A belated travel video. Alhamdulillah, my housemates and I went on our summer trip to Croatia from 23 May – 30 May 2013, and to Malta from 31 May – 04 June 2013. I had very little hand in the choice of destination — when they first brought up Croatia, I was like… “What’s in Croatia?” and when they mentioned Malta I was like… “Where is Malta? ”.
Almaz only had to show the Google Images result for Croatia and I was sold. The highlight was of course Plitvice Lakes National Park — the vastness and sheer number of waterfalls there, the amazing blue-green-ness of the lakes, the absolute beauty of nature was unlike anything we’ve seen before. Personally, I found Croatia refreshing because it is a relatively young country and is quite ‘untouched’ in terms of urban development. Indeed, the area where we stayed for the first few days, Grabovac, reminded us greatly of Malaysian kampungs, except for the super-cool, crisp air. (Malaysia’s always hot, unless you’re in the highlands.)
Another highlight of the Croatian trip was our all-day cycling adventure. You must keep in mind that I do not cycle, and overall physical fitness is not my forte. The last time I was on a bicycle was when I first learned how to ride one, which would be like… an entire decade ago. Needless to say, I was mega nervous when we were told that, to go these caves that were one of the visitor’s attractions, there were few options other than renting bicycles and heading there ourselves. I didn’t even know whether I could still ride a bike! The extent to which I used to ride on the road was to go to my fardhu ain classes two streets away from home, and only because I was too lazy to walk. All the alternatives ran through my mind — do I stay back at the apartment? No way, I want to go. I’ll regret it forever.
The reason for the lack of transportation was mainly because it was not peak tourist season yet, and also because they don’t really do buses or taxis very much in the area.
So we did it. And it was tough and there were tears involved and there were so many times that I had to get off the bike and push it up the hill, but it was also one of the best and proudest experiences of my life: worthy of a Life Event post on Facebook.
The feeling of speeding down a hill, not needing to pedal, simply enjoying the wide view of the countryside with the wind in your hijab is just… indescribable yo. I totally wish I had a GoPro camera.
And luckily I had no other trouble riding a bike once Rje gave me a crash-course on what the gears are for and how to use them. My issues were just fear, stamina and willpower, I think. I was fortunate to get a ladies’ bike — the other bikes looked so much more uncomfortable with that bar right across your you-know-what.
We also stayed in apartments which meant we could cook our meals, which is why I’ve included food videos in the compilation. Overall, I think Croatia was different because most of our previous travels have been to the major cities, rich with history and architecture and … just the typical European thing, you know? Croatia was more raw and natural and we managed to experience it with all our being rather than only observed or visited.
We had a day in London before heading to Malta — which would be another entry and video, inshaAllah. I also thought of writing a sort-of ‘travel tips’ entry in case they might be helpful (especially for other UK-students-travelling-around-Europe). Soonish.