First off, the Croats have a thing about underestimating distance. We stopped at a campsite in Zadar (one of many island/walled towns we are visiting on our way south) and, on being asked ‘how far to the town from here?’, the chap at reception said ‘three-quarters of a kilometre.’ Ha! More like 5, maybe 6; in heat designed to melt tarmac. We made it though (and back again), via yachts and gin palaces and more yachts – that’s another thing about the Croatian coast – it’s all marinas, small harbours with marinas, boats bobbing about off shore and more marinas. All fabulous, really. If you had to park your boat somewhere, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place.
Zadar was a walled town/island (joined by a footbridge), lovely and well worth a trip. Everywhere you look there’s sea, islands, inlets and more islands. However the best thing about Zadar for me was the ‘sea-organ’, a set of concrete steps on one corner of the island with holes in – as the water too’d and fro’d, the holes played a tune. Simple, but wonderfully effective. It was really captivating. Bognor could learn a trick or two from these people.
We then travelled south to Trogir, another delightful walled/island town – smaller and prettier than Zadar. The style is all Venetian, but without the crowds (although I have to say that Split, more of in a sec, was plagued with tour parties. They’re amoebic: when one goes through a gap, they all follow without a hint of regard for those waiting patiently to move the other way. If I ruled the world, my first law would be for these people to walk in single file, following the lady with the umbrella whilst holding tightly onto the backpack of the old person in front of them – like a primary school party. At least then we could all get through.)
Trogir is lovely and we stayed on a decent campsite just round the headland. We cycled the first day and, the second, caught the water taxi into Split. Which, having visited in a previous life when my mind was on altogether different things, was pretty perfect. Coming in from the water is the only way to see Split – you get a real sense of the size of the Roman palace that is now a tourist shopping and cafe area. The long straight harbour front is kept clear so you can soak in the views. Having started very early, we wandered around all day, listened to a ‘rock’ concert put on by some local kids at the top of town whilst eating a picnic, walked up to the church which sits high on a bluff to the north of Split, and bought salad from the local market. We came back by bus. Fabulous.
And today, in stuttering weather (it’s hot again now) we drove to Dubrovnik, which was further than I intended. The coastline here is much more Italian Amalfi than west coast of Scotland, and south of the tiny Bosnian sea shore it gets poor and impoverished until you reach Dubrovnik. But it’s just as striking as the more arid northern stretch of coast. Dubrovnik is immediately busy and two huge cruise liners block out Mrs sun as we approached the town. We followed signs for a campsite on the peninsula, but were disappointed to find it a large grumpy place that wanted everything C had in her purse for a night’s stop. So we moved on, by which time I was losing the will to live and let C know (as I have a tendency to do at the end of a long driving day (sorry)).
We drove through Dubrovnik and, via an old German couple who were walking along the road, found a brilliant campsite at Kupar. Unchanged since Tito was a lad, it is £12 a night with everything, and a short walk from the water taxi that should take us into Dubrovnik tomorrow for a tenner return! Fabulous!
So, all’s good here. We’ve still got 4 weeks and I don’t think we’re going to go any further south, so after tomorrow’s excursion, I’m guessing it’s a slow ride home…