The Taxi driver pulled up outside the house that had booked, there were no lights on, not a whisper of movement could be seen. He waited… expecting a flurry of movement when the alarm rose his early morning fare. Settling in for a while, he enjoyed a respite from the drunken masses demanding pizza and showing off in front of the loose women they had caught that night. Usually he would have been dropping people off at 4am in this deserted street, not picking them up.
A sharp rap on the window shocked him from his stupor. It must have looked like I appeared out of nowhere. I hadn’t come from the house he was watching lackadaisically, I was sleeping in the van behind him. I had parked up at a friends house a mile or so from the airport so my taxi ride was as cheap as possible. It was a bit strange ordering a taxi to a house that wasn’t being used, but it was totally worth it for the look on the drivers face at my sudden appearance!
The driver shot off, enjoying the racetrack roads, devoid of traffic and police to slow him down. He quite happily told me about his night, I think he enjoyed some intelligent conversation at 4am, although the topic was a little worrying. It seems Birmingham taxi drivers are used as drugs and prostitute couriers, as long as they don’t have to touch them. They aren’t daft and let the goods sit on the passenger seat until they are collected, so as to avoid finger prints, he proudly told me. I was happy to be ejected at the airport, in plenty of time for the flight.
Still way before an acceptable time to be awake, I got through check in, security and found my gate like a sleepy zombie. In my $%&£?@%~#ing small plane seat I fell immediately back to sleep after take off. My head at a blood restricting angle to my body for the duration of the flight.
Landing in Croatia 2 hours later, my brain slowly oozed back to life. The bright sunlight shocked me into believing I had gotten on the wrong flight. I was surely in Spain? The houses and roads and landscape and sun were all Spanish, except I couldn’t understand the language. Sort of bordering the Mediterranean sea I surmised that all countries on this sea must look the same. How inconvenient they all have different languages!
I nearly didn’t find my hostel. I was told that up some stairs on the 11th street inside the walled city, I would find a green door with a lion knocker and an angel above it. This I found, apart from the angel, so strode confidently into the front room of a chap re-potting his plants. This was not Jeff, my host, and I’m sure whatever words he used were to the effect of “get out”. I wandered around the arms width alleys for a bit longer till I did finally find my hostel. Basic, but all I really needed, I dumped bags and walked up to Buttons villa.
Dubrovnik is a walled city of spectacular magnitude. The huge protecting armaments surround the old town on the natural rocky outcrops making for steep streets. It was a mountaineers challenge to make good time out of the man made chasms back to the modern city that surrounds it. Buttons villa for the week was a short way outside the walls. A magnificent view, reward for climbing the never ending steps, was complimented by a cool blue pool and tortoises roaming the flowerbeds.
There was no real plan for the day other than to arrive. Some cool beer in the fridges helped conversation flow between parties that hadn’t for-to met. We wallowed and played in the pool for the rest of the day till people got hungry. As my hostel was back in the old town I went ahead to get ready of dinner. We found the fish restaurant that Button had been to last time he was here. I ordered a huge bucket of grilled shrimp and was in absolute murderous heaven, pulling the succulent beasts apart with my fingers and making a gloriously juicy mess.