I was disappointed to miss Trogir the last time I visited Croatia. Less than an hour by car from its much bigger neighbor Split, this tiny stari grad-on-an-island can often get bypassed. I was looking forward to my visit and had booked what looked like a great deal on TripAdvisor: a room with a private bath and kitchenette just over the bridge from the old town on the mainland. Three nights for a good price. Perfect.
[Side note: every time I entered “Trog-” in an online search, I would automatically want to complete the word with “-dor.” And then I would get the Trogdor song stuck in my head for the next hour. Which doesn’t even make sense: Trogir is a town in Croatia, while Trogdor is… the Burninator. No embedded YouTube link available at this time: you’ll have to look it up if it sounds intriguing to you. Thanks, Chinese internet censors!].
I could write a very long-winded and detailed rant about the accommodation disaster that followed, but I will try to sum up briefly. The apartment was NOT in the location shown on the map in the TripAdisor ad, but instead in a different town on a hill that cost $18 in a cab to reach from the old town. ($36 round trip just to see the actual town you came to visit is not a deal!) When I arrived and remarked to the owner that although the place was beautiful, it was not in the advertised location, she became incredibly defensive, nasty, and unwilling to have any type of discussion about it with me, concluding with the sentence, “If you don’t like it, fine. I will call the taxi back, and you can go find someplace else to stay.” So I did. I refuse to deal with someone who is so unprofessional. Minutes later, I was walking with my backpack back down a winding hill to the shore and finally found a water taxi that could take me more cheaply to the old town. Within 24 hours, I found that my full payment had gone through as scheduled, and I am still embroiled in a back-and-forth with TripAdvisor that I have a strong suspicion is going to get me absolutely nowhere. Updates to follow.
Back in the old town, I was furious but very nervous. I had just walked out of my place to stay for the night, and this was high season. I worried that there might not be any rooms left. I walked into a travel agency to ask to use their wifi; when I explained my situation, the staff there bent over backwards to help me. Between their contacts and my search on booking.com, I was able to find something in the middle of the old town for three nights. And it couldn’t have been a nicer place. The owner took me in, sat me down at her kitchen table, and fed me watermelon and sandwiches as she listened to the day’s events in disbelief. Then she showed me to my room:
Every cloud has a silver lining: my new room was perfect!
Once settled in, I was finally able to enjoy my stay in the town. I spent the mornings getting groceries at the market and writing on my iPad over coffee at the bar around the corner (which liked to play techno music at all hours, but who’s complaining?) In the afternoons, I would slather on the sunscreen and head over to the pebbled beach of Okrug Gornji, skipping the lounge chair fee in favor of spreading out my towel for free directly on the stones in a less crowded area. The only rain that I felt for the entire month of August in the Balkans fell in sporadic droplets from a sunny sky my second afternoon in Okrug Gornji; it was followed by a rainbow that made for some amazing photos.
Back in town, I climbed the rickety steps of the belltower of the cathedral of Sv. Lovro – not for the faint of heart, folks!- to get a fantastic panoramic view of the town and the surrounding coastline.
In the evenings, I would wander around the Old Town, checking out the ridiculously posh yachts that had docked along the banks for the night. There were street musicians (including a house band that played an almost unrecognizable cover of “Me and Bobby McGee in a thick Croatian accent. Janis Joplin was turning in her grave that night), street performers (a puppeteer whose puppet reminded me of Franklin from Arrested Development) and vendors selling everything from necklaces to roasted corn. The smell of the corn was so enticing that it actually persuaded me to ditch my restaurant plans and just continue wandering, corn dinner in hand, for the rest of the night.
A mini donut’s what? Call the grammar police!
Lodging fiasco aside, Trogir was a beautiful, albeit crowded, place to visit. When I calculated how long it would take to get to my next stop, Kotor in Montenegro, by bus, my total time did not sound like it would make for a very fun day. Why not break up the trip by making another stop on the way? Time to head to Dubrovnik.