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Online Journal: Novalja Day 1

My alarm rang at 4:25 with Florence + The Machine belting “Cosmic Love”, but it was pointless as I had been restless in bed for over two hours.  I shuffled from my deadly top bunk hovering above Dan and begrudgingly gripped my contact case before trudging to the bathroom in an fatigue not known the entirety of the trip.  We were ready by 4:45 and waiting outside was the promised taxi and driver ordered for us by Jani the previous day.  We arrived at the train station a little before 5 am and prepared ourselves for the chilly wait for our iron horse.  It rolled in around 5:13 and we boarded ticketless after Jani promised we could buy tickets on board using our credit cards…as luck would have it the train only accepted cash and we became pale, wondering what was to be done.  The ticket to the next stop, the Slovenian capital Lijublijana, cost €6.50.  Dan had a €10 and Teddy had €5…not enough for the three of us.  A woman came to my rescue, offering the €3 I needed combined with Dan’s €3.50 change.  Teddy accosted a group of drunk guys, but they were no help, however, some nearby teens heard his plea and offered him €2.  We were safely aboard the 5:15 train.  We had about 20 minutes in Lijublijana before our transfer departed.  We hustled into the station and used our cards to buy tickets for Rijeka, our next stop.  It was nice having the stress-free, 3 hour ride to Rijeka.  On Rijeka, we searched for the ferry which would embark for Novalja at 3pm.  We found it, but the ticket office opened at 11 and it was still but 10am.  The day seemed to have no foreseeable end as we had already been awake for 6 hours or more.  We took residence at a cafe near the port.  One of the moments of the trip was Dan ordering “orange juice”.  Our server replied, “Orjuscka?”  Thinking this the Croatian word for orange juice, the ladder replied, “He’ll yeah!”  The waitress brought Dan Orjuscka…but turns out its not orange juice but a local Croatian beer.  So as we munched on our ham and eggs, Dan sipped a beer at 10 in the morning.  We wasted away time waiting for the ferry and it seemed an eternity when 3 finally arrived.  We hopped aboard and sailed the 2.5 hours to Novalja.  Novalja–an island resting just off mainland Croatia–greeted us with sunny skies and hopes of relaxation. We took up residence at the affable and awesomely named Big Yellow House.  The proprietor was named Sean and he right away came off as a reered host.  After setting up camp, we set off down a road seeking the bus station and a gas station (the only place besides a few bars open to sell us beers).  We walked for quite a while, and finally saw the gas station.  We misread the map, however, and walked about a half mile by trying to find the elusive bus station…which in reality rested across the street from our gas station.  The bus station was closed, so we settled for beers at this juncture–including 4 liters of Dan’s favorite brew, Orjuscka–and returned to the Big Yellow House.  We feasted on a jumbo pizza a bit later.  Sunday is a slow day, so we settle for drinking and playing cards for the beginning of the night on or balcony as the sunset loomed over the ocean in a dazzling display.  We encountered a trial when Teddy and Dan combined for a beer spillage on the balcony.  We moved our game to the Big Yellow House bar, but instead recruited Sean and his underling Rynotto to play some Texas Hold’em.   During the game, we drained some of the 12 liters of beer we had bought at the gas station.  Even more of note, Sean’s dog Bobo (born on the 4th of July) took advantage of Dan’s arm….he humped it.  The night began to wear on us three Bross boys and as soon as our chips disappeared into the amiable Croatian (Rynotto) and Israelite’s (Sean) hands we headed off for bed.

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