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Zadar Wednesday 1st June

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We are staying in Sali, a small fishing village on the island of Dugi Otok. A small, picturesque village. The ferry calls in four times a day, and that’s about it for excitement.

We got in at 4.00pm, walked around and found the tourist office. She parked us in a flat next door for a pittance. An elderly couple rent out the bottom floor of a two story building that has a ringside seat of the harbor. The old boy invited us upstairs and kept pouring the red wine while we admired the view from his balcony, until we made it clear we were off for a walk (or stagger, for some of us.) He’s a retired commercial sailor, she used to work in the fish factory on the island. They have an ancient dog that, like them, is surprisingly sprightly.
We strolled along a walkway around the edge of the island and found one dive center (associated with the hotel). They were closed already. We’ll see if we can rustle up some diving tomorrow. The dive centre is parked above the swimming area, which is simply a flat-concreted area that meets the sea. Everywhere else it’s just concrete and rocks. But beautiful clear water, and I assume it’s relatively warm, as there were quite a few swimmers out this afternoon.

The short way back took us up and over the crest of the peninsula, past a deserted restaurant. Cooking was done on a wood fire, and the smoky smell dragged us in, and I had the first decent steak I’ve had for awhile and Sylvia had a grab bag of grill items. I suspect that was an expensive meal, but it was less than $50.

We’re here for a few days at least, and scratched up some basics for breakfast, and again, it cost nothing. In Australia on Lord Howe Island basic groceries were startlingly expensive, here it’s the opposite.
We might end up staying here and scrapping the rest of the “plan”.

Getting here took a bit of energy. We sat at the Plitvice bus stop early, as we figured it could just as easily run way under time as overtime. Twenty minutes before the bus was due to arrive, three other people showed up as well. Given how packed the bus was coming here, I was a bit worried about the scramble for a seat.

Just before the scheduled pickup time, and guerilla bus operator wheeled into the stop in a minibus. He had room for three, the price was the same, he was going to Zadar, so we jumped in and took off.  Quickly we descended down out of the wet forests and hit the stony wasteland that is the Dalmation coast. He dropped us at the Zadar bus station, and then we started hiking.

We did try for an information centre, but there was nothing. No one sold maps, all we had was the crappy lo-rez ones in our guide books. Using the previous tried-and-true strategy, we hiked towards the “Centar”. Its was a long walk, with heavy packs, and I certainly felt lost. We noticed an older couple looking lost, like us, but they had a detailed map, and we approached them and compared notes. As it turns out we were pretty much where we thought we were, but the section we needed, on their map, was obscured by paid advertising.

It was a long story. The short version is both information centres were not where they were supposed to be, most of the streets did not have names visible, many of the old hand-span streets of the old town were not mapped….you get the idea. We traversed back and forth across the old-town peninsula, eventually by chance finding the Jadrolina ticket office and bought our tickets for Dugi Otok. The waiting room was crowded with oldies waiting for their ferries, yakking at high volume, and the ticket clerk grabbed a microphone and bellowed at them to shut up so she could serve us.

On we staggered, and sat and had a coffee or two to recuperate. Inadvertently we had pretty much done a tour of Zadar, but there were some surprises left.

The most beautiful boardwalk in the world. I read it.

Along the boardwalk (“the most beautiful boardwalk in the world”) is a water sculpture. It uses the action of water to pump air through organ pipes, so you can sit and watch the waves bump in and listen to the surprisingly melodious, random tunes it generates. Of course, being based on the waves there is a pattern and rhythm to it.

Less charming was the German derro, dressed in red t-shirt, red board shorts and a Santa hat, with a snow white beard, who had parked himself in the middle of this and seemed to think he was the attraction. He was cadging for money for people to photograph him, giving an unofficial guide to the organ pipes and so on. Every so often he would get up and belligerently stroll around, frightening off women and children.

Further down the most beautiful boardwalk in the world, a legless man shouted at tourists, offering to retrieve coins if they threw them into the water. I guess the advantage you have over legless beggars is they can’t chase you, and people just gave him a wide berth. But again, like Bad Santa, he took up a strategic spot on the boardwalk.

Rounded church building

A large square in front of the archeological museum was decorated with slabs of roman architectural stone, and a large, oddly rounded church was also made of the fragments of a once major roman city. Zadar still has the look and feel of a roman town, with marble pavestones and rickety, tiny streets and old buildings. Much older than the medieval towns we have been seeing, plus wide roads and forums.

Time to go. we trudged back to the dock where the ferry was supposed to depart, (the unsigned Dock 4). As we walked past the ticket office, through an archway we saw the luggage parking office.

On another day, without packs, I would have liked this place but it was all a bit stressful. But Dugi Otok won’t be stressful.

Written by wurstofvienna2011

June 1, 2011 at 7:43 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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