A Travellerspoint blog

Savvy Travels- Diocletian's Palace

Savannah's educational videos Ep. 1

Savannah takes us on a tour of Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia. This is her first in a series of educational videos that will explore different parts of Europe.

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Posted by tatehomberg 11:31 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Are they going to let us in?


BLOG ENTRY #2 - Are they going to let us in?

Wednesday 26/8 (gotta get used to the European way of doing things!)
We arrived in Split around 445 (1645) and faltered - here’s the big moment. Are they going to turn us away?

We had come so far - lugging our loaded down backpacks through airports in Dallas and London, going through security again at Heathrow and having to toss several of our carefully packed toiletries. However, we did get rows to ourselves during that nine hour flight - being able to stretch out made that trip bearable!

We had shown all of our paperwork to the desk agent in London (proof of medical insurance, two negative coronavirus tests, an online form granting us permission to enter Croatia, and evidence that we had a place to stay in Croatia) - but apparently there was yet another online form to fill out. London/ Heathrow also requires online notification of your intent to travel, even if you’re just passing through. It seems as though the main point of that form, however, was to gather information in case of a coronavirus outbreak - they wanted contact information just in case. We filled out forms for all of us, but were never asked to show them.

Once we made it to the small Split airport, we took the stairs down from the plane and into the hot humid air. We picked up our one checked bag, then waited nervously until the crowd heading through abated. When no one was left but a couple of twenty something girls flirting with the agent at the next desk, we gingerly approached the woman who had the power to shut this whole trip down.
She gave the brusque greeting that we would come to learn was characteristic of Split, and made us lift our masks to confirm our identities. She examined all of the papers we pushed under her nose - and stamped our passports.

We’re in! We scrambled past before she could change her mind and stepped through the metal gates. Breathing a huge sigh of relief, we crossed through a glass door and were officially in Croatia.

Our AirBnB host Luka had arranged a ride for us - his friend Frane, tall and thin with deeply tanned skin (like all Split residents) and long thick eyelashes. He was very friendly and showed us to the apartment, where we had our first experience of trying to figure out the currency and wildly overtipping. Oh well.
Hungry and tired, we wandered to the waterfront just down the street from our place. The peaceful Adriatic Sea was lapping at the harbor, and we marveled at all of the yachts and sailboats moored next to rows of waterfront restaurants and cafes.
We found ourselves on the Riva, or waterfront, with people wandering around - not a mask in sight. Is that a sign that it’s safer here or just the opposite?

As we were getting increasingly hungry and cranky, we just ended up at the nearest place, which served - burgers. Our first Croatian meal!
However, they were really good burgers, fully dressed with tomato, good cheese and... zucchini. Who knew?
A local pilsner and frites rounded out the meal, then we went home and crashed (after dragging a mattress into the living room so that we could all sleep in the only room with air conditioning). Tired and content, we were ready for the next day’s adventure.

Posted by tatehomberg 07:01 Archived in Croatia Comments (1)

Do we go?

Tate-Homberg Coronavirus Tour 2020

View Croatia on tatehomberg's travel map.

large_10DD3242-8208-4192-91DD-4AAEEE9212A1.jpegBLOG ENTRY #1 - Do we go? Tate-Homberg Coronavirus Tour 2020

Passport - check.
Backpack - check.
Clear bag with officially sanctioned toiletries - check.
Negative coronavirus test, permission form to enter Croatia, N95 masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes - check, check, check!

Ten years after our honeymoon trip to Europe, we packed our (somewhat larger) backpacks again for the next. This time, though, we have a nine year old daughter and an international pandemic.

This trip has been a long time in the making - a year or so of working and planning, of selling and buying houses, of teaching and homeschooling, of hoping and despairing. With the sale of our beloved little home in North Portland, we actually had some money that could possibly enable us to take a year off and travel the world.

Do we dare? Both of us started our first jobs at fifteen (Shelley at Winn Dixie and Jamie at an amusement park) and have been working ever since. How could we justify months of no income and time solely dedicated to travel, pleasure, education, and family?

Rationalization is our friend - and the way we see it, we’re simply taking our first year of retirement now. As the old saying goes: “You can have time, money, or energy. Pick two.” That’s so true! We’ve spent most of our lives paycheck to paycheck (yes, STILL. We’re teachers, after all!). But for the first time, we have all three and dammit, we’re going to take advantage of it.

So we started planning. Even as we fixed up our house for sale, we had a map of Europe tacked up in the hallway with circles and notations of our dream places to visit. Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Austria, Hungary… is this really all possible?

Nope. Coronavirus happened, and the world went crazy. We quarantined and taught online and wiped down our groceries after shopping. We saw our families’ and friends’ faces on screens and fearfully watched the news every night.

Seeing everyone and everything as possible carriers of disease changes your perspective. How can we even think of traveling when we feel like we shouldn’t leave our house? However, as Europeans managed to “flatten the curve” and the number of cases in America continued to rise, we realized that maybe our travel plans could actually keep us safer.

Time to research places that will allow Americans. It’s strange that not only are we generally reviled around the world for our politics, but now we are also literally considered diseased and contagious. Do we pretend to be Canadian (we practiced adding “eh” at the end of our sentences but I don’t think we’d fool anybody!). We have to hope that we can be positive ambassadors and just apologize for the drunk uncle that ostensibly leads this country.

So let’s do this! We found an article online that kept updating a list of places that would allow Americans: https://www.afar.com/magazine/where-can-americans-travel-right-now

Instead of having a solid itinerary with rooms booked and cars rented, we realized that we would have to be much more spontaneous and “fly by the seat of our pants”. Croatia, although a member of the EU, was allowing Americans if they were able to present a negative coronavirus test that was less than 48 hours old upon arrival.

So we packed (and repacked) our backpacks, following Rick Steves like he was our guru and supplementing with random Internet searches, Youtube videos, and our second-favorite traveling dude, Nomadic Matt. I especially researched packing lists, with Savvy Backpacker being especially helpful for women (yes, we need more stuff!).




We also had to make sure that we had the proper paperwork. We filled out an online form to enter Croatia ( https://entercroatia.mup.hr/), bought international travel medical insurance, and let all of our insurance companies, banks, and credit cards know about the upcoming trip.

Kaiser Permanente, as our home insurance company, was amazingly helpful in this process. They have a travel pharmacist who spoke with us over a phone appointment and not only scheduled our family’s coronavirus tests, she also went through medical requirements and immunization recommendations for all the countries we intended to visit. We ended up getting all of our immunizations updated and adding on a typhoid shot. Five shots for Jamie, three for Shelley, one for Savannah - ouch!

With a 9 AM flight on Tuesday, we calculated that we needed to take our coronavirus tests Monday morning and hope that our results would be sent to us via email by landing time. We trooped into the nearby Kaiser office and had our nasal swabs done (eyes watering as the stick reached up a little too high!).

Bags packed, guidebooks at the ready, and a ride to the airport arranged, we checked our email one last time before bed. Negative! All three tests were in - one major hurdle over with! Now, with friends renting our home and another friend caring for our dog Gambit, we’re good to go. We hope!

Posted by tatehomberg 13:51 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

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