I left Split to explore a small town called Trogir on my way to Sibenik. It was a nice town, like the other coastal medieval ones I’ve seen. Small, twisty, cobblestone streets with several churches and a fort. I dropped off my bag at the luggage room for 15 kuna, about 2 USD, which was almost the price of my bus there.
I walked around for a few hours, stopping to have lunch on the pier and people watch. Children were either running after pigeons or feeding them bread while their parents watched. Elderly people were taking walks with loved ones of the human variety or the furry four legged type.
The sun was shinning and it was quite warm. I later discovered that I received new tan lines from my capri pants….which makes my legs look interesting as I still have biking shorts tan lines on my thighs then capri lines just below my knee. I’m also a bit shocked as it’s winter….who tans in the winter?
Then I was off to Sibenik.
One more city up the coast. Well, town is more appropriate as it is quite small, but still, like other places in Croatia, it has a lot of charm.
I thought I was going to be alone at the hostel because it was down season, but a new friend showed up. J from Germany, but who has spent 5-6 years in Montreal, Canada. So he, impressively, speaks 3 languages fluently and knows a little of Spanish.
We went up to one of the fortresses and watched the sunset as our hostel owner said it was the best then walked along the water to the beach to get a great view of the town and fortress lit up at night. This town has 3. The sunset fortress is free.
After making our way through the numerous windy streets we stopped at the Christmas market. It was in a small park, and one of the smallest I have seen, but it was full of lights and music.
The hostel is very nice. It would be better in the summer as the common rooms are outside terraces. It’s too cold now, but Hostel Splendido would be lovely then.
The hostel owner told me it was better to go to Krka National Park on Monday as Sunday would have limited bus hours. However, upon looking at the forecast, Sunday was sunny while Monday was rainy. So I decided to go either way on Sunday.
J and I got the bus at 9 then made it to the small town of Skradin at about 9.30. To get to the payment gate was 1 km, but to get to the actual park sights it was another 4 km. It was a lovely walk though as the path followed the water.
The actual park trails are less than 3 km so we managed to do everything, while taking our time and stopping quite a bit, in several hours. We walked back into town, arriving at around 2.30. J is a big wildlife lover, but more specifically birds so we ended up watching some birds for a bit as he explained differences and flying habits. For example, swans have a hard time getting up to fly and tend to graze the water for a bit. They also make loud noises with their wings emphasizing how hard it is for them.
I learned more about birds in a few hours then I thought I would ever do, but it was nice seeing someone so passionate about a topic. Makes sense as he wants to continue his studies in vet science.
We explored the town for a bit, walking up to its own fortress where J pointed out that this land must have been super wealthy at one point to be able to afford all the forts. True.
“They wanted to control trade.” He said. Made sense. Venice was in control a lot of this area during medieval times. And they were strong in trade.
We had a little over 1 hour left for the bus back, the only bus at 5, so we got coffee at a cafe.
We had great discussions, but one being when we have so many great options, but the dilemma on which path to take. I was glad to meet someone else experiencing this dilemma as I had a similar experience when deciding my visa and Christmas plans. We just want to do everything, but alas….we agreed that we can’t live life on IF’s, which is cliche yes, but usually cliches are from truth.
I talked to him about this blog and he said he wants to write his own, but it just seems like so much work. It is, but once you get into the habit, it’s not that bad. Most of the time, I write parts of a post while I wait for a bus or, in this particular case, a ferry…
The rest of Monday was fine. The sun finally came out as it started as a rainy gloomy day. The other ferry passengers thought I was a bit crazy as I was on the top deck in the cold wind for an hour as the boat went round. One of the crew even told me that I could go inside, but I wanted to see the view!
The ferry made 3 stops at 2 islands then the last stop, where I got off, was Vodice. It’s a very small town. It is nice, again with the small, windy, cobblestone streets. It didn’t take me very long to walk around. I ate lunch by the water again as I people watched and read my travel book for future ideas.
I took the bus back, which was 16 kuna while the ferry was 15, but it took less time to get back. It was quite late and there were a lot of people waiting. There were so many, people stood in the aisle. I was the last person to get a seat. I ended up seating in the back with a bunch of high school students.
One guy had his backpack on a free seat. He looked like he was waiting for a friend. There were so many students that it was possible. I knew the ride was going to be short so I indicated that he was waiting and he nodded. I don’t know if he understood and if so if he was just agreeing to get a free seat because soon all his friends were discussing something.
It sounded like they were yelling at him to give me the seat, which I was right as someone goes,
“You can sit there.” Another boy said.
“Is he waiting for someone?”
“No.” A third boy exclaimed,
“Yeah, f@$! him.” The second boy chorused. Everyone laughed. I sat. The kid didn’t look happy. I guess it was a bit embarrassing the whole thing for him.
I got off the bus and went back to the hostel for a nap and to get warm. Though it was warm outside, I was still chilled from the ferry ride. After an hour, I went back out and explored the town.
I went to the grocery store, and here, you have to weigh your food and print out a ticket from the computer before buying. I was trying to figure out the machine, but I needed help so I approached someone around my age. I asked if she spoke English in Croatian.
“No!” She said smugly with a smile. It was if she had just won something or bested me at something. I knew she spoke SOME English because they start teaching it at 5 or 6. She immediately ignored me. An older woman, maybe 40s came to my rescue and I got what I needed.
The majority of people are very friendly. However, there are a few that couldn’t be bothered to help. It’s not the first time I received this reaction of smugness. Sometimes I get a very sorry reaction, but they still do their best helping me either through charades or with the very little English they might have.
My Croatian is very limited and the few words I do know are through my 4 lessons of Czech, so they are similar words that I can get by on. I wish I spoke better Croatian, I wish I could speak every language, but it’s not possible, especially at this time. But, a tip for traveling, do try to learn some phrases in the local language like please, thank you, hello, etc. Usually, I get a better reaction when I start off in Croatian.
To make things….worse? More just another thing I did from being tired- I had problems with buying a ticket to Zadar. It was totally my fault and I apologized to the ticket guy profusely. I accidently told him I wanted to go to Zagreb. I paid for the ticket and walked out just to walk back in with the realization I was wrong. He was not happy and muttered Croatian at me. He exchanged my ticket with a,
“You said Zagreb.”
“I know, I’m terribly sorry.”
Then he gave me the new ticket and some change. I walk out again then realize I didn’t get enough change. I go back in and he glares at me then hands me an envelope with the rest of the change.
“To Zadar.” He growled. I thanked him and went back to my hostel.
My hostel owner came into my room that night offering me dinner she cooked. I accepted. It was this fish and potatoes stew that was a specialty in the area. She said at a restaurant it would be very expensive. It was delicious!