Departure day…26.Dec

So I got up on the 26th, planning to take the bus to the station and hop on…Unfortunately after hanging out at the bus station for 20 minutes I realized the bus wasn’t running that day (or that morning) (expletive!). Walked to the bus station and arrive about 2 minutes after my planned train leaves (expletive!).
Go to the ticket counter for assistance, and she seems to give it to me. I pay her 28€ –  which is about half of what the website showed. Cheers lady! You’ve been very helpful (take back on expletive!).

hang out for half an hour and catch the next train.
Text Berger to tell him I missed the train and we can either meet in Mestre (original plan) or just go to Trieste. He’s on time so will decide later.

About 6 hours later I get my ticket checked…dude informs me that I am not holding a ticket, but just a timetable (double expletive!). Telling me that I only have to pay for the ticket and no fine (“no fine. It’s Christmas. See, I am nice man”)…so I shell out another 18€ for what was the remainder of the trip.

Finally arrive in the evening and meet Berger in Trieste…It’s really cold.
He immediately informs me that he screwed up and our plan to leave in the morning to Zagreb is no longer valid. There is only a night train (more expletives!) and it arrives at 4:20 in the morning…(do’h)…so here’s lesson number 1…the timetables shown on the train websites are not always accurate.

We just hang out around the Trieste train station as we have about 4 hours to kill….it’s about 7pm. We go to a pub near the station and after sitting there for about 15 minutes we hear a loud noise and think nothing of it…about 2 minutes after that some dude staggers to the toilet with blood running down his face. Apparently he had just taken a bottle to the head…it’s 7:30pm and even though we’re still in Italy it’s starting to feel like eastern europe. Great! This is just the thing we’ve been warned about by friends for the last few days (Pete: “Keep a low profile” and “don’t step on any land mines”). There are only 6 people in the pub. Berger comes up with the genius idea that if we run into trouble we should just knife fight each other to distract whoever is giving us problems.

We eventually catch the night train and arrive on time…Step off the train and realize I haven’t felt cold like this in a very long time. I just started shaking after being outside for 10 seconds. The train station isn’t really open yet, but we can go in and there’s one room that’s semi-heated.
Stuff opens up at 5am so we didn’t have to wait long to get something to eat and drink. Our host is going to pick us up at about 8. We chill in the station and long for some sleep…

Andy picks us up on time and takes us home. Have some tea. Meet Poppy (his father in law) and then lay down for about a 4 hour nap.
Wake up with a headache and we all decide to catch a bus and go to the top of a mountain. Bus drivers in Croation are a bit crazy. Especially when driving up a snow covered mountain…but I guess he knew his chicken cuz we made it.
Walk around…take pics, have some gluhwein…then end up in the ski club restaurant…Andy knows the owner so he ends up sitting at our table for a few hours…When he finds out we’re going to Budapest he says (with thick Croation accent) “In Budapest anything is possible…heheheh…..ANYTHING…hehhehheh”. I assume he’s not talking about getting stabbed on the street…

We made friends with the staff…got lots of free food and drinks and then at the end we’re late for the bus and have to run to catch it…ummmmmm….never make the cripple run. My legs were sore for about 3 days after this. I would be creaking like an old man for the rest of the trip 😉
My favourite part of the run is when Berger decided to take a shortcut and run through the woods…I just saw some dark figure in the woods…wasn’t sure who it was until later.

After all that we went to meet Barbara (andy’s missus) at an Irish pub and then some late night food…was quite an eventful 24 hours.

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