When Stupid Mistakes Become an Adventure

When is the adventures mostly to happen? When we travel. And there is even bigger chance when you think you are smart and got it all. I have a funny memory from my traveling in Croatia which comes from my stupid mistake.

Two years ago I decided to create my own eat.pray.love experience and wanted to combine dancing, eating and a yoga retreat in one trip to Croatia. It was my second time of doing salsa festival in Rovinj and this time I wanted to stay longer, enjoy the town and see more of the country.

So, I booked a flat in Rovinj for a solo stay and found a yoga retreat on the island of Hvar, near Split. Yoga retreat had been on my dream list for a while and I was happy to finally do it. I asked the retreat host about the best way to travel from Rovinj to Split and she recommended me the seaplane. Croatia is a very stretched country and bus to Split would take 12 hours. While the seaplane is only two hours – from Pula, where we usually fly from and to Oslo. Without further ado I bought a seaplane ticket for a reasonable price and didn’t do more thinking about it (my first stupid mistake).

On the departure day, Peter, the owner of the flat I was renting, drove me to the Pula airport. Peter is a Croatian who doesn’t speak English but speaks German. Every year we stay in his flat and every year we have to come by and drink the local liquor (slivovica or kruzhkovac), speaking the mix of Russian, Croatian and German. The Slavic connection, it is 🙂 Peter kindly proposed to drive me to Pula (50 minutes from Rovinj), I wanted to give him money for the gas, but he denied to take it (so I left it in the car). I know this kind of performance, Ukrainians do the same, and it is sweet to me because it feels like home 🙂

On our way to Pula the airline lady called me because they had changed the departure time twice, and the last change was just the day before. “Yes, I got your mail, and I am going to you now” – I comforted her (could have asked her if I am going in the right direction – second stupid mistake). At the airport the flight was not announced yet, one hour before departure, but I didn’t worry. Little airport, little company, local rules, I thought. Drinking my water, making plans of buying a magazine, total chillout…

Half an hour before departure – still no Split on the screen. I went to the information desk. “The Split plane left in the morning” – the information lady told me. Whaaat? But I have a ticket! At the same time the airline lady was calling again: “Where are you?” Me: “I am at the Pula airport. Where are YOU?” Lady: “Pula airport?? You bought a ticket for the SEAplane! You have 25 minutes, if not, I don’t know”. My chillout state immediately disappeared. I almost ran out, pushing my pink suitcase, and gave the phone to the first taxi driver, the lady still on the line. He said: “No problem. But you have to take the first taxi”.

All my cool traveler image (with the pink suitcase), all my nice plans – gone. Close to tears, I was considering my options. If the plane leaves without me, what do I do? Going back to Rovinj? Calling Peter? Seaplane, what the f*k is seaplane?? And when the driver asked politely in Croatian “Where do you go?”, meaning maybe “where do you travel?”, I thought, he didn’t know where we were going. Neither did I! A hysterical moment.

I arrived 5 minutes before departure. Jumped out of the car, they grabbed my luggage, weighed it and threw it into the plane, threw me into the plane – like James Bond)) I got a card to read about security – and off we went. No security control, no cabin service, only a tiny plane with 10 seats and an open door to the pilots. I waved to other passengers with a guilty smile: “Hello, guys! I am the girl who was waiting for the seaplane in the regular airport” (such a Bridget Jones moment).

So, what is the seaplane? It is the plane that takes off from the sea – and lands on it too. Actually, a very smart way to travel with, as it goes from the city center to the city center, no transfer needed. It can also land on the ground, as it did in Split (and they fixed the transfer car for us. Good that I hadn’t ordered a transfer from my hostel, thinking I would arrive with a usual plane).

our plane after landing in Split

The names says “seaplane” and the booking page had a small image of it, flying over the water – but I didn’t connect the dots and didn’t think that it can start some other place than the airport! The ticket looked slightly different too – but who cares! These are the dangers of presupposed smartness, you see. You think that you know it all, such an experienced traveler you are. When the mistake is just around the corner, laughing at you.

