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There are actually a couple of direct flights to Croatia from Dublin.  Aer Lingus has regular service to Dubrovnik in the very south and Ryan Air flies to Zadar in the middle of the country.   After doing research I found another flight on Aer Lingus into Pula in Istria, in the north of the country, which is what we took to get here.  We’ll eventually fly back to Dublin on the Dubrovnik flight in a tad under 3 weeks.  The Pula flight turns out to be seasonal – 3 times a week beginning May 19th, so we are on one of the first of these flights this year.

The only downside to this flight is that it arrives at 10:20pm.  Well, that and the fact that within Europe, Aer Lingus operates as a budget airline, so the cup of tea and glass (not bottle) of water we got on the plane when asked “what would you like to drink” were not in fact free, but cost Eu3.  Not going to break the bank, but none the less a bit of surprise, especially as the glass of water was charged for at 0.60 cent.  Really, Aer Lingus can’t give you a free glass of water?  Luckily I did not see a coin meter on the bathroom door.

So why is 10:20pm a problem time to arrive? First off the car rental counter for Sixt, where we had reserved, closes at 9pm.  Luckily I noticed that when I booked and contacted them.   For Eu32.50 more we were able to have someone stay late to meet us.  When we went to get our car, there was another couple in front of us, who seemingly had also paid the same fee.  Hmmm, sounds like a bit of a racket to me.

The other problem is that check in to our hotel was supposed to be before 9pm.  Again, I had emailed them and they told me that it was no problem.  Someone would meet us and show us where to park.  Except that when we arrived at our hotel, there was no one there, but there was an envelope with my name on it that contained our room key. Later we were told they have a new person on late duty and that they had misunderstood their directions.  The challenge here was parking in a country at night when you don’t know the regulations.  The spot outside the hotel had blue stripes around it and consulting people in a local bar yielded opinions that the car was fine until 10am tomorrow or maybe only 7am tomorrow.  Deciding I didn’t want one of my first experiences in Croatia to be that of getting a parking ticket, I set my alarm for 6:30am.

Meantime we found our room, and noticed something on the pillow, as you can see from the photo.  At first glance, this looked like the mess a small dog might leave on the carpet to let their owner know they weren’t too happy.  Which was quickly followed by the following thoughts – how did the dog get into and out of our room?  Why did it do this on BOTH our pillows? and what sicko came in and wrapped their poo in plastic?

Instead this turned out to be some chocolate covered, banana flavored marshmallow sweet.  My brother Andrew, ever the punster, opined later that this might be a Croatian specialty, named after the city along the coast, i.e. Banana Split!

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