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).
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.