Wednesday 3rd October.
It was a spectacular morning for our last morning walk in Zadar; mild, sunny, no breeze and calm waters. We did a loop of the Old Town and I’d previously suggested this might take an hour but it is just on 45 minutes. We packed up and left by 9.30 am for our hour drive down to Sibenik and the glorious weather made this trip rather enjoyable.
Our hotel in Sibenik, The Heritage Life Palace Hotel, is a boutique hotel set within the former 15th Century Palace Marenci and located on a little square in the Old Town but this put our Sat Nav in a bit of a spin. We eventually found the Hotel though and sorted out car parking and then settled into the luxury of our lovely room on the second floor. Given I’d booked so long in advance, we were granted one of the better rooms being a corner room with dual aspect doors and balconies; it is a little slice of heaven.
It was 12.30 by the time we were ready to head out but, feeling peckish, we didn’t get too far. We made it down to the square and to restaurant Kavana Medulic for our usual lunch; prosciutto and cheese.
After lunch we strolled through the cobbled lanes down to the 15th Century Cathedral of St James. This Cathedral took 105 years to build (1431-1536) and wasn’t consecrated until 1555; a period of turbulence following the Black Plague and various Ottoman threats. The Cathedral today though enjoys the luxury of being a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000.
After leaving the Cathedral we walked along the sea front promenade up towards the entry of the medieval St Michael’s Fortress, so named for the 13th Century Church that was inside. It was then a lengthy and winding walk up the hill through narrow lanes to the Fortress but it was worth it for the view once we arrived. The earliest written records show this area inhabited since the 11th century but preserved parts of the Fortress only date back to the 13th century and the medieval city of Sibenik grew up around this Fort.
After leaving St Michael’s Fortress we walked further up the steep incline to Barone Fortress as our ticket covered entry to both Fortresses. It was a hot, hard and rather exhausting climb, so much so, that we needed a sit down and a beer once we reached the upper Fortress. Higher than St Michael’s though, the view was spectacular. This Fortress, and the neighbouring St John’s (site of Game of Thrones filming), were built after St Michael’s to help defend Sibenik against marauding Ottomans and they were successful in this endeavor! We used an augmented reality application during our visit of Barone Fortress and this helped to take us round the site but, really, it is the spectacular view from this Fortress that is the main attraction.
It was 4 pm by the time we finished at Barone Fortress and so we wound our way down the hill and back to our Hotel to rest and recharge batteries, ours and those of our phones, before heading out for dinner.
We stopped at one bar for Mark to have a beer before settling on Stari Grad for dinner. Oh what a joy this was to see my main meal served on a bed of wilted spinach. I’ve already written a review for them on TripAdvisor!
Tomorrow we head to Split and we’re thinking that another night here would have worked out well. In fact, with hindsight, a minimum of two nights in each pace gives you at least one full day and that is something I’d keep in mind for future travels. From here we have two nights in Split, one in Gradac, four nights in Dubrovnik and then five nights in Rome. I’m a little bit homesick though and have been annoying the kids with Messenger but have now resorted to playing ABC Radio Online to hear some Aussie voices from James Valentine and Richard Glover!