We arrived midday in Sibenik, a town in between Zadar and Split, and a jewel to behold.
The old city is situated on a hill, with winding narrow alleyways made out of a smooth stone. Many alleyways were not marked and following one often lead to another, but we’d always make it back to a bigger alleyway.
There is so much history to Sibenik that I will not retell correctly, but essentially it was established in the 9th and 10th centuries. There are four foutresses around the city, built at different times from the 9th to the 17th century. Some forts were destroyed a long time ago in Turkish wars in the 17th century, some parts were destroyed during WWII.
The town feels like one that doesn’t just serve tourists. It’s got a Michelin star restaurant, Pelegrini, which we did not frequent but looked quite delicous. There are little cafes where locals gather, and the residents seem to know one and other.
The first day we wandered around and walked to beach to watch the sunset. It was a pebble-stoned beach with cool, clear water. We had our first truly Croatian meal at Buffet Simun. T had Crni Rizot aka black rissoto – rissoto made with squid and some herbs. I had Pasticada Dalmata, a day-long cooked beef stew with herbs and vegetables always served with gnocchi.
On the second day, we had a private drive provided by the hostel (for the same price as a bus from the center of town) to Krka national park. It is a fascinating land formation, of many lakes and waterfalls. Apparently one of the first hydropower plants ever was built here. Down side: sooooooo many tourists and tour groups. Krka national park has become mainstreamed so there were not too many places to hike off the main wooden planked trail. Boat rides to the other sides of the park were 2-4 hours long, and we decided we’d rather bask in the sun with the waterfall in the background.
Upon our return, we befriended another traveller, G, staying in our room, who is from Slovenia and Croatia. Following a recommendation, we headed to Vintage Bar with G to have a drink and see the Croatian band Vatra. We had a facinating evening with G, discussing international relations, learning about ethnic divisions, exchanging travel experiences as independent women, and after many repeated attempts finally learned how to say cheers: nazdravlje!
G recommended visiting Prvić island, a 45 minute ferry ride from Sibenik. And we did just so on our final full day. This island didn’t have a grocery store, but had a few restaurants. It was not deserted but busy seems too strong of a word to describe the motor boat and foot traffic. The water was marvelously clear, a light aquamarine color, and salty. We spent this afternoon also sun bathing with intermittent dips in the water.
Side story: around 15:00 a group of French couples probably in their late 50s came to the beach. The men came first, found a spot in the shade, and some entered the water right away. The woman sauntered over, changed, and chased the remaining men into the water. They played in the water – yes played! Snorkeled, splashