As far as I can remember, I have always been a free soul. I excel in perfect freedom, get extremely frustrated within constraints and perform satisfactorily in situations in between. I confess, not being able to travel freely abroad, let alone in my own country during the lockdowns, didn’t sit with me well. During the lockdowns my stress level was solid high, and I even found a legit way to travel in Slovenia! Owning a travel agency helped me get around the country, but just the fact that I had to print those damn day passes to move from point A to point B felt restricting. Spending 10 days in obligatory quarantine to cross a border? Forget it, I’ve got better things in my life!
That’s why I was beyond thrilled when the border-crossing rules finally changed in late April, right for the 1st-May week when I would usually travel somewhere abroad. Instead of an obligatory quarantine, according to the updated rules one only had to present a negative rapid test traveling to Croatia and a negative PCR test returning back. I also had Italy on my plate, but Slovenia still required obligatory quarantine upon return. The choice was obvious. Waking up to a rainy and foggy morning for the fifth consecutive day I simply packed my bags, left the house and headed for Croatia!
Join us on a guided tour Soča Valley and the Alps
Having been brainwashed into fear of traveling or even leaving the house, as a matter of fact, for more than a year, I expected at least some complications on the border; however, everything went smoothly. I presented my ID, my dog’s passport and a rapid covid test for myself; they checked, wished me a safe trip and I was off! No questions asked. So instead of drowning in yet another storm that afternoon back home, warm sun welcomed me and my puppy Rubi as we explored empty trails of Lošinj and Cres, two little green islands in the northern Adriatic Sea.
My original plan was to stay only a few days, which soon extended into six days until I absolutely had to go back. One definitely wonders how complicated it would have been to get a PCR test just somewhere in Croatia, right? Before the trip I had googled this issue and made sure there were options. The most convenient one seemed to be in Mali Lošinj, the main town on the island, but as it turned out, they did PCR tests just 4 km away in the neighboring camp! All I had to do was to show up, pay 65 Eur and get tested, and the results came by email that evening. In case you’re wondering, the test was valid for two whole days afterwards, so I got to return on Monday evening even though I did the test on Saturday morning.
So you see folks, traveling abroad is not too hard after all. I realize that in some countries a person needs an extra pinch of inventiveness and courage to pass the border but in the end it’s still worth it. If you’re like me and you need to feel the freedom, I encourage you to study ways of traveling abroad from time to time. Wear a mask, sanitize your hands, don’t throw parties (inside), and act responsibly in all ways to prevent spreading the virus, but, seriously, live your life.
My vacation in Croatia? Best ever! With my two-decade-long exploration of the Lošinj Island and its closest neighbor Cres, I confess that it wasn’t the scenic beauty that appealed to me but its emptiness. Other than randomly meeting friends in the most unexpected places in the middle of the bush (right, Vita? 😂😎), the trails were completely empty and so were the cute little villages. I could truly relax, disconnect, and unwind without the usual “Guten Tag!” and “Ciao bella!”
Instead I hiked for hours every day among blooming yellow bushes, inhaling the beautiful fragrances of flowering sage and thyme, greeted only by shy deer, seagulls and harmless snakes (there are no poisonous snakes on the islands!). I climbed the highest mountain at 588 meters, and dipped my feet in the cold water on many remote beaches. I escaped big storms and lounged in the perfection of the late-evening sun casting glorious light onto the islands peeking out of the endless sea.
It was on this vacation that I discovered that I actually enjoy my own company, and it was here that I fell head-over-heels in love with Croatia’s islands again. They might not be as stunning as Slovenia’s hidden gems, but they’ve given me again the freedom that I’d yearned for so long now.
Here are some highlights – enjoy!
Do you have a favorite seaside escape, too? Can you relate to needing to escape across the border even if just for a few days? Have you been to Croatian islands? Please do share in the comments!
Stay tuned for more outdoor adventures! Join forty-five thousand Exploring Slovenia fans by liking us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you enjoyed this story, sign up for the monthly exploringslovenia.com/blog newsletter. A handful selection of stories from Hiking and Climbing in Slovenia, delivered to your inbox every month.
Looking for a gorgeous tour in the mountains? Exploring Slovenia offers guided hiking and climbing tours!