up compromising a little on price, but we got to meet our fantastic host, Verica, who took us in to her newly renovated apartment that was a five minute walk from the concert venue. Just like that we were happy again, although it would take a few days to get over that sighting. Oh and we’ll be meeting up with Verica in Thailand. Despite being on the trip of a lifetime, it is amazing that we still find things to stress (and be relieved) about. It’s human nature I guess.
We met a fellow Canadian traveller in Brussels who said that Lauryn Hill must have been ‘before his time’ as he hadn’t heard of her. He hadn’t heard of the Fugees either. He is 24ish we’re guessing, and apparently we are about 75.
Jess is a huge Lauryn Hill fan, from her breakout with the Fugees to her going solo. There was a Lauryn Hill concert in July at a small venue in Toronto that Jess insisted she go to (with me of course), but I wanted no part of it. Then we discovered she would be playing in Pula, Croatia in September in a 2000 year old coliseum, right around the time when we would be arriving in Croatia. It was an easy sell for Jess, and for me.
Fast-forward to September 3, 2014 and the Outlook Festival in Pula. The day had finally arrived that Jess would get to see Lauryn Hill in concert! We arrived at the arena an hour before the show to make sure we had prime seats (apparently we should have arrived 12 years early to fit in with the crowd!). We listened to 4 bands and endured an hour-long downpour. Unfortunately the coliseum had no retractable roof. Ms. Hill took the stage at 1:30 AM. Yes, these old fogey’s stayed out that late. Jess was ecstatic and it was awesome.
Pula thrives on tourism so during the summer the population swells, just like many coastal cities on the Mediterranean. We were there right at the end of the tourist season, but during one of the regions largest musical festivals. Having been to Barcelona in August definitely helped with our tolerance for tourists (because clearly we aren’t tourists!). We only had two days to explore so we focused on the city center and the area around the famous coliseum. We visited the farmers market, which was really just another market. The real gem was the Coliseum, which kept the shutter finger busy!
We found an awesome pizza joint in Pula and may or may not have gone there three times. Pizzeria Jupiter was a seven minute walk to our apartment, had gluten free options and was inexpensive.
I know we are a little late with this post, but its been a whirlwind month to say the least.
We are currently in Dubrovnik, Croatia and will be checking out of our accommodations tomorrow. At the moment, we are not sure where we are headed once we check out! The Greek Islands have entered the picture as an option as the forecast is for blazing sun and reasonable flights. Plus they are in the direction we are heading, east toward Istanbul.
jess + trickett