|Hostel||Hostel Cristal Roche||Booking.com||Rijeka||$150.00||
Very convenient location. Room is large and nicely decorated.
This should not be called a hostel. There is no common room and the kitchen is completely inadequate. It is not plumbed. There is a stovetop and small fridge, but no water. Water and dish washing would happen in the bathroom, although we basically didn't use it. The kitchen is tiny, cluttered and full of dirty ashtrays.
The listing said WiFi in all areas but there was no WiFi while we were there.
The bed was unmade and linens provided didn't seem to fit the bed properly. The room wasn't particularly clean - there were papers on the floor and someone's pants and underwear in the bathroom cupboard.
The proprietor doesn't seem to have read the "special requests" where I indicated that we would need space for two bicycles. She was completely surprised by that and refused to let us bring them into the building -instructing us to lock them up on the street. I'm not saying that the property is obliged to provide space for bicycles, but if she'd sent me a message to let me know there was none available, it would have saved a lot of hassles for us all.
|Besides being the first day of not riding today, there is also going to be another big change today. I can no longer eat and drink with wild abandon. Unless, of course, I give Brent the nickname "Wild Abandon", and then I could continue to eat and drink with "Wild Abandon". I have taken off most of my "Edmonton Weight" on this trip, and I don't want to just pack it all back on by continuing to eat as if I'm burning thousands of calories every day. Brent packed on a bunch of weight after his cross-Canada trip by doing that. I packed on a bunch of weight after Australia by doing that. I'm determined to keep that "Edmonton Weight" off now that I've finally taken it off. I have a weight/diet management "plan" that I'm going to follow for the next month, and I have an even stricter plan that I'll follow when we get back to Canada.|
|Today was largely spent researching how to ship Brent's bike home, and shipping a big obnoxious box of gear home. Since Hrvatska Posta was so easy and reasonable for shipping, we shipped one big box of stuff today using a cardboard box that Brent scored in the alley. The box weight upwards of 25kg and took both of us to carry it from our accommodation to the post office. At the post office, you take a tickie which tells you your number in the queue. The young lady we talked to yesterday was there again today and I hoped we'd get her since she spoke good English, but it was not to be. When our number came up, we were at the wicket next to her, with a lady who spoke no English. She relied heavily on her colleague for help, and in the end, the experience was mostly not painful for all of us... except maybe for the Posta lady when she had to lift that damned box.|
I decided a few weeks ago that I would probably leave Dewey behind at the end of this trip. He's getting old and he needs a lot of maintenance to get back to good shape. That, plus the cost of shipping him home made me think that it made more sense to leave him here and buy a new bike when we get home. I think I'm mostly ok with it turning out that way.
Brent, on the other hand, was pretty determined to take The Tank home if he could. Hrvatska Posta would charge about $100-$120 to ship the bike, so that wasn't prohibitive. The main issue was finding a box to pack it in.
We set off first thing this morning to the bicycle store in downtown Rijeka, but the lady there advised that they had no empty boxes - it's the end of the season and they're not bringing new bikes in right now. She suggested that we try calling back tomorrow or the next day.
We knew that there was a large sporting store in the Tower Centre on the southeast end of Rijeka, about 2.5km from where we're staying. Brent didn't want to just give up on The Tank, so off we went to Intersport in the howling wind.
I decided that following the signs pointing to Tower Centre was a good want to get there, so off we went, even though Brent thought we were following driving signs and we'd end up going through "the tunnel". I didn't know what the tunnel was, and he didn't elaborate. The tunnel was the long, evil scary Rijeka highway tunnel that goes for at least a couple of kilometers on the outskirts of town. We gritted our teeth and walked, with a purpose. The tunnel does have a sidewalk through its length. There was an exit for Tower Centre about 1.5km down the tunnel, so we managed to get out, unscathed (although I probably have a new grey hair from it).
When we got to Tower Centre, Brent suggested that we eat lunch before going to the store so that if they had a box, we could take it straight away without having to worry about hauling it around through lunch. So, we had a nice lunch at the food court on the 5th floor with a fabulous view of the harbour and the nearby islands.
After lunch we went to Intersport and Brent beelined for the bicycle section. Approaching the counter, he could see that they had boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes. That was when he had a decision to make. With the final obstacle removed, it was down to him to decide - take The Tank home, or leave him behind. After some weeping and moaning and gnashing of teeth, he decided to leave him behind.
We had stopped by Hostel Rijeka this morning to see if they had a "free stuff" area where we could leave our sleeping bags. Brent had mentioned that he "might" have a bicycle to leave as well. The guy invited us to leave our stuff and was particularly excited about the bicycle, so tomorrow morning, we'll take the sleeping bags, The Tank, and some miscellaneous supplies and gear off to the hostel in hopes that someone will be able to get some good use out of them.
From Brent: Rhonda and I backtracked from the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia to the main port city of Rijeka where we spent a couple of days, packed up most of our gear and mailed it home then gave away our bicycles. It was sad to see them go but there was too much hassle and expense involved in sending them home.
All we have with us now fits into our 2 day-packs. It's an exercise in basic living.
From Rijeka we bussed down the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and, wow, it is rugged and pretty in a desolate kind of way. Rocks and scrub and steep cliffs plunging to the sea and evidence that people had once farmed the steep slopes (and a few still do). The rocks here are very soft and you can see how they seem to be melting from the rain, rather like giant sugar cubes that have had water poured on them.
The scary evil tunnel.
This was during a brief moment of no traffic. It was scary and evil. Really.
The great big box.
We shipped about 25kg of gear home in that sucker.