Posts/May, 2015/

Croatia: Road Trip Leg 5, Šibenik, and Krka National Park

Sunday, May 31st, 2015
On the road

On the road

Small factory town

Small factory town

After a short 96 km drive from Paklenica, we stopped in Šibenik for two days/three nights to see the falls within Krka National Park and explore the small city. We started our park day pretty early and were one of the first cars to pull into the lot near Skradinski Buk. It was a warm day, so we were thankful for the shade along the steep path down the hill. Once at the water’s edge, an educational trail of wooden boardwalks criss crossed the falls and gave us the chance to watch fish, frogs and lizards in the clear water below. The walk would be great for kids, but Nik and I enjoyed it all the same. At the end of the trail, we had a simple lunch while watching visitors swim in the wide pool at the base of the waterfall. We originally planned to jump in ourselves, but the water was frigid and we decided to drive to a couple other falls within the park instead.

Krka National Park

Krka National Park

Fish in crystal clear water

Fish in crystal clear water

Frog camo

Frog camo

Slap (waterfall)

Slap (waterfall)

Natural edges

Natural edges

A beautiful and cold swimming hole

A beautiful and cold swimming hole

Swimmers and spectators

Swimmers and spectators

Skradinski Buk

Skradinski Buk

Swan and swanling

Swan and swanling

Necklace Falls

Necklace Falls

Manojlovac Falls

Manojlovac Falls

The city of Šibenik was the first historic coastal town in Croatia where it seems the old town is appreciated as much by the locals as it is by tourists. Perhaps this is because the old town is flanked on three sides by more modern development making it easy for locals to simply cross through town. Or maybe it is because there is not a huge tourist interest in Šibenik because Krka National Park is an easy day trip from Split or Zadar rather than a destination on its own. Regardless, it is well worth staying there for a few nights because the evenings in town are magical, the buildings are graceful, and the water’s edge is beautiful and full of life.

Sunset from our Šibenik apartment balcony

Sunset from our Šibenik apartment balcony

Šibenik Cathedral

Šibenik Cathedral

Statue & shutters

Statue & shutters

Šibenik street lamp

Šibenik street lamp

Steel handrail

Steel handrail

Stone laundry pole hangers

Stone laundry pole hangers

Nik in Šibenik

Nik in Šibenik

Nik’s Blog: Three Days in Šibenik and Krka National Park, Croatia

Croatia: Road Trip Leg 4 & Paklenica National Park

Thursday, May 28th, 2015
The lush valley on our way off of Krk Island

The lush valley on our way off of Krk Island

Once we made it back to mainland Croatia, the drive south along E65 was easily as beautiful as Highway 1 in California. The perfectly paved 2 lane road hugged the coastline as jagged karsk mountains jutted up above us to the east and rocky islands dotted the aqua blue water of the Adriatic Sea to the west. It only took us a couple hours to make it to Stari Grad Paklenica, and I would have been happy with it taking 10 hours. Also, you know you are on a beautiful and scenic road when you pass multiple packs of motorcyclists and every other restaurant advertises “Biker Discounts – 10% off”!

The rain started when we were about 20 minutes away from our next apartment, and continued off and on for the next three days. We made the most of it by staying inside and catching up on rest, hiking through Paklenica National Park (best hike ever), and running from overhang to overhang in the downtown area of Zadar. Then on the third day, the North Wind came and pushed the bad weather out and brought in perfectly still days with sunshine and blue skies from dawn until dusk for our final 2 days. We went on another hike in the park, and continued to relax on our seaside balcony. The small town of Stari Grad was a great home base for exploring the Paklenica/Zadar area and gave us some much needed time away from a city.

