We heard about this crazy abandoned hotel in Dubrovnik from some guys on sail Croatia. What was once a 5 star hotel, was damaged in the war in 1992 and closed down. Some people may recognise part of it from the Game of Thrones TV show.
Image of the hotel after it was bombed
We got some vague directions and myself and two friends from Sail Croatia, Lilly and Mikaela, set off to try explore it. We were on our way out of the old Town where we bumped into two more Sail Croatia survivors, Anna and Izzy (random!). So we now had a team of five.
The ships captain, Tommy, was quite the character, bursting with inappropriate jokes and a confident, experienced persona. One evening we were all out for dinner and he challenged me to a drinking race. I’m reasonably confident in my abilities but also cautious of his extra 15 years of experience he had on me. So I listened to his terms.
The captain and the impersonator
There was just two attractions I booked before getting to Europe: Contiki and Sail Croatia. Sail Croatia is something I’ve wanted to do since first hearing about it from a Croatian friend back in 2011 while in California. Sail Croatia is basically a week long booze cruise through the Croatian islands with 36 like minded 18-27 year olds. It cost £470 and included breakfasts and lunches each day.
Our schedule for the seven days was roughly as follows:
8am-11am cruise (sleep in)
11am-3pm anchor up for a swim, lunch and above deck sleeping
3pm-11pm cruise into the harbor. Dock up. Briefly explore the new town before returning back to the ships bar and indulging in drinking games.
11pm till late the ships would fall under a noise curfew so we would venture out to local clubs and bars
The only actual activities I did that don’t fall into what I’ve already listed was a kayak, snorkel and a couple of walks to hilltop forts. It was an extremely chill week.
A well at a fort on top of a hill. One of the greatest things I've ever seen. Don't hike on a hangover
View from a fort. You can see our boat moored up
Check out this crazy storm we flew around!
So after contiki I had two nights to recover at Simon’s mum’s place outside of London. On Wednesday the 20th of August I went into London and teamed up with Krumm again to fly to Croatia. Also managing to squeeze in a catch up with Rosie, who I met in Chiang Mai.
As I said earlier, there’s never a quite night with Krumm. I think we were both hoping to stay in control to help recover fully from contiki before sail Croatia. However, surely enough we find ourselves stumbling home as the sun comes up.
Our trip lasted 18 days. I couldn’t of gone another hour. I think almost everybody else had crashed into the same wall. Or perhaps we had hit that wall two weeks ago. And had got up to crash into it on a daily basis for the rest of the tour. If you’re thinking about doing a similar tour. Do it. Just don’t go charging into anything much longer than 18 days.
The amount we saw, the memories we made and the parties we had couldn’t of been done without Contiki. It truly is an amazing tour company. Very professional and experienced. Everything ran to plan, barely falling 15 minutes behind schedule at any one time. We had a great crew and I know I’ve made some lifelong friends. Our tour guide, Cam, was especially amazing. A really great guy.
The final day was one full of transit. Much of the team opted to stay in Paris. The ones carrying on said our goodbyes and continued onto London. There we said our final goodbyes and it was over. A few more hours of trains later and Simon and I reached the safety of Simons parents place.
There I did close to nothing for two full nights and one full day. About 1/4 the recovery time I needed. We did get stuck into some good European based movies. It’s funny how movies become more interesting once you’ve visited the location the films based in.
Now it’s time for the next adventure: Croatia.
The Contiki group in Florence! I took a photo of a photo but I accidentally had my camera set to a large aperature so half the picture is blurry. woops!
I never expected to like Paris. I don’t think I could explain why. Just an expectation. Now if you ask; I’ll say I love Paris.
We had an interesting introduction to Paris. Our hostel was amongst a gypsy market. It was like nothing I had ever seen. Small hills of dirty used clothes, light bulbs that may or may not still have life, outdated inverters and straight up trash. There must of been thousands of Gypsy’s. Rushing around, driving for bargains. At the end of the market I would see street cleaners sweeping up much of what was previously for sale. Trash finally heading to where it belongs.
A street cleaner sweeping up left over Gypsy clothing.
We went out that night knowing all too well that the following day was to be one of our biggest sight seeing days followed by our final farewell bash. Not a time for a big night… Surely enough I find myself alone, drinking with some French people at 6.30am with no idea how to get home. Fortunately one of my new friends had internet, and maps out a walk home for me. I copy this down with several photos and by some miracle make it home for a solid hours sleep to make breakfast at 8am.
We´ve been sharing a room almost every night for over a month now. Still hugging.
Wow so Switzerland is stunning. I’ve traveled through much of New Zealand and seen some of the best mountain ranges the planet has to offer. Switzerland is something else. The mountains are seriously huge and alive with waterfalls. The contiki chateau we stayed at is nestled in a glacier formed valley surrounded by waterfalls.