Parking was at a premium in Dubrovnik, so when we spotted a space near the ferry port we decided to park there and take a public bus into the Old City and back. Our car was perfectly placed, close to the ferry port, and our tickets were duly purchased. We reckoned about an hour and a half to get back to our car and onto the ferry would be ample time, after all it had only taken us 15 minutes getting to the Old City gates.
After dinner in the Old City we headed back to the bus stop at the appointed time. The bus took a little longer arriving than anticipated, but still we had built in enough time. We hopped on and were on our way back to our car and the ferry.
It was now dark and raining, so it was difficult to see, and everything looked a little different. I carefully watched the passing bus stops and when I thought we were at the correct one jumped up, and got off, followed by Stefan.
“No, this is not the right one.” he said with authority, and quickly turned me around and we got back on the bus.
“I’m sure it was.” I protested sitting down again.
The bus was on the move, and I watched in dismay as we whizzed by the bus stop, on the other side of the road, where we had boarded the bus earlier in the day.
“That WAS our stop!” I cried out
“The bus will turn around soon.” said Stefan calmly
“But you don’t know how long their route is!” I exclaimed.
I watched anxiously as we headed out of Dubrovnik, passing through one suburb after another.
“Maybe we should just get off at the next stop?” I said desperately looking at the clock at the front of the bus.
“I am sure we will turn around soon.” said Stefan, sounding less sure of himself now. And he made his way to the front of the bus and found out that we would be back in 20 minutes. Whew, we had enough time. But with no sign of turning 15 minutes later we realised that we would only reach the end of the route, the turnaround point, in 20 minutes. We calculated the time; could we make it to the ferry? Maybe… just.
We, the only passengers left in the bus, waited an agonising 5 minutes watching the clock, before the bus finally started back on its route. We knew this would be a close call, so had a plan; I would run to the ticket office to get directions of where we should embark and Stefan would run for the car and pick me up.
Once back in the car, we headed for the ferry boom at rapid pace. It was closed and there was no-one about. In a panic I jump out in the rain with the (expensive) ferry tickets hand; I waved them frantically in front of the boom, at the side of the boom, over the boom, hoping that the barcode would somehow register and the boom would miraculously open. It did not.
“Get back in the car!” shouted an agitated Stefan. And on two wheels, we raced around the side of the ferry building. Here there were still some officials about.
“Bari?” said a surprised customs officer looking at his watch and then at us. He hesitated, “OK, passports please.’
We managed to park just before the ferry ramp was raised, with only 10 minutes to departure.
“Let me tell you how a public bus route works…” I began.
Common sense should prevail even in the face of assertiveness.
DUBROVNIK, CROATIA 10-06-2013