Hi-De-Hi!

Friday 18th May 2018

Cathy posting,

Last night we made our way to Dubrovnik from Split where we had our rear brakes repaired, we made the decision not to go through Bosnia, the Croatian Coastal area has a brief pause at Neum. Bosnia received 12 miles of coast during the break up of former Yugoslavia. We do not have motor-home insurance for the 12 mile stretch which we would need to drive, we could buy it at some of the border checkpoints but not at Neum it seems, we’ve read stories of long queues in summer mostly and backhanders plus other stories of being waved through and no payment. We decide to go by sea and road to Dubrovnik via the Peljesac peninsular, this is accessed via a ferry from Ploče, the Peljesac peninsular is supposed to be very nice with one easy road to drive along, from here we can access Dubrovnik, thus avoiding Bosnia & Herzegovina. It was 5pm when we left the garage, so Dave says he’ll drive for a while and we’ll find somewhere to stop in an hour to 1.5 hrs. We’ve been up and down this stretch a couple of times now! (when Cathy lost her hat!)

This morning before we went to the garage I made a meal in the Mr D cookpot so tea is sorted for later. We drive long the Makarska Riviera, it’s absolutely stunning and we didn’t think it could get any better! The roads in Croatia are superb for driving, wide, smooth and nearly always in excellent condition although as we going south and Pogo is left hand drive I am always near the edge and boy! there are some very high roads in Croatia, which also makes for excellent views.

We stop at a view-point for a photo and look at the camper contact website for somewhere nearby to stay, we use the off-line version which saves our mi-fi (wi-fi) and it’s only 10kms away. We are pleasantly surprised when we arrive that the price for the pitch, motorhome and 2 people is only 124kn (€16.79 after ACSI discount). We can park anywhere apparently, but what a strange site this is, it’s massive with lots of trees, just a few people here mostly in caravans, lots of old mobile homes, a pizzeria (shut), a shop that is open, a bar (shut), a restaurant (shut), we ate our spicy veggie tea, the one I prepared earlier, Blue Peter style, give me that badge!

Afterwards we decide to explore this vast place, there were many people about all wearing the same red T shirts? Walking downhill towards the beach area we see tired worn out buildings, a very communist eastern bloc era feel to it, put it with the beautiful Croatian coast – what a mixture!

Some workmen were putting up red bunting, there was lots of laughing and joking I said they were drunk! Dave says they’re just happy! when one of them decides to pee at the edge of our pitch I know he’s drunk….. 😦

Down on the beach there is a lovely sunset and we stroll along the wooded area offset by pine trees, the smell of blossom in the evening air, more of the red T shirts, we walk past another hotel on the edge of the site with lots of loud music, sounds like a party.

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Another beautiful sunset at Basko Plojce

And lots more red T shirts, we find out later that it is a convention for a Croatian food manufacturer and what a party they were having, we sat in a little rocky cove just listening to the waves whoosh up on to the rocks, such a natural sound but with  a party beat in the background.

Back at Pogo we head to the shop, we have no water left and Dave can’t be bothered to find the fresh water point in this huge place in the dark, so it’s a giant beer in a 2 litre plastic bottle

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It’s the same one we have been drinking, Ozujsko, just £3.30 for 2 litres. Made use of the camp site showers in G block, it feels like a prison camp, and the worst shower I’ve had so far, most of the water ran out of the door! There were only two to choose from and someone had designated the other one as their personal shower, soap, shampoo and flannel all ready to go!

We’ve off to bed early as we tend to rise early and we’re excited to be heading en-route to Dubrovnik.

Night, night

Cathy x

Zadar and a Hitchcock sunset

Friday 4th May 2018

We are still in the free car park just 10 mins walk in to Zadar, on the Dalmation coast. I found on my research for Zadar that there is a free walking tour (tips normally given) we have done many of these in the past especially in cities in the UK & Europe and the amount of info and humour is normally of a good standard and you see things that normally would go unnoticed. I tell Dave it’s at 5 Wells Square (because it’s got 5 wells) and whilst I’m getting ready would he mind if he gets the map on google maps and walking route, yes folks you know where this is going don’t you, he got the location of the company or the guys address instead of the meeting point, we walked for 20 mins in the opposite direction and it was hot! This is the 2nd occasion this has happened & I’m grumpy! The tour starts at 10am and its now, yes, 10am and we’re now 15 mins walk to the square, so off we go again.

