Tuesday 2nd October
It was a slow start for us today but we finally set off for our morning walk by about 8.30 am. Part of the itinerary for this walk was to stop off at the markets to buy items for a home dinner; we had such a fantastic view from our large balcony we though we might as well enjoy it! Our meat and vegetable dinner came to a total of 40 Kuna ($8.65 AUD) versus our dinner last night that was 500 Kuna ($108 AUD).
Zadar is absolutely beautiful and I would highly recommend a visit here if you’re ever in Croatia. The Old Town is easily navigated although it’s a maze of little lanes and alleys but this gives the place its charm; it reminds us of Venice and the Italian influence is not surprising as it has been part of the Italian empire on and off over many years. There are a lot of high end retail and jewelry shops and, of course, a Gelato bar on almost every corner.
We had a walking tour planned for 12 noon and so we set off from the apartment just after 11 am. The guide for our walking tour is an independent operator, called Sime, and he is a tall, friendly and is as fiercely well informed about global history and geography as he is in that pertaining to Croatia and this helped to make his tour not only informative but very, very interesting. The tour finished up in Sime’s office where he gave each member of our group a glass of Maraschino to try. This is local brew of cherry liqueur and, although fiery, was rather tasty. Mark was very impressed and keen to purchase a bottle so Sime explained the rough location of the shop where this can be purchased.
Some of the points that caught my interest during our walking tour are below:
- The area of Zadar was inhabited by Greeks until Romans invaded in 1st Century BC and the Romans were in power until the 5th Century. After that it invaded by various Tribes of Slavs etc.
- Zadar was under rule of Venice for 400 years.
- Under Italian control in WW2 hence was heavily bombed.
- Only 1000 people left after WW2.
- In the 91-95 Serb-Croatian war: Zadar was the base of the Yugoslav army and so was heavily bombed again.
- Zadar today: Population today 99,000 but only 5,000 on the Old Town peninsula.
- There used to be 12 military barracks: now there are none as they are all schools universities etc.
- WW2 killed 70 million but the Plague killed 75 million!
- School and University are free in Croatia.
- In 1396 the first university of Croatia was built and this was in Zadar.
- Maraschino liqueur developed 500 years ago by Dominicans.
- St Anastasia Church: the Zadar Cathedral: she has a rather interesting life story.
- Croatia: has more than 85% Catholics yet there are no Catholic schools; all schooling is public and free.
The tour completed, we headed back to our apartment with a stop-off along the way to buy a sandwich for lunch. Our plan for the afternoon was to visit the Museum of Ancient Glass and to source out the red wine we’d had for dinner last night and a bottle of the Maraschino. All went along smoothly except we stopped too soon in our search for the Maraschino, eventually buying it from a supermarket when we walked a few more paces and then found the shop that actually makes the stuff! Needless to say, we could have bought it cheaper and in a nicer more ornamental bottle. After that we headed home for a dinner in and were looking forward to a meal sans cigarette smoke. This has been a real issue for us the whole trip as venues are full of smoke inside and in their outdoor dining adding an unpleasant tinge on all our experiences.
Tomorrow we drive down to Sibenik; about a one hour drive south from here.