So I was lucky that time. And as they say, the things gone wrong make the best memories. This is one of my favorite stories from Croatia, definitely. And I also learnt that double-checking (dates, locations, tickets) doesn’t hurt. A bit neurotic, but better safe than sorry 🙂

Have you experienced adventures with transport while traveling? What is your favorite one?

P. S. Did I make you feel stressed? Relax then with these nice views of Croatia 🙂 The seaplane flies lower than the usual plane, giving you the chance to admire the beauty of the coast and all shades of blue.

22 thoughts on “When Stupid Mistakes Become an Adventure

  1. Oh what a frantic morning it must have been for you! Glad that you made it, the views are absolutely stunning. I had a similar experience a few months ago. I was flying to Greece from Berlin early morning, and I had to get on a night bus from Lodz to Berlin the night before. I drove to the station here in Lodz, and I had to take a different route due to construction. The newly built massive bus station was in my sights but I couldn’t find the entrance to its underground parking! I was driving in circles trying to find the entrance to the parking but with no luck. Everywhere around were only paid parking as it’s in the city center, so I didn’t know what to do! It was hysterical. It was already 22:35 when I was in my car still trying to find parking, and the bus was supposed to leave at 22:35. By purely a stroke of luck, I turned right on one street and found lots of free parking. I rushed to the station after parking almost sure that the bus had left already, and that I wouldn’t be able to drive to Berlin airport that night in my old and unreliable car, and that my planned 7 days in Greece were up in smokes, but by another stroke of luck, the bus was still there! I shivered for about half an hour even after I got in the bus. I usually plan and organize my travels well and am a experienced traveler, but to face something like that in my own city – it was ridiculous! It was great that I could finally catch the bus to Berlin and fly to Greece the next morning. So I feel you, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your story! When the chain reaction is involved, that makes it even more stressful. Berlin, Greece, and no, a sudden challenge of driving all the way to Berlin! Why not Greece then? 😆😆
      Oh, and when the bus is late just in the right moment – such a blessing! Usually I am not of fond of lateness – but imagine if it saves someone like you right now 😃😃

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  2. I’m super paranoid about getting to the right place so I double-check everything. But my friend Laura once came to visit me in Poland and is apparently unable to travel efficiently if she is not actually driving somewhere… she booked a bus for 4.30 am but thought it was at 4.30 pm (we don’t do 24-hour time in the US)… I’m honestly surprised she didn’t die here in Central Europe!

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  3. We all do, degrees vary. I have been lucky most of time. At one such moment, I almost missed the train. Luckily, the train was five minutes late.
    Since you love yoga, you must visit India.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely aerial shots and an entertaining story! 🙂 I’m a double-checking type of traveler… can’t remember any big mistakes/adventures right now actually! Well, in Berlin we casually hopped on a local bus and it went somewhere completely different than we thought so we got off at some point (neither of us speak German) and just wondered around an empty road with trees… it was a hot day and we were quite thirsty and not in the mood for being lost (is there a good moment for that?) but we somehow found our way back onto the map!

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  5. I’m so glad you caught the seaplane since these are great shots and story. This is something I’d be thinking too: to head to the airport. I have never heard of anybody taking such a plane in Croatia, especially at a reasonable price. Great stuff! I’d think such a plane needs calm waters of a lagoon in order to take off or land.

    Quickly thinking back, I can only recall the time when I missed the bus with the Slovenian students, who I was accompanying as a journalist, for a day trip. I had their schedule and knew their next destination was the country’s second highest mountain. Luckily the country was Denmark and I was able to hitchhike there, since the ‘mountain’ was just a place where the road went a bit more up than usual. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • The seaplane is a great way to travel around Croatia, and I had seen it landing several times in Split and on Hvar. It looks kinda popular there. Well, the price was ok since I am used to Norwegian prices, hehe. It was like 1.000 kunas, and for 2-hours flight it seemed ok. I guess, for locals it can be expensive.

      Oh haha, the hiking to mountains is easy when you are in Denmark :))) Norwegians always joke about its flatness. So great that you didn’t panic and found a solution!

      Liked by 1 person

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