The Dalmatian Coast

The Dalmatian Coast

Paklenica rock climbing

Paklenica rock climbing

Tree tunnels

Tree tunnels

At the top overlooking  the intersection of valleys

At the top overlooking the intersection of valleys

Paklenica Valley

Paklenica Valley Photo by Nik

Wild flowers everywhere

Wild flowers everywhere Photo by Nik

Hiking near the ridge

Hiking near the ridge Photo by Nik

Zadar - St Donatas Church in the rain

Zadar – St Donatas Church in the rain

The Zadar Sea Organ

The Zadar Sea Organ

Sunset from Privlaka

Sunset from Privlaka

From the mountains to the sea

From the mountains to the sea Photo by Nik

Park road

Park road Photo by Nik

Sunset from the Stari Grad boardwalk

Sunset from the Stari Grad boardwalk

Useful Links:

Paklenica National Park

Nik’s Blog: Starigrad, Zadar, Paklenica National Park, Croatia

Croatia: Road Trip Leg 3 & Baska on Krk Island

Sunday, May 24th, 2015
The dining terrace

The dining terrace

On the third leg of our road trip, we drove along the remaining coast of the Istrian Peninsula and over a bridge onto Krk Island. Along the way, we stopped in the tiny coastal town of Mošćenice for lunch at Tu Tamo. I found the restaurant via a travel app, and it was one of my favorite meals of the trip so far. Nik ordered the wild boar stew, and I hoped to have the beef stew, but it had not been made that day. Instead, the owner recommended I try the Crni Rižot (Black risotto) which is a traditional Croatian dish made with squid, cuttlefish, risotto, and squid ink that makes it black. It was the best mixed seafood dish I have ever had. Also, to make the stop even better, we sat on the terrace with a view of the restaurant garden and the Adriatic Sea with Krk & Cres Islands and the city of Rijeka in the distance. If I ever own a house, this is the view I want. City on one side. Nature on the other.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Istrian coast is littered with large and small campgrounds. After seeing them on our drive to Rovinj, I decided to do some research to see if we could find one to stay at as well. The trick was to find a place where we had all of the comforts of an apartment (private bath, regular bed, kitchen) but the setting of a campground. Luckily, campgrounds often rent out mobile homes equipped with all of these amenities. However, most looked worn out and best suited for my grandparents. Then I found Camp Bunculuka. Their mobile homes here are new, nicely furnished, and not set up in a grid where each home is on top of the next one. They even had “romantic” options specifically designed for couples where the windows and patios look directly out towards the sea. The was only one catch. It is a naturist camp meaning that when you are on the beach, clothing is not allowed. Elsewhere, clothing is optional. We went back and forth about whether we would be comfortable, and ultimately decided that this is a trip for new experiences and we wouldn’t see anything we haven’t seen walking down the streets of San Francisco. So why not?

When we arrived, the weather was turning cold and rainy, and the place was empty. Of the possible 1,200 visitors the campground can accommodate, I estimate only 100 were there, and no one was outside. Nik and I had blog posts to catch up on, so we bunkered down in our 250sf home for about 36 hours and let the winds shake our walls and rains drench the beach. Once it let up, we went to the beach for about 30 minutes before the rain started again and made sun bathing impossible. Instead, we went out on foot to hike through sheep pastures to a secluded bay on the eastern side of the island. There was still enough rain to keep everything cool and be annoying, but not enough to deter us. On our return trip, we climbed down a steep, rocky canyon and then past several secluded swimming holes. If only it had been 20˚ warmer.

On our final afternoon at camp, the clouds lifted, the sun came out, and the few visitors crawled out of their tiny homes. We sat at the beachside bar for a drink and daydreamed about what this place would be like in a month. It would be overrun with multi-generational families on holiday. The mini-golf course would have lines at each hole. The supermarket would be open. The picnic tables would be full. The hiking trails would be crowded. In warmer, dryer weather, the camp will be a vacationer’s paradise.

The southeastern tip of Krk Island

The southeastern tip of Krk Island

Our Mobile Home #27

Our Mobile Home #27

Sheep Paths

Sheep Paths

Stone walls & water

Stone walls & water

Krk Countryside

Krk Countryside

Vela Luka's Bay

Vela Luka’s Bay

Mama

Mama

The smallest of rock forms in the canyon

The smallest of rock forms in the canyon

Nik's scrambling gear

Nik’s scrambling gear

Baška promenade

Baška promenade

Swimming area

Swimming area

Towards Otok Prvić

Towards Otok Prvić

Small lanes of Baška

Small lanes of Baška

Useful Info:
Tu Tamo Konoba
Camp Buculuka

Nik’s Blog: Mostly Rainy in Baška, Krk Island, Croatia

Archives for May, 2015
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