Monday, March 30, 2015

The Tale of Two Worlds, Part 2

As we drove away from Rovinj I wondered if there could possibly be another town as lovely and charming down the road.  Had we hit the jackpot first and now everything else was going to be a let down?  The drive was long....4 hours.  The roads in Croatia are surprisingly good!  No kidding, they are wonderful, easy to drive and well maintained.  There are many toll roads but paying $10 for two hours on a beautiful road is a small price in my book.
Time flies when the view looks like this!
I seriously hoped I had not built up this Sea Organ in my mind only to be disappointed when I saw it.  I wanted the iconic sunset with the music of the organ in the background.  I wanted the tour book experience!  I wanted to be impressed!  I wanted the fact that my husband drove 3 hours to matter and to be worth it!

We found the "nearby" parking and our apartment.  This one was next door to a local bar and owned by the bar owner.  We met our new best friend in Zadar, Joe the Bartender, and he showed us our studio apartment.  Once again, better than the Internet representation!  I admit, I was a bit concerned about noise and smoke since it was on top of the bar but no noise was heard and the air was clear!  Joe was very helpful and hospitable and invited us down to the bar for a drink "on the house".  I love this place already!  After our drink we made our way to sunset central.
I'm so easily entertained!
The Sea Organ.
The waves hit the holes in the steps which have pipes in them and it sounds like an organ

It was a bit windy!  Hopefully you can hear the organ sounds over the wind!
Happy.....and cold!

Zadar was the city I was looking forward to the most.  I just knew it would be a great place.  It happens to be a university town which meant that we weren't the only people in town for a change.  We may have been some of the older people in town, but who cares?  There were more cafes and restaurants open for business and the city was much more lively at night.  Our new best friend, Joe the Bartender, was always ready to chat and have a drink with us. He would just pop out of the bar to say hello every time I went back to the apartment.  It was nice to have such a friendly person around!  Zadar was also more commercial than any of the other towns we visited, there were real stores there!  It was nice to visit a place that has a life outside of the tourist season, especially since we weren't there during tourist season.

Greeting To The Sun

The Greeting To The Sun   at night.
Glass tiles that light up randomly at night near the Sea Organ.  Very cool!

Five Wells
St. Donatus Church
We were only going to spend one night in Zadar, our plan was to play the next day by ear.  We had a couple of options and decided we liked Zadar so much we would just "stay on" another night.  I've always wanted to have the option to "stay on" someplace.  Of course, I wanted to "stay on" for weeks instead of hours but I'll take what I can get.  Having an extra day to do whatever we wanted, or nothing at all, was a luxury.  I chose to explore the town a bit more while TJ chose to catch up on some work and sleep.

I went in search of the Hitch Bar (Alfred) and a bit of inspiration.  I found it on the beach and was unimpressed.  I'm sure on a sunny, warm, summer day this place is full of bikini clad tourists sipping tropical beverages but today there were about 4 people wearing jackets and sipping hot coffee.  I really need to come back to this country when it is warmer!  I could also tell this was a prime place to watch sunset on a sunny day, but that day was not today.
Thanks for nothing sunset and little inspiration
Our last supper in Croatia was a first.  TJ and I were the ONLY people in the restaurant.  We were waited on diligently and served a delicious meal but it was very weird to be the only people there!  We were also running out of things to talk about at this point.  This was our fifth day alone together.  We usually travel with friends or family.  We usually meet people and strike up random conversations.  We usually have more distractions!  Our wish was granted when we got back to our apartment and Joe the Bartender popped out of the bar and invited us in to meet the original owner of the bar and his son, who runs it now.  We braved the small, smokey bar for a nightcap....or two.  It is amazing what one will do to have a little human interaction, cough, cough.  I'm sure we took a few hours off our lives from all the second hand smoke we inhaled that night.  It's been a long time since we hung out in a smokey bar!  Ahhhh, the good 'ole days.

In the morning we wiped the dust of Zadar off our shoes and headed to the airport in Zagreb, another 3 hour drive.  Once again our trip looked like this....
We left sunny skies and headed into that cloud bank on the left, through the mountains again.....

It was much colder on the other side.....
And yes, it was snowing!   Time to leave Croatia!
Time to wake up to sunshine and the Persian Gulf in the distance.
Some final observations about Croatia, because this post isn't long enough...

-A lot of people smoke!  They have not gotten the memo it is bad for your health.
-they love coffee!  Every day the cafes are full of people sitting outside, regardless of the weather, sipping coffee and smoking.  Around 5 they shift from coffee to beer.
-Everyone speaks English and they speak it well.
-the roads are excellent!
-they love visitors!
-the wine is excellent....and very affordable!
-the food in the northern part of the country is more hearty and near the coast is more Mediterranean and it is all very good.
-Croatia is a beautiful country, full of history....go visit!

Next on the agenda, Dubai.

1 comment:

Carol said...

I missed this when it was first published, so had to catch up.
Croatia sounds great to me. And shifting from drinking coffee to beer is SOP for many of us at the Shore! I'd get along in Croatia, I think!

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