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Report 1912: Spring Time in Croatia

By Letha from California, Spring 2011

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Page 9 of 10: Split, Trogir and Zadar - Friday May 6th and Saturday May 7th

photo by The Waiter

Dinner at Vanjaka's in Trogir

We took the 11:30am car ferry from Hvar Island, Stari Grad ferry terminal to Split. This was a huge ferry that the tour buses also take and takes two hours (Kuna 265 for the car and kuna 39 per person). This is a bit steep but the only way we could see both Split and Trogir on our schedule, so well worth it. Oscar could relax and not have to drive back to the mainland and up the coast.

We were in Split by 1:30pm and headed to the old walled town, where we were able to spend couple of hours, again following the walking tour guide provided by the tourist office with a lunch break in between. The Diocletian Palace was well worth it and unique. We found this amazing trio singing traditional Dalmatian songs in the vestibule ... the baritone was hair raising.

We left Split around 5:30pm and let our GPS take us to Trogir where we had reservations for the night at Vanjaka B&B. The GPS crossed the bridge from the mainland to Trogir and suddenly announced that the Vanjaka B&B was to our right. We thought it was lost again as the area to our right was again a pedestrian only walled town, but as it turned out it was right on the money. Vanjaka B&B was on our right just behind the Cathedral. But we had to cross the second bridge into Ciovo for free parking by the waterfront and then walk back across the bridge. These are very short walks.

Vanjaka's was my idea of a B&B/sobe; she welcomed us with warmth and we were soon settled in. She also has a restaurant downstairs (Pizzeria Vanjaka, Trogir Radovanov trg 9-7) where we had dinner, one of our best dinners. We tried the traditional 'Pasticada' (a stewed beef dish with potatoes) which was delicious. We then took a late night walk along the water front. Trogir is really nice for a base for the central part of the Dalmatian coast.

The next morning, we got up early as Oscar wanted to get photographs of the fort and water front area in the morning light. I left him to that and walked right into the morning market where everyone wanted me to sample cheese and cherries! Oscar joined me after his photography session. This was Saturday and people were very relaxed with families sitting around having coffee. We too ordered coffee and finally figured out that if we wanted coffee with more milk we had to say 'bijela'; if you just say 'coffee with milk' you still get strong espresso. We sat around the farmer's market and also picked up some local brandy and then headed back to Vanjaka's where she had a generous breakfast spread waiting for us.

By this time, we had walked most of the old town several times, so we decided to head out so we would have some time in Sibenik enroute to Zadar. Apart from the cathedral and the fort which we hiked up to, the highlight in Sibenik was lunch at 'Peligrini' (just next to the Cathedral) which I had read was the place for seafood. But we were told there was no seafood that day! The story was that all the seafood was being sent off to the hotels in Zagreb and Split etc., (the more touristy areas). The really nice waiter then came back and said that the cook had a fish that he was cooking for his family's lunch and would we like a bit, compliments of the house. And we had a really nice fish dish along with meat dishes that we ordered and some excellent wine and after dinner brandy.

We then climbed through narrow winding streets in the old town to the top of the fort, where we found a pair with really professional cameras shooting a video. Since they had clip British accents, I asked them if they were from BBC and they said they were freelancers and hoped to sell their video of the Dalmatian coast to BBC (look out for 'two man productions!). We talked a bit about Michael Palin and moved on.

We headed for Zadar where we had a booking at Pension Maria. The Google maps of Zadar were way off (these are areas devastated and rebuilt after the war and we often found Google maps way off) but fortunately the Garmin map seems to be more updated and got us to Pension Maria, which was in a residential area. This is a family run B&B. Zoran, his 89 year old father who used to run the place, and the rest of the family greet you by first name and make you feel right at home.

Since it was already late evening, we decided to walk down to the water front and also check out the famous 'sea organ' which we did; very nice; there is one here in San Francisco too that we call the 'wave organ'. We then walked to the old town and was amazed at this hidden gem of Roman ruins with the cathedral built over the Roman forum. It was dark so we could not see too much.

Next morning, after a lovely breakfast that Zoran and family serve personally, we were to head to Plitivice but we decided to head back to this old town and it was well worth it. This was one of the best Roman ruins I have seen. It was Sunday morning so the square was again busy with families going to church etc. We sat down and had a glass of Zadar's own 'Maraschino (cherry) liquor and watched people going to the church built over the Roman forum, which was still quite intact in parts. I think people overlook this gem in Zadar.

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