Trieste, Italy, was a very elegant city, combining Italian, German, Latin, Austrian, Hungarian and Slavic cultures, but it was time to move on to Slovenia and Croatia.
We could not find an automatic car to rent in downtown Trieste and found automatic transmission vehicles were only available at the airport. We paid an astonishing $120 for a taxi from Trieste to Trieste Airport, which is 50 km away from Trieste, in Montflanquin, and then we just barely found a vehicle at a reasonable rate.
As if it wasn’t bad enough paying $120 to the airport, we had to pay $120 to return back to Trieste to take the train to Austria. When we arrived back at the airport several days later the buses that go into Trieste had finished for the day.
We had gotten lost so many times now in Europe that we’d lost track of exactly how many. Our GPS was great in France. We could never have managed without it. There are roundabouts every few kilometers. Ms. GPS would say, “Next roundabout, take 3rd exit”, and two minutes later, “Next roundabout, take first exit”, and three minutes later, “Next roundabout, take 2nd exit”. Constant twists and turns and exits. Then our GPS quit.
After searching and searching for a place to buy one, we bought another GPS in Aigues Mortes, France. The young friendly salesman assured us over and over that it had maps for all of Europe.
When we left the Trieste airport, guess what? No map of Italy or any other part of Europe – just France!
So since we were back to using the old-fashioned paper map, and I was the chief navigator, getting lost was not T’s fault – it was all mine.
That’s when we started getting lost. Somehow though – maybe 3 hours later – we would find our way again. Poor T just patiently kept driving and driving…
We were headed for the amazing Plitvice Falls in inland Croatia, but we had to drive through Slovenia first…
We were driving along… enjoying the scenery… watching the rain clouds… following the signs…
Then continuing inland to Croatia (we thought), but somehow, hours later, I said,
“Look, there is water over there… lots of water…. hmmm… there is no lake on the map… it looks like the ocean!”
And indeed it was the ocean!
We ended up on the coast of Slovenia in Koper!
Not only the opposite direction from Plitvice, Croatia, but in a different country! (see map below)
We were back in Slovenia.
We had taken the wrong highway, and gone South, instead of East.
Ironically, it turned out that it was a place we had wanted to see – the Istrian Peninsula – but didn’t think we’d have time the extra time needed to drive there. Wow, it was beautiful!
It was a gorgeous coastline, even when though it was a dark, rainy day. Can you imagine how stunning it would be on a sunny day?!
We turned around and continued on our way through Slovenia towards Croatia…
Slovenia’s magnificent vistas….
Prices had dropped to a quarter of what they were in France and Italy…
Then we saw water again! Oh no.
But checking the map, we had just crossed the Istrian Peninsula and we were finally on the coast of Croatia near Rijeka looking at the myriad of alluring islands nestled in the Adriatic Sea along the coast Croatia.
There were hillside towns and hilltop castles…
Despite the fact that it was often exasperating not knowing where you were, or if you would ever reach your destination, we thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the natural beauty of the Slovenian/Croatian coast.