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trish & pat’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 14 Oct 2007

Location: Split & Hvar, Croatia

MapOur adventure out of the EU and into Croatia has been very interesting. We left Italy and had to travel for 10-15 minutes through Slovenia to get to the Croatian border. That 10 minutes in Slovenia nearly earnt us a 400 fine and deportation!

We handed over our passports the young enthusiastic border official who proceeded to examine every page looking for our date of entry into the EU. As he couldn't find any (typical slack customs at Rome), he then asks us when we entered the EU. We proudly replied the 8 May this year - oops, wrong answer! Once he recovered and composed himself he said, "What?????" We then gave him the same answer (wrong again!). He then asked us for our tourist visa. We of course tell him that we are Australian and we don't need one! (oops wrong answer again). This conversation continued for a short time with Trish getting a bit testy with him (oops, not a good move). He says, 'Don't you think I know my job, pull out of the line and park".

To cut a long story short, about half an hour later, gagging Trish, producing my freddie and profusely apologising, he stamped the passports and allowed us to leave without a fine (we suspect he may have been looking for a backhander, until freddie appeared!). We left good friends and he assured us that Slovenia was a wonderful country to visit with a few suggestions. We have since checked and discovered that Aussies don't need a visa, however, the maximum stay in the EU is 90 days with no provision to obtain a tourist visa to extend the visit. Oops, it appears we have been illegal immigrants for the last 2 months.

We are now enjoying Croatia - we spent a few days in Split which is situated on the coast just north of Dubrovnik and is surrounded by hundreds of islands. We had some fabulous meals here and found the locals generally helpful and friendly.

We have spent the last few days on the island of Hvar which is fantastic and reminds us very much of the Greek Islands. Of course it is now out of season so there are few tourists (except for a lot of Aussies). The apartment we have found is great with a huge terrace overlooking the sea and islands and only $60 per night - what a bargain. As an added bonus it has been sunny and about 22c - You can tell the summer is over now as the nights are cool. The water is crystal clear and probably the cleanest we have ever seen in our travels, so it would be magnificent in summer.

We are now planning to go Nth to Plitvice National Park which is meant to be great and then back into Slovenia (that's if they will let us back in the EU). We may need to retire in Croatia - bugger!