Dubrovnik to Zagreb is a Rough Trip

There is simply no easy way to do it. The trip up the coast of Croatia from Dubrovnik is just not a simple affair. That is, until you hit the new highway that Croatia has so graciously built for everyone. It makes you forget much of the extremely long time it takes to get from Dubrovnik to Split.
The new road is naturally very smooth and clean. It just opened in June and is still rather devoid of cars, as well as a lot of settlement save a few gas stations here and there. But what you will miss in old country charm, you’ll save in time. The old trip used to take eight hours and it is now cut down to a mere five; maybe four if you don’t fear the Croatian police, which if you were smart, you would. They’re large, all-business fellows.
It doesn’t seem like the route, which veers way out through Sibenik and Zadar before cutting inland saves all that much time, but with the very straight roads and the fact there are two and even parts that are three lanes, it makes getting around the slow vehicles very easy. Such was not the case on the old road where you could be stuck behind very slow or even burning bus for some time.
I’m pretty new to European roads in general and was amazed at some of the things they did to make this road possible. For one, there are a lot of tunnels, such as this one that is seven kilometers long. While a hole through rock is an interesting engineering feat, it’s hardly that notable most of the time (the 21-mile Loetschberg tunnel being an obvious exception.) While the tunnel itself is merely a structure it is what happens at each end that is amazing. On the one side nearer the coast, you enter with the barren rocks and the white coastal rocks all around you. On the other end nearer Zagreb, you exit, finding yourself in a vast verdant forest that seems to stretch forever. All the rest of my group were busy sleeping, but I watched the shole change and it was something to behold.
Beyond the convenience of the tunnel, there are a couple of sites to see, like up in the northern area, there are the ruins of a castle (Sokolac Castle in Brinje) just off the side of the highway which are a nice site to see. It’s rather nice raods, somewhat like the more northern areas of California, but naturally with a difference (yes, in addition to the castles.)
Once you get in to Zagreb, it all gets the same as it used to be before the new road opened. Of course, you need to pay all of your tolls and what not along the way, but you get used to that in Europe for the benefit of speedy travel. Otherwise, it’s the ox cart for you.