V - The road journey continues into Croatia.
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IV - The road journey through Slovenia continues.
To view our previous log entries please use the following link:
VI - The road journey continues through into Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Log Entry Saturday 18th May - Our camp is raided by thieves, we pack to leave for Bosnia & Herzegovina, another magnificant drive through the mountains.(129)
We woke to beautiful sunshine and lovely heat, the Island of Brac had never looked so clear, being the weekend far more activity on the water too.
Then, as I made tea I remembered about the chops we had left to cool, they were gone from the tent door way, I looked across the lawn and could see the bag I had sealed them in, and a rather guilty looking cat shot into next doors gardens! What a feast that cat had on us, the bag had been torn open and nothing left but the bones!
We packed up the car and took a final walk along our private water front, we talked about staying another night and enjoying the sunshine, but, decided to move on.
As we returned to our car we watched a small boy and his father pull up a fish pot, the small chap was not happy all he had caught was a small crab?
We said our farewells to the lady proprietor of our site and left, we were to drive south, down the coast then turn north east, over the narrow mountain roads into Bosnia & Herzegovina - a more picturesque route.
The road took us high, almost 3,500ft above sea level in only a few miles.
From up there the scenery was incredible, we pass through village after village, our UK registration creating lots of curiosity.
There was also an incredible mix of property, from large palatial dwellings to small single storey traditional stone built, we were now approaching the Croatian border, Bosnia lay ahead.
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VI - The road journey into Bosnia continues.
Log Entry Friday 17th May - We head into the city of Split to see what we can find?
We have the benefit of another site to ourselves, not too early a rise, but enough activity on the sea front to occupy our minds as we have breakfast. We plan to visit the old town area of Split and view the Roman ruins, we had enquired about the local bus service but as we needed to pick up groceries etc we opted to drive into the city.
Getting into the city and parking up is relatively straight forward, we get as close to the old town as possible, it is actually "Diocletian's Palace" we are interested in seeing? We have to make our way through the massive street market to get there.
"Diocletian" was actually a high ranking Roman, Government Official, he decided to retire from society and had his own palace and associated home comforts re-created here. The project began around 298AD and took around ten years to complete. We cross a park which houses a fountain said to be the original fresh water spring for the Palace?
Obviously over time things change, however it is clear that to assist the tourist industry various things have been re-created, as one enters through the crumbling walls the square housing the Diocletian Mausoleum/Duje Cathedral and bell tower stand in front of you, enhanced with bars and cafe's obviously.
The central square originally housing the "The Vestibul", the entrance to his living quarters stands out, there is even a couple of Roman soldiers kept handy for photograph opportunities?
All around are reminders of the times, each of the now existing buildings portraying a diagram of what that section would have been like originally. The narrow alley ways full of small shops selling their wares.
It is interesting walking around the area, plenty to see to excite one's imagination,
The brass gate and the southern basement entrance to the palace basement was also of interest, now predominantly, small kiosk type shops.
We paid a joint fee to visit both inside of the Cathedral and the tombs, however as it was throughout the area, one never truly got what one thought you were paying for? In the Cathedral, for another additional fee you could visit the "Treasury" and so it went on!
There was a similar "additional fee" structure through out most of the area, we saw what we were entitled to with our original fee, then in frustration called it a day and left the Palace. It was interesting, but a "tourist on holiday" may be fine with this sought of pricing structure, we were not, cash generation going a little too far?
From the ruins we walked again through the surrounding street market, heading for the ferry terminal, from there it was easy to make our way to where we had left the car. It was amazing to see the traffic and resulting congestion, all of the ferry traffic for the islands and international ferries to Italy etc was all directed to the harbour in the centre of the city.
The whole harbour area was very busy both with vehicle and foot traffic, to add to all of the the main bus/coach station was also located in the ferry terminal - one very large, city centre car park?
As the car was parked far outside the terminal area, our route out of the city was quite quick, we picked up the needed groceries and came across a disposable barbeque - what a way to finish the day off. As every man does, as he lights the barbeque, I drink beer waiting for the flames to take hold. We cooked far too much meat so we wrapped two extremely large chops up to cool over night, they would do for tomorrow, or so we thought?
