Our candied peel supply is seriously depleted. We are nervous and at the mercy of a coastal wind, angry and unrelenting. Our original plan, lost somewhere in the blackened clouds above, was to stay in a town just outside of Plitvice park, but we have passed under countless flashing signs warning of winds inching towards 100 km/hr that seem to suggest hanging out in a park full of waterfalls is not a good idea right now.
Stuck between a cliff and a pleasant place
The highway is closed down when we are a little over an hour away from Gospič, our rest point for the night. We are immobilized due to the potential of the exact opposite happening; driving on the highway bridge while the bura winds are blowing at over 60 MPH would surely have us over the cliff edge.
After exiting via toll and questioning a very confused booth manager, we pull to the side of a vacated road and brainstorm.
A wisp of luck returns to us as we shiver in the car.
“There’s a hotel nearby!” I exclaim as I search my offline map.
Stuck in Posedarje, the outskirts of which seem characteristic of a ghost town, I understand Mum’s hesitation, especially when we pull into a pitch dark, narrow lane by the water’s edge ten minutes later.
Hotel Lucija’s flickering neon sign and a pajama clad mother-daughter duo greet us.
Sword of Gryffindor
Our night at Hotel Lucija is restful, a reprieve from the cold, howling wind. Our summer clothes remain untouched, but what we lack in sun is made up to us ten-fold in the form of breakfast.
Their breakfast tops them all! All of it is cooked by what we presume to be the owner we met last night. She sprints in and out of the kitchen, asking if we slept well and describing the juice bar with precise detail in Croatian. We like it here, entranced by the beautiful, waterfront view outside of the large French doors. I savor multiple pieces of homemade frittule, real eggs, and tasty cereal, while Croatia’s version of MTV is blasting in the background. For breakfast alone, Hotel Lucija gets a five-star rating from me. The impeccable service and super convenient location for the stranded are added bonuses.
Simply put, Hotel Lucija is the Sword of Gryffindor among Croatian hotels.
We leave just after the storm has subsided and the highway is reopened. I think we are both actually quite reluctant to part with our emergency accommodation, having thoroughly enjoyed our unplanned time here. You’re the cream of the crop, Hotel Lucija!!
We roll out of the world’s most welcoming ghost town and head for Zagreb, the very last stop on our grand Croatian adventure.
Next up, the Museum of Broken Relationships…