(Guide says 21.6km – 13.4 miles, but we walked 23.4km – 14.5 miles.)
We start off super late in the morning and frustrated as the accommodation we were moved to last night was way off the route and offered no food. The Acreedo, an adrenaline park we were supposed to be in was overbooked, so we were placed outside of the village in a remote area with no laundry services, which meant we had to wash laundry in the sink again and hang to dry, (thank goodness I always carry my own clothesline) and there were no meals offered. We were also told that we had to walk 300m down the road to eat our dinner and Nicola, the organizer, drove us past before dropping us off at the accommodation, to show us exactly where to go.
After showers and washing the laundry, we set off up the road to the restaurant. When we arrived we could see that there was a very large wedding party, and we panicked a bit because we were starving after the incredibly long day walking. We asked about dinner and were immediately told that it was not possible because of the wedding reception. We were absolutely devastated. Literally standing out in the parking lot looking through the window at people drinking wine and eating glorious food, I thought I might just cry.
Luckily the wedding photographer happened to be sitting outside and spoke English very well. He asked us if we were walkers and when we told him that we were and that we were stuck at the small pension down the street with no other option for food, he said that he would try to work something out with the owner. He told us to stay put and he walked inside. After a few moments it was all sorted and we were ushered straight through the wedding reception out onto a beautiful terrace. Our table was situated to look out across the most beautiful rolling hills covered with grapevines and we were served an amazing meal. Everyone there was so nice and attentive to us throughout the meal even though there was a huge wedding reception to be worried with. This was one of my favorite moments and meals yet on the EPW.
But this morning we are starting to walk at 8:09am and it’s already so hot that we can’t think. This is three full hours later than we normally start. The breakfast we were taken to was nice, but because we were so late arriving we had to rush through to begin walking. This made it much less enjoyable. The other ladies decided not to walk in the high heat and spend a day shopping and seeing sites in Zagreb. In hindsight we probably should’ve just done the same.
We knew what kind of day we had in store. 21km of mostly exposed walking on gravel roads through farm fields with some roadside walking as well. Not a long distance at all, but the temperature is supposed to reach 96 degrees by noon. We set out praying there’s more coverage than the guide indicates. The beginning offered two short stints through the woods, but that was it. The rest of the day we baked in the hot sun. The highlight of the day was an ice cream parlor right along the route. I’ll add some pictures, but you’ll see that it was all exactly the same…all 14 miles of it. Gary told me today with a completely expressionless face that he’s struggling to remember why he agreed to do this. I’m hoping it was a joke and we just need to work on his delivery a little.
Jenny stayed behind a day, and we thought we might see each other again and walk together, but then she had to be driven ahead one section because the accommodations were all too full. It’s frightening to think that we may all be fighting to get accommodations now, especially with all the taxi takers. The walkers won’t even have a chance since we always arrive later in the day.
My blisters which had mostly healed in Lenti, made their presence known again and my rash came back with a vengeance. It’s definitely the combination of sweat, friction, sun, and dirt for long periods of time that does my body in. The giant tube of steroid cream that my doctor sent me with has gotten me this far, but in just nine days, I’ve used the entire thing. Tomorrow I must find a pharmacy and I’m praying they can just sell it to me without a new prescription. A 50 gallon drum of it should do. Then I could just climb in and soak.
While walking into Verazdin, we caught a glimpse of a freshly squeezed juice sign at a cafe with cool water misters outside. We decide that a short stop was fine, as long as fresh juice is involved. We end up meeting the nicest woman named Mirianna. She makes us juice and talks with us for a while about living in Croatia and shares with us that she will soon be moving to Costa Rica to join her husband. They met while working together on Carnival Cruise lines and have been living apart until she can get things in order to move and be with him. The combination of the fresh juice and our conversation with her makes the day so much better.
As we arrive at our assigned accommodation, the Hotel Turist, we are hopeful for a good nights rest. What we find is a very nice hotel on the ground level, but we are placed two floors up in a wing that seems like another world entirely. There is a bathtub, however, which makes me so happy that I almost forgot about the fact that the room smelled like wet stinky socks before we arrived, so you can just imagine what it was like after. Wet, stinky socks, sprinkled with decaying carcass. It’s safe to say that there were EPW walkers here just before us. It’s super humid and 96 degrees outside with no air conditioning in the room. We inquire later to find that we must pay 20 euro more to be placed in rooms with ac.
Oh, and realize that you must know to request this at check in. There are so many questions that you need to ask, but you have no idea that you need to. I feel like I should just say something to the tune of, “Are there any other things, possibilities, or secrets that I should know about?” at every interaction with accommodation staff. I find that there are so many things that I take for granted as an American. I actually feel entitled to all the information and to good service when I’m at a hotel. Like it’s their job to give all this information and service to me, which is how we handle things in the U.S. It’s our expectation. Here, things work so much differently. We asked the gentleman at the front desk for a dinner recommendation and he laughed and in perfect English said, “Nope, I’m not doing that. I’ll tell you a place and then you’ll go and hate it and make a complaint against me.” We walked away dismayed. If anyone managing a hotel in the U.S. treated his guests this way he would be fired on the spot. Presumably though, the exact scenario he’s described has happened and he’s not about to let it happen again.
We ended up going to a place called, Angelus, that was Jenny’s recommendation, and it was fabulous. A delicious, authentic Italian meal, served in an open air bistro set in a park. It was enough to make all the day’s frustrations a distant memory, and the two giant glasses of merlot I polished off were exactly the pain reliever I needed.
When we returned, the front desk gentleman, handed me a wrapped gift that Jenny had left behind. We had planned to spend both of our birthdays together on this adventure, but that was before my feet fell apart, and since we parted we’ve been checking in with each other each night. My hope was that I could walk a double day to catch up with her when my feet had recovered, but then she got moved up an additional day. At that point we just had to accept that we would not be together for our birthdays, or walking together any more, or even spending time in Trieste together after we finish. By the time I finish, Jenny will be back at work in Germany, which makes me sad. But the thought of all the trouble she went to, to buy me a gift, wrap it and leave it here, really touches my heart. She’s such a kind, generous, and thoughtful girl. Definitely a keeper that one!
28 euro per person – room only with no ac
38 euro per person – room only with ac that kind of works
5 euro per person for breakfast
No laundry service or facilities
Wifi access with code that resets every 30 minutes
Loads of ATM’s in town
Ritz for fresh juice and lovely service with a smile
Angelus for fabulous Pizza, authentic Italian dishes, amazing setting, and great service
Restaurant Terbotz for an unbelievable meal, service, and setting.
Some additional favorite pictures: