Getting here was a pain. I woke up the morning I was leaving, and realized I forgot to pay my electric bill. I had to drive to base, make a deposit, go to the bank, etc. I ended up making it to the airport 90 minutes before the flight left, so I thought I was ok. The first passport line was 30 minutes, security was 20 minutes, and the second passport line was 30 minutes…so I basically was the last person on the plane. Note to self, Ryanair has some great rates on fares, but they offer no perks whatsoever so show up early to the airport as the lines are like herding cattle…you are a number, nothing more, and they don’t care if you miss your flight…however, the flights are cheap, that’s why I’ll still use them.
Got to Zadar and grabbed a cab to the hotel. 20 minute drive, 35 euros. The person in charge of my hotel confirmed I had gotten screwed, oh well. The first day there was chill, ended up at a bar nearby my hotel, met some AC/DC fans and talked metal the rest of the night. Day 2 was Plitvice Lakes National Park, the highlight of the trip. You can check the pictures out and see why. I was with a tour group, Romeo and Juliet Excursions Zadar…they are great, use them if you have the opportunity. The park was huge, and the waterfalls were everywhere. There was also a brief excursion into a cave beneath one of the waterfalls. It was a nice mix on the tour group, met some Americans going to school in Lille, France, and met a couple hitchhikers from Edinburgh. Something about waterfalls, the whole majestic aspect, just makes them one of those things I stare at in awe. Interesting thing about Zadar, the excursions are only on the weekdays, not the weekends. So I only had Friday to see Plitvice, but there are at least 2 other national parks I want to see, so that means a return trip.
The rest of the trip was varied. I tried to find a good vegetarian meal, couldn’t, so settled for pizza and pesto pasta the whole time. The city is very, very old, but beautiful in a way only an old city can be. I went to the top of the bell tower and took some photos. I’m normally scared of heights, but was unusually timid on top of the bell tower, maybe because of the wind and lack of a proper guardrail, I probably could’ve gotten some better shots if I wasn’t so nervous.
I went to Preko, on one of the islands nearby…it was only a 30 minute ferry ride. It was ok, I’ve definitely heard other islands are better, so like I said, the return trip will have to take me to places like Dugi Otok, one of the islands that is a bit further out (the long island, as it’s called). I stayed in a place called Apartments 72, right next to Cafe 72…great place, I’d stay there again for sure. Thanks to the bartender Josip for all the great conversation. The guys I met the first night, I hung out with a couple more times…not just metal fans, but also NBA fans. I had heard Croatia had a big basketball following, their national team made the Olympic finals in 1992. I would love to catch a game on the return trip here. Petar and Ivo, I’ll be back in Zadar for sure, thanks for the Croatian hospitality.
So overall, Zadar was great, and I’ll be back, which is the best compliment you can give to a place.