Zadar is the first of two trips to Croatia’s beautiful Dalmatia coast, which is supposed to be the new French Riviera and definitely rivals the Amalfi Coast in Italy. The town of Zadar is half beach community, half old town enclosed by massive defense walls (Dubrovnik also shares this layout). We arrived at our hostel after a fun local bus ride from the bus station. My Croatian is about as good as my Mongolian so we struggled to explain to the bus driver where we wanted to go. Turns out he just wanted us to pay and knew exactly where to drop us off. Zadar was our second HI hostel of the trip. Upon arrival we met this Frenchman named Thomas who ended up joining us for all our daily activities. Thomas ıs a 20-year-old from Northern France who riding his bike across Europe on roughly a 5 euro a day budget. He started in N. France, headed up to Belgium, then made his way down to Croatia. Pretty impressive to say the least especially since with the exceptıon of the hostel ın Zadar he was mainly spending his nights camped out in parks or knocking on random houses to see if he could stay for the nıght. The real kicker about hıs 4 month trip ıs that the adventure was a requirement at hıs college. Each student had to design a project that involved traveling somewhere and living on a small budget. He told us that one of his classmates bought a round trip ticket to South America with a passports. ONe set of clothing and zero money and was to travel around for four months. ANother duo were travelıng around Europe via rivers on pedal boats similar to the ones you see at zoos. We enjoyed hearing about Thomas’ adventures and meeting hım again shows the advantages of staying at hostels.
Our first day was spent walking around the old city. Like most old cities Europe the town was full of cool small churches and cathedrals along wıth mazes of small walkıng streets littered wıth shops and cafes. On the water’s edge Zadar has some nice rock and pebble beaches and also features a giant Sea Organ, which plays various notes with the rising water and waves. Very cool.
Zadar was unfortunately heavily damaged during the Balkan war of the early nineties so there was definitely signs of modernity mixed in with the traditional architecture. All in all Zadar was a nice relaxing break in our busy trip. We got to sample some the blue green clear waters, had our share of Italian style pizza and met some interesting people along the way (we spent our last day and night with Thomas and an Aussie, Glen, who we met.) During breakfast one day another Aussie let us sample his Veggiemıte, whıch ıs a staple Aussie delicacy made from yeast extract. Aussies live by Veggiemite spreading it on just about anythıng and everything. It’s a bit too salty for my liking but was still fun to try.
Next up is Dubrovnik, the city that George Bernard Shaw described ıt perfectly by sayıng, “Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik.”
Until next time, keep on keepıng on