We sat looking out into the Adriatic Sea, the Island of Brac disappearing into the mist as the sun went down.
Log Entry Thursday 16th May - After a day of rest we head south towards Split.
We were leaving our private campsite today, we had loved it to ourselves, the lady owner offered us 15% discount to stay another night so we took the discount on both nights and thanked her. The rates in Croatia were about half of that in Slovenia which suited us. To day however we were making our way south towards Split on the Adriatic coastline, the old town said to be beautiful?
When you talk about a contrast in days, today was a perfect example, checking weather etc, I had to cover my head and computer because of the brightness to read the screen - rain was coming!
The rain did come, we had been traveling for less than an hour and the sky darkened and the rain came and came! The satnav said the 245 miles would take 5 hours, it clearly did not know about the required road works, it actually took seven? The first fifty miles, until we hit the motorway was just constant traffic lights, the surface replacement was certainly needed as even without the traffic lights one was shook with the subsidence? We drove on a minor road high into the mountains of P.P Velebit National Park, thick dense woodland mostly obscured from view because of the low cloud. We then as we reached what seemed to be the peaks were on a "tolled highway" high above sea level.
When we eventually hit the tolled motorway, we stopped for a coffee but the weather was blamed for the loss of power there too? The road was now good and steady, saying that at £18.00 for 125 miles so it should be but the alternative would have put an addition five hours on top of the seven? We are fortunate to see the woodland through occasional breaks in the cloud, we are used to seeing warning signs of deer, here were posted warnings of bear and wolves? Probably quite unlikely as the highway is heavily fenced on both side, but gave us some thing to look out for, other than the cars passing us some times well over 120mph at least! Our trusty Golf chugged along with ease.
We did pull in at the entrance to the N.P KRK National Park but we found the views of sailboats moving on the water quite depressing, scenery was great?
The weather just seemed to get worse but, as we approached Split it seemed to dry and brighten a little. Split is a massive city, but it's acclaimed historical references we of interest to us, we headed further south where the most of the campsites seemed to be? Most of the area was still not open yet too early in the season here we tried two camp sites that were not interested in us at all, then we found one that was, and felt good too which was important to us?
We settled down with the benefit of our own private beach too as well as our own private campsite?
Log Entry Tuesday 14th May - We leave Slovenia and cross into Croatia.
We are now heading south toward the Croatian boarder, less than 60 miles ahead of us but, predicted to take us about two hours due to the type of road etc? The estimate was quite accurate, a pretty drive but frustrating behind numerous lorries also heading for Croatia. The scenery changed, perfectly green but much lower lying hills, pretty all the same.
As we approached the boarder just about every building by the road side advertised currency exchange rates etc, we carried on. Once through boarder control, both passport and immigration control we were easily welcomed into Croatia, the roads changed instantly to a "tolled highway," we made good time. We were heading for "Rijeka" on the Adriatic Coast.
It was only a few kilometres from Rijeka we caught our first glimpse of the Adriatic Sea.
Rijeka was just a large city so we continued south on the maze of concrete roadway, as we turned off the highway for our campsite on the island of Krk, we pulled over to take in the first coastal view of Croatia. It was a small coastal town of "Pula" far below us, very interesting it looked too.
Above us we could make out the under section of part of the highway we had just left, on the road side along side us workmen dodged the traffic tidying up the roadside. We carried on to the old fishing port of Malinska, were we found our site, it was very quiet, in fact we were the only people on it - just how we like it.
Once we had made our selves at home, or rather, put our current home together we walked down to the harbour, sat in a waterside cafe and had a glass of wine to celebrate our safe arrival, as one does! The town is still quiet, not all is open but it does boast over 260 days of sunshine per year - we will miss the rain!
As we sit we watch a couple of local sailboats come in, what memories that brings back! We will stay here a couple of days in the warm sunshine, 23C this afternoon, nice to feel the warmth on our bodies.