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I was sitting at user testing on Tuesday, feeling a little bit down and out when I received a call from Albi who happens to be on hiatus in Salzburg for the summer while he awaits his work visa to go back to the States. He asked me what I was up to for the weekend and then told me that he and his girlfriend, Sophie, were going to the family house in Croatia for a week and would I like to go. Obviously, two seconds later I had a flight booked and only then did I realise that I had this pesky little thing called work to deal with. Thankfully after begging and promising to go to an Internet cafe in Croatia I was given the OK.

Croatia or bust baby.

Then Thursday rolled around and all of this craziness started at the airports here in London. Every Easy Jet flight was cancelled and everyone was freaking out. I wasn’t too sure how things would be looking on Friday, but I was hoping for the best. Left work at 2pm for my 6pm flight out of Luton (conveniently located in BFE). Arrived and there were insane queues, but still didn’t take too long to check in. The only annoying part was that they took away all of my carry on and sent me through security with a plastic bag. The weird thing is that once you go through customs you can buy anything you want and take it on the plane. Great for retail at the airport I guess. Bought some really cute Carvella shoes – heels, green, patent leather.

Flight took off without a hitch. Arrived at the Rijeka airport that resembled Fresno Air Terminal. Got through customs and then outside to meet Albi who was picking me up. Sat down and waited. No one. Called the mobile and was greeted by Benji the Navigator who told me that the troops were on the way, I just had to sit tight and wait. And wait I did. I waited until everyone left the airport and they closed up and turned off the lights. Only me and the crickets. Chirp chirp chirp.

Finally a van came rambling down the road and stopped in front of me. And out poured 6 crazy people yelling and dropping bottles of wine. The crew had arrived! They came in full force with Vanessa, Stefan, Sophie, Albi, Thomas and Benji.

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Next thing we are in the van driving around Rijeka completely and totally lost. But at least we had beverages in the back and some Snopp Dogg to keep us company. Drove around for about 1 1/2 hours before we finally made it back to our homestead near Porec.

Arrived at 1.30 am to the villa and whipped up a fantastic meal of pasta and then Benji and I got onto the bottle of grappa. Which we managed to finish off by ourselves. A bottle of vodka magically appeared and we started on that. The evening was a little bit rainy and there was some tremendous lightning going on outside so we ventured under the covered patio and checked it out. Then off to bed for some rest.

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My room was really cute with two single beds and one of the only bathtubs in the place. The only thing that had me sketched out was that the boys had told me to be sure to check my shoes for scorpions before I put them on. Great. This got stuck in my head and I was checking my bed, my socks, my bad, everything for scorpions the entire time. Needless to say, I never saw even one of the bastards.

Woke up at about 11:30 the next morning. Hey, what can I say, I was jetlagged being 1 hour behind my normal schedule. Went down to breakfast and found my little egg and toast waiting for me. Everyone else had been up for the past hour or so and were done eating. My head was a little big groggy, but I was coping. Went back to my room and grabbed my book, Fashion Babylon, and when I came out the entire group was standing at the entrance to the courtyard dressed and ready to go. Oops, Albi had somehow forgotten to tell me that we were taking a trip into Rovinj for some lunch and wandering…

Arrived in Rovinj and had trouble finding parking. Drove around for what seemed like an eternity before just leaving the bus somewhere. Walked along the waterway and took in the sights. Cute little town albeit filled with Germans and Italian tourists. The weather wasn’t so great on Saturday, but given that most of us were suffering from hangovers (a recurring theme to this tale) it was OK. Had a crap lunch, took a ton of band photos, got blistered feet in the new heels, then passed out in the car on the way back to the house.

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Took a little disco nap in my room then went into the main house where I was greeted by a nice little fire in the fireplace and some wine. The rest of the troops began arriving from Austria. Mike and Melanie after their 8 hour adventure. Followed by Basti, Sophie and Karina completely soaked from the pouring down rain. Albi and Sophie whipped up an amazing dinner of freshly killed (by Albi) deer, potatoes au gratin and a complete gazpacho bar. After dinner was done we, obviously, delved into the vodka and gin and got the party started. Somewhere in between there and 6 am when we all went to sleep, Christoph showed up. Lots of random pictures were taking including some gummy bear gang bang (no idea what was going on), band photos and videos. Totally HILARIOUS (word of the weekend).

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Sunday, again, missed breakfast, but had my egg layed out for me. The day was totally sunny so we all donned our swimsuits and went out back to the gorgeous pool. Spent the day listening to Al Green, talking tons of garbage, reading, eating and drinking Becks. The boys played frisbee and I stepped on snails non-stop. Gross.

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Sunday evening, dinner at a local restaurant. The best truffle and noodles EVER. Fantastic steak tartar prepared at our table and lots of fresh amazing sea food. Did a little pron shoot. More grappa and more wine. Everyone was feeling pretty tired and rough, but we all made it through. Grappa woke us up and back at the house the party kicked off again.

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Ended the evening by watching another lightning storm and then decided I couldn’t take it anymore at about 6 and passed out.

Monday had to some work so headed into Porec with Mike and Melanie. Spent the morning trying to find an internet cafe. Nearly impossible! Finally found one complete with Skype and sat down to try to do some damage control on my abandoned project. Met up with the rest of the crew and had a large pina colada (that tasted like ass).

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Finally the time came for me to head home. Albi didn’t want to get lost on the way to the airport so we ordered a cab. Took more band photos with everyone in the courtyard and then the cab arrived. Cab got lost for 1 hour and ended up costing me £120 to get to Rijeka. 🙁 Flight was delayed and finally ended up getting home safe and sound in London at about 2 am.

Exhausted but happy. Great time with great people.

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