We’d walked through the park and through one of the Venetian gates called Kopnena Vrata, Zadar is full of Roman and Venetian ruins with a 12th century St. Anastasia Cathedral, 5 Wells Square was a beautiful but small place, we had 1 ¾ hours to spare  until the next walking tour at 12pm, so we sat and had a couple of coffees macchiato veliki which are lovely and strong just how we like them, we also like the ice cold glass of water which we have been given in most places with our coffees. We sat, and people watched until noon.

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5 Wells Square, small and beautiful.

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Typical old Croatian house

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Typical Croatian washing line!

There are lots of tourists from Japan & China and they are always in large groups and they love, love, love a selfie and we love watching them as they are always excited about anything and I mean anything!

We spotted Eduardo the guide with the yellow umbrella and introduced ourselves, it’ll be just us two by the look of things, he also tells us he overslept, and he didn’t turn up for the 10am tour, Dave looks relieved!

The tour was very informative, he explained that once Zadar was the capital city and is the oldest continually inhabited Croatian city since 9th Century. It’s been controlled by the Croatians, Romans, Venetians, Italians, French, Austrian/Hungarian, so much history!

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Church of St. Donatus, 9th C

The 1991 Croatian war also known as the home war, meant many were killed and 10,000 left for other parts, he tells us that many Croatians emigrated to Australia, he says that most of the inhabitants now come from other parts and are not initially from Croatia, however there is a small Italian community of just a few hundred from when Italy controlled it.

Zadar was not too crowded even though there is a new cruise port and a very good ferry port for cruises to other islands.

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Training priests stood at the hole above (looks like a TV) practicing to the older priests below, now a private dining room in a restaurant

We finished the tour at 2.30pm ending on the waters edge by the sea organs and sun worship monument, the sea organ is built on the beautiful promenade it consists of tubes built into the steps and makes sounds when the water enters them, all you can see are small holes in the promenade, the sounds of the sea organ are very strange sounds like a whale! We will come back at sunset to see the Sun Worship monument which is a solar display, a 22 metre glass disc made up of 300 multi layers of glass which lights up in many colours and powers the lights along the promenade.

Back to Pogo for more blogging! And we need to clean the van inside, but it’ll wait one more day. We couldn’t be bothered cooking, so we ate a punnet of strawberries.

The walk through Zadar streets and back to the huge promenade was relaxing as the heat was reducing in the early evening, the sunset at 8pm was stunning and the film maker and master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock liked to stay in a hotel on the front and proclaimed the sunsets as the most beautiful in the world! A bold quote indeed.

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The water was very calm so not much sound from the sea organ. The light solar display was nice but we are told it now interacts with the sounds from the sea organ, so I suppose if you go when it’s breezy or the water is choppy then you get a better display.

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Sun Salutation

We went back to Pogo about 9.pm and there’s not much for dinner, so it was a crackers and cheese fest with little mini bruchetta from Lidl which we love, followed by chocolate washed down with some €2 red wine, got to love a throw together cheap dinner.

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We were listening to music on the iPad with the Bose speaker which were all fully charged as we’d had electric hook up at Camp Rozac when we heard a knock on the van and the drivers’ door handle being tried! We were a bit startled I must say. All our blinds are closed, and we’ve lowered the overcab bed already. There is a security company adjoining the car park and they have what look like police vans, the guys wear black T shirt and black caps, we opened the blinds to look out and saw a guy dressed as described above cycling about the car park, we assumed he was telling us to leave, he didn’t return to us but just kept going around and in between all the cars stopping and trying all the door handles and the boot of each car!! Strange we thought? he can’t be security, can he? no, reader he was not! He was a thief, we saw him remove something from one car and stuff it in is pocket! Disappearing into a hedge and then reappearing for another round of the car park, this went on for about 35 mins, we gave up watching and closed the blinds, 15 mins later he tries our door handle again or his mate did, this time I opened the window and shouted  “oi” “ go away” well it might have been something similar, surprisingly we slept well, Dave has the door chained to the drivers wheel and the bed is on top of that so no chance they are getting in!

Cathy