Thursday, October 8, 2015

Zagreb to Karlovac

Just backtracking a bit to give my take on the first days in Croatia.  Here goes:

View from our 4th floor balcony
I sit on our little balcony on the 4th floor of our apartment building on a beautiful Sunday afternoon overlooking the sights of Karlovac, Croatia and wonder how we went from a happy homeowners in Suamico, Wisconsin to this foreign land in just 4 and a half months.  What a change, but what an experience.
On Monday, the 28th of September we boarded a plane in Salt Lake City and flew across seven time zones landing in Zagreb around noon on the 29th.  We were met at the airport by our mission president and his wife.  From there we were whisked away to the Mission Home, threw our luggage into our mission-assigned Opel Corsa 5-door.  Not a large car by any means, but adequate and we expect it to be economical given gas sells for 10 Kunas/Liter.  The exchange rate is about 7 Kuna/Dollar and there are 3.79 Liters in a gallon, so you math fans can try to figure that out.  I think it’s about $5.41 per gallon.  I’ll go with that until someone corrects me.  At any rate, it’s more expensive than Utah gas, that’s for sure.

Front view of Mission Home
The rest of the day was a blur.  We got to know our mission president and his wife and the senior couple assigned to handle office business, the H’s.  The H’s had lots of information for us and started right away trying to get us oriented.  They took us downtown to the Mission Office and we spent the afternoon filling out paperwork and getting us ready to apply for our Visa.  We have 48 hours to report to the local Mup (Prounounced Moop which is the police station) and apply for our Visa.  Not sure what the penalty is for not complying, but we didn’t ask and I don’t even want to know.  I suspect incarceration or deportation, either of which I want to be involved in.  We had to go through a mini-drivers education course and agree not to take the Corsa to the race track.  More about that later. 

We made it back to the Mission Home for dinner.  We all walked across the street to a nice restaurant and had a great steak dinner.  By the time we got back we were very ready to go to bed after being awake for 28 hours.  I really needed to get some rest because President G. challenged me to a set of tennis in the morning at 0730. 

Rear view of Mission Home with tennis court
The 0730 tennis time was not a problem because at 4:30 I was wide awake and rearing to go.  We did get the tennis game in and it was great fun.  There just happens to be a really nice red clay court in the back yard of the mission home. 

By late morning I was behind the wheel of the Corsa headed back downtown to the Mission Office desperately trying to stay close to the H’s in the car ahead trying not to run over any pedestrians or get hit by trains or buses.  The drivers are a little more aggressive than I am used to.  The only thing that brought me comfort was that at least we were driving on the right side of the road!!  We actually made it to Mission Office and parked in an underground lot.  We wandered through a shopping mall for a long time and found our way to the Office.  As we were wandering, I was wondering if we’d ever see the Corsa again!

We got our pictures taken for our Visa’s at a local photo shop, finished up the paperwork for the Mup and headed for Karlovac, once again being escorted by the H’s.  This is where the race track experience came.  We drove down Highway A1 in a southwesterly direction.  The highway was in good shape and similar to our interstate highways.  As we got out of town, the speed limit jumped up to 130 K/hr.  For those who are curious about the conversion to MPH try 80!!  Well, we had that little Corsa’s wheels a churning to keep from getting rear ended by the Audi’s and BMW’s that were treating the stretch of road like the Autobahn.  I am sure some were in the 120 MPH range!! 

We made it to the apartment and were very pleased with our landlord (a 30-something woman that spoke good English) and the apartment she offered us.  We moved right in.  Mary described the place in her blog entry so I will not elaborate.  Wow.  This was only Wednesday!

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