Through Croatia we planned to rush through without stopping. The expected amounts of tourists and for this purpose prepared prices were scaring us off more than effectively.
We were extremely tired, a bit disappointed with speed of traveling and our hitch-hike luck reserve looked like draining.
But on the ride to Zagreb we received a message from a traveling couple of friends, which we're about to meet "somewhere in Balkans". They were asking if maybe we're somewhere around Zagreb, so we could meet there.
So we stayed on one of most inhospitable squat I've ever seen, walked through totally not interesting, average Austria-Hungarian city, but had a lovely time with friends.
Sorry Zagreb, you won't steal my heart.
But on the way there our driver shared with us his anti-system, life-reclaiming sustainable farming plans and showed us one of the beautiful places on my heart map.
A little town near Zagreb, little, warm and clear river with small waterfalls and deep ponds made out of limestones. Half an hour of swimming and jumping and one lost ear flesh-tunnel, but I'll remember it forever.
The travel back was just a chain of ridiculous long waiting near Linz, AU (9 hours with a sore throat and slight fever spent on a gas station), nice or annoying people and endless Deutsche Bahn ride in regional trains.
Even after few days I was waking up with a feeling, that I have to plan the way for today, forgetting I'm back home.
But Balkans rule. Not so surprising because of the knowledge I already had but charming, involving and totally my cup of tea.