Skradin, Croatia – Nov 2017

Moving to the Region’s largest town, Split, tomorrow so today was always going to be a lazy day checking out a few more of the local sites. It started with a brief stop at Skradin, just a few kilometres down the road, to  top up with supplies (milk, bread, eggs and the local cheese, ham & olives – olives can be a bit hit or miss with me but that’s not been the case in Slovenia and Croatia; not when they are so fresh) and then on to the Krka National Park to find a nice spot for breakfast. I don’t think I did too badly…

There’s the Van parked up for breakfast and there’s the view I had to suffer while sitting in the Van drinking coffee and enjoying a rather good omelette (‘though I say it myself); I’ll have the olives later.

Further down from where I was parked is Visovac Island on which sits the Franciscan Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy.  Apparently it has sat there since 1445 but from where I was sitting you couldn’t see it for trees and I didn’t therefore bother with a photo. There’s another reason for not including a photo – I am told the monastery houses “a valuable collection of historical church linens and dishes” – At this moment I don’t need reminding of the chores that await me before I split for Split tomorrow. For those of you who think this is one long holiday; it most certainly isn’t! It is more a succession of Saturdays and things still need to be done.

In hindsight (that word again), I think I made a mistake travelling up the western side of the Krka River. Yes, I found a nice secluded spot to have breakfast but I was on the wrong side to approach the Roski Slap (another apparently nice set of waterfalls known locally as “The Necklace”). Well, if you ever visit this place and it is worth it you will be better informed than me.

It’s not my photo, but that’s the Roski Slap. Zoran tells me that, good as the falls are, it is more about the walk in along an 8 km trail from another place in the Park worth visiting called the Ozidana Cave. It is reputedly one of the best walks in the country

Giving up on the Roski Slap (this time) I spent the rest of the day exploring Sibenik and Skradin but, believe it or not, the best views of both places was from the Odmoriste (Service Station) next to the Skradin Bridge on the motorway to Split (a service station well worth stopping and that beats Watford Gap for views by a country mile)…

First photo is of the Skradin Bridge from Skradin and the second is of the same bridge from the Motorway Service Station (by the way, they don’t sell petrol at this particular Odmoriste)

Two more photos taken from the Service Station, the first being a photo east to Skradin, the second being the view west towards Sibernik 

Well. That’s all for now. The sweeter red wine here isn’t too bad when taken in quantity.

Lozovac, Skradinski buk – Nov 2017

Before yesterday’s bad weather complicated matters, my plan was to use Sibenik as a base for exploring at least some of the Krka National Park. I thought that plan had gone out of the window. However, by pure chance the restaurant I parked up at last night, in the hamlet of Lozovac, is about as close to the National Park as could be. It is at the Park’s southernmost point, near the “Skradinski but” (i.e. the Skradinski waterfalls).

I was the only customer in the restaurant last night (it’s more of a small family run taverna really) and with the owner Zoran having gone to a great deal of trouble to cook me his speciality dish (a kind of veal and tomato stew which I confess was very, very tasty) and insisting I taste his own locally produced red wine (which, regretably, was as bad as the stew was good) it was difficult for me to retire as early as I wanted to; so it was a late start this morning.

Today was going to be about orientating myself and leaving the Park until tomorrow but you know how things change. I set off in the direction of what I was told is an abandoned aluminium smelter plant. If so, it is the oddest aluminium smelter plant I have ever seen (and I have seen a few) but, I digress…

The “aluminium smelter plant”…

…complete with military pill boxes

…behind the “aluminium smelter plant” was a great view of what I assumed was the Krka River. I made my way down to the river and before I knew it I was in the National Park and very close to the Skradinski buk.

That view is worth exploring – all I have to do is make my way down to the river

And what a Park this is if these waterfalls are anything to go by. I took a number of videos too and one of them is posted on Facebook. I really do need to add a widget to this website that will allow me to post videos.


Chocolate Box Photo?

More about the park tomorrow. Zoran has prepared another of his specialities (and I’m already on the beer).

Lozavac, Croatia – Nov 2017

Parked safely outside today’s destination which is a small restaurant near Lozavac in Croatia. I should have reached this place within 3 hours or so of leaving the island of Krk but circumstances worked against me and the journey took more than 9 hours. It seems I was caught out by a White Bora that is headlining this evening’s news on Croatian TV because of it’s sudden severity.

I’ve been lucky with the weather so far but that changed last night with strong winds and torrential rain seeming to target the Van immediately after I settled down for the evening. I must have been woken 3 or 4 times during the night with rain hammering on the roof (I mentioned in an earlier blog that such heavy rain is going to take some getting used to). Anyway with a full 48 hours of unsettled weather being forecast I determined over breakfast to head further south. With hindsight, I would have been better waiting another day.

The winds were very strong as I drove back across the Krk Bridge to mainland Croatia and you’ll see from the photos below why I had to keep my speed below 25 mph. The Van was exposed to the wind and blown all over the place.

The Krk Bridge (not my photos)

The weather deteriorated throughout the day and twice I was forced to leave the motorway because of roadblocks. I wouldn’t ordinarily mind that kind of inconvenience but, as was also mentioned previously, Croatia doesn’t  use detour signs. You are simply directed off the motorway, compelled to pay the toll and left to your own devices thereafter. It is so frustrating.

Weather deteriorating; it is only a matter of time before the motorway is closed (but twice several miles apart and why oh why do they not identify an alternative route?!?)

Unfortunately the alternative routes I chose took me up and over some rather intimidating mountain roads. It became colder as I climbed; the wind increased; the blizzards thickened and the situation worsened (the roads seeming to become narrower and the bends sharper and the drops steeper). You’ll forgive me for not taking any photographs. I stopped just the once to take a photo and was quite literally blown off my feet.

I’d like to say it was soon over but it wasn’t. It took forever and, to make matters worse, there was hardly anybody else on the road. Not surprising really; it is a Sunday with a poor weather forecast and with the police closing roads left, right and centre. Mad dogs and Englishmen… etc.

Enough of that. All is now well and although the strong winds persisted throughout the journey to Lozavac, the really bad weather ceased once I was back down in the valley. Check out the following photo looking back – a different world.

Still a silly hill to have to cross in such conditions

So, what is the Bora? The Bora is typically a dry and very gusty wind that originates in the northeast and travels down the Adriatic (particularly the eastern coast and especially during the period November to March). The White Bora is characterised by clouds and thick snow up on the summits and cold clear weather and good visibility in the lee of the (coastal) mountains – that explains why the weather is so settled this side of the hills I crossed. The Black Bora is characterised by low clouds and reduced visibility but it is less gusty and is accompanied by more rain and snow. The White Bora bodes well for me tomorrow given that I intend hill walking in this the lee side of the mountain range. Here’s hoping…

Croatian news:   Tell me about it…