Travelers: pay attention

It takes energy to travel!

There are reservations to make, questions to ask, lots to learn in different environments, and names of items you must know.

Then you have luggage to pack and re-pack, and drag and lift, and there are items to keep track of (camera, bill fold, tickets, reservation papers, passport, computer, keys, etc.). You have to manage your money – keep track of the U.S. dollar vs. the currency of the country, and pay the correct amount wherever you are.

You must know what neighborhoods are okay to walk through, and how to find the stores that sell what you need; food, drinks, toiletries, clothing and other items when the need arrises.

A traveler must use practiced judgement on who to trust and who to walk away from when asking for directions and other important questions that come up daily.

it’s important to know where the wifi stations are, and the tourist office of information, the best money exchange office, and best place to eat on the dime.

Okay that all seems workable, and it is, with a strong attention to detail, but that’s not all; everywhere I have landed in hostels, hotels, guesthouses, B&B’s, couch surfing, the bathroom facilities take a certain amount of know-how. Shower faucets can be most difficult, in some instances.

There have been times that I ended up in an ice cold shower, because I couldn’t understand the faucet system, and other times, I could run a bathtub of water but not turn on the shower.

Most people are generous with their help but once in awhile someone is too tired to answer the question, or just don’t care about it and that attitude comes across loudly.

This morning, for instance.

But, first let me tell you about last night and then I’ll come back to today.

I walked a different way than the usual trail through the market stalls, and found a shopping center with a spacious walking mall. The sidewalks there, and most places you walk on in Split, are made of a shiny white stone. I would think it is marble, but I’m not certain, because the stones are well worn. Anyway, I ended up at the end of the walk way into a wide courtyard with tall pink-stoned and pink painted buildings on either side.

The view from several restaurants and pubs from the courtyard, is picture-perfect.  I took in a lavender sky and deep blue sea with yachts, ferry’s and sailboats that seemed to be floating on top of the water.

I sat down at an outdoor restaurant and observed a wedding party-the bride in white and others in pastel walking away into the lavender sunset.

It was comfortably warm with a soft breeze. I sat down at an open-air restaurant, opened the menu and realized I was out of my financial comfort zone. I ordered a meal of grilled fish and spinach with potatoes and garlic. Before that, I told the waiter that I heard about local olive oil and asked if they had some.

“Yes, yes, I’ll bring you some with bread for dipping.”

It was indeed delicious. I have a German friend that told me a friend of hers took some Croation olive oil back to her from Split and she said it was so good she almost could drink it. She was right.

The home-style baked bread was great, too.

So back to this morning: I didn’t want to make the same delicious mistake that I did the night before, and find breakfast/brunch in a tourist-destination pricey place.  It is Sunday and many stores and restaurants are closed, but I walked into a store to get sun-tan lotion and asked the clerk for a good restaurant, to which she barely replied, but pointed to the direction where I had dinner last night.

“Oh, that’s a bit expensive there.”

“Ma’am, everything here is expensive.”

“Do you know of a place where the locals go?”

“Yes, I’ll tell you how to get there.” So she walked out the door with me and told me how to find a buffet. I did find it and ordered from an extensive menu, eggs, grilled red bell peppers and squash, bread and, oh, yes, olive oil.

It was delicious, and I will go back there again.

It was here that I began to feel a bit dizzy, but recovered with three glasses of water. Dehydration should be one of the items I listed above that a traveler must pay attention to.

I went back to the store and thanked the young woman for her good recommendation. Her attitude changed instantly.

“Oh, I’m so happy you liked it, and thank you for telling me that.”

I drank four more glasses of water and juice before I got back to the hostel.

On the way, where I stopped for a drink,  I met a most interesting ninety-three year old man who claimed, when he heard I was from America, that he had been a spy for the Russian KGB. More about him on the next post.

2 Responses to Travelers: pay attention

  1. Laureen….your mention of all the things you need to know……remembering to drink water……I,then am wondering about rest rooms or lavatories in different countries……..are they very different ?

    • Paula: not too different, but the names can be different. So far every restroom I’ve seen has been marked with a woman in a dress and a man in pants. Even in Scotland where men wear kilts..ha.

      The only difference I see in some restrooms is the cleanliness; but don’t think that has anything to do with the country, more the management of the building. One thing I’ve notice though, are the hand dryers. I have yet to find one that will dry your hands. There are some I’ve seen that do a pretty fair job. Times have changed from the first big trip I took to Europe in 1972. More attention is paid to the tourist business.

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