A wave of happiness rushed over me as soon as I saw Katie, sitting under an awning at the yellow bus station in Trogir.
The bus ride from Split to Trogir had taken a little longer than expected, and I had told her I would do my very best to meet her there by 10:30 a.m.
When the bus hit traffic heading out of Split, I began to get a little anxious.
One hour. I have one hour. Oh, Katie, please wait for me.
Fortunately, I was dropped off close to our agreed upon time. And, she was there. Laden with snacks for our 3-hour bus ride up to Zadar.
My smile grew larger and larger as I got closer to where she was sitting, and then she saw me, and smiled too.
“Hi!!!” I squealed, embracing her.
It felt so good to see her. Even if it had only been two nights since we last saw each other.
There is no better feeling when traveling to see a familiar face. Especially feeling the way I felt at that moment.
Together, we walked across the street to stand outside the Konzum to wait for our bus to stop and fetch us.
We had been told the buses come pretty regularly.
It took an hour. Under the beating late-morning sun.
“At least I can work on my tan,” I reasoned, dropping my bags at my feet and squinting my eyes up towards the sky.
While we waited, we kept ourselves entertained.
In Solta, David had tried to explain to us it was nearly impossible to not lick your lips while eating doughnuts.
And, Katie, being the awesome friend she is, remembered I liked doughnuts filled with jam.
She produced two from her plastic bag and we tried to prove David wrong.
Have you ever tried to not lick your lips while eating a doughnut? It’s hard.
I succeed a few times, but the little challenge grew tiring, so I succumbed and decided to just enjoy the fresh and delicious pastry.
Finally, a bus came and we got on. I looked back wistfully at the beautiful town of Trogir.
Next time, D.
Two hours later (not sure how we got there so quickly), we were in Zadar.
The bus station in Zadar is a hike from the old town where we had booked a hostel, so we decided to fork over the kuna and grab a cab to the city gate.
Zadar is not known for its hostels. There are really only two — the Old Town hostel where we stayed, and then a youth hostel outside of town. Both book up reasonably quickly, so we had been fortunate to reserve beds.
She and I made our way down the slippery marble main street of Zadar and found our hostel. It was smack in the middle of the little city, near an abundance of outdoor cafes and shops.
It was a perfect location.
We climbed the four flights of stairs and dropped our bags in our room.
We had one night together in Zadar. The next evening, she was boarding a flight to London.
We spent the afternoon lazily, grabbing an amazing lunch down the street from us, toying around on the Internet and relaxing.
Zadar is a small town — there isn’t much to do unless you take a boat tour of the Kornati Islands. Most of the tours go all day and are a bit pricey, so we opted to just chill out.
That night, we walked to the water and had a gourmet dinner with a spectacular sunset over the sea as our background. The oranges and pinks blending into the greens and blues, finally giving way to the black night sky.
It was expensive as far as backpacker dining goes, but it didn’t matter to me. I had less than a week left, and it was my last dinner (for real) with Katie in Europe.
After dinner, I insisted we stop by the Sea Organ and the Salutation to the Sun, both beautiful must-sees in Zadar. Then, we mozied through town, stopping at a little bar near the hostel and grabbing some beers. After a big beer or two each, it was time for sleep.
The next day, she, Brian (a guy who I met in Sarajevo and ran into again in Zadar) and I toured the city, wandering down its twisting alleys, eating and drinking.
Katie doesn’t like to fly, so we had to accompany her to the cafes while she sipped wine. And well, she couldn’t drink alone now, could she?
In the late afternoon, she headed to the bus stop to catch a ride to the airport.
In just a few shorts days, I would do exactly the same.
I hugged her tight, promising we would see each other once she returned to America, and then she was gone.
Brian and I walked back to the hostel. He was prepping to go out. I was not.
I found myself craving some “me” time, so that night I stayed in, reading my book and writing.
And researching where I would go next.