Okay, for those who took me seriously with my article yesterday about Istria joining the EU, let emphasize that that was satire. Crossing the border between these two countries is still annoying and just like everyone had told me, a very long line that backs up for kilometer upon kilometer which you have no choice but to wait for.
The one thing that was true about the previous article is that the technicalities of the border are quite simple. You just flash a couple passports that they don’t even look at and that’s it; you’re in to one country or the other. I found it all quite strange given that the crossing between northern Croatia and Slovenia is much more involved. Therein lies the reason for the article yesterday because it was just weird. But, there is a good reason for it: Croatia done wants them beach tourists, not wine guide tourists like us.
In the middle of the peak season, it’s definitely a pain to get down there. Loads of campers and RV’s are trundling their way down the coast in search of a cheap spot to set up and stay for a week or two. Why Croatia wants these tourists so badly has been beyond me for this whole trip other than to say that they want to the easy, quick money that they bring. Naturally, there isn’t much money if they aren’t staying in a proper hotel or pension, preferring to bring their beat up camper trailer from circa 1974 to sleep in and they buy the cheapest food from the cheapest supermarkets. But, such are the choices of the current Croatian authorities.
So, some tips to avoid the lines:
– Don’t cross on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday
– Try to cross in the early morning or better yet, the late night.
– Don’t cross on a Monday when Croats may be coming back in after a weekend in Italy or elsewhere and subject to search because they’re the only people crossing who have import restrictions.
– On a related note, if you’re a dual Croatian national, use your “other” passport.
– Don’t drink a lot of liquids before going, because the worst times take an hour or two to go just a few kilometers and while there are plenty of low-lying olive trees, there are no toilets.
– I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if you have a motorcycle, use it. I saw these guys blast around me all the time just because they could. And if one or two people aren’t in a car, it makes the line all that much smaller for the rest of us.
– Find the back roads. The new, main auto cesta is always backed up. The old road may have more curves, but definitely less people at peak times. I don’t know where these roads are, but I see them mocking me on Google Maps.
– Lastly, make sure your car is tuned up and not going to overheat, because I saw many a weaker car sitting by the side of the road with a bunch of sad, beachless faces in the back seat.