Monday, March 04, 2013

A liberal bureaucrat in search of adventure

I must admit that I do like the occasional adventure. Nothing particularly dangerous - I'm an increasingly old man and Ros isn't terribly keen on inheriting yet, not while I can still bring her tea in bed anyway. And for me, the travelling is often as much fun as the destination.

So, on discovering that I have to go to Pula, in Croatia, for a meeting in May, and that Ros can't travel with me, the travel urge has struck. I could fly to Pula, via Zagreb, but it involves arriving on the Wednesday evening at 23:00, which sounds like no fun and is rather obvious. To add to the complications, I am in London on the Tuesday for a training tutorial on bookkeeping that ends at 16:30, and it doesn't seem worth going back to Suffolk only to turn around and come back through London the next day.

What that means is that, assuming I need to be at Pula by 16:00 on the Thursday to allow time to prepare for an evening drinks reception, I have just shy of forty-eight hours to get from London to Pula. There are some obstacles;
  • Pula has no through train service to anywhere, as the only railway line runs to Zagreb via Ljubljana in Slovenia, and the only passenger trains across the border were axed in December.
  • There are only two flights a day from Zagreb to Pula, and only one of them arrives in time, so I must catch the 14:10 flight.
  • I don't want to use a sleeper train because I don't get to see any scenery, and the scenery is pretty spectacular, I'm told.
So, that means an overnight in Zagreb on the Wednesday night which, in turn, means that the day will have to begin somewhere in Central Europe, and that I will need to fly from London to the day's starting point the evening before.

There is a train from Munich, which departs at 12:27 and arrives in Zagreb at 20:55, and there is a Lufthansa flight from Heathrow at 20:10 which will allow me to have dinner before I fly, and leave me enough time to get from a hotel at Munich Airport to catch the train with ease.

But can I do better? The train to Zagreb starts from Frankfurt at 08:22, but the journey to Munich doesn't look interesting. It also stops at Heidelburg at 09:14 and Stuttgart at 09:58, but they're rather harder to get to the previous evening. So, Munich it is then. Or is it?

I could catch the 18:35 British Airways flight to Zurich from London City (very doable from Euston Square), get an early night and catch the 07:28 train from Zurich Flughafen to Munich, via St Gallen, which leaves me a 59-minute connection. Alternatively, I could catch the 08:40 from Zurich itself to Salzburg, via Feldkirch and Innsbruck, leaving a 14 minute connect there for the Munich-Zagreb train. That looks prettier, but riskier in terms of what happens if there is a delay.

I'm stricken with indecision, so I've booked the flight from Zagreb to Pula, and from Pula to London. Perhaps I'll come up with a better idea?...

1 comment:

Jane said...

Train or fly to Venice then seacat ferry to Pula.
If train: Eurostar to Paris and overnight sleeper to Venice.

Jane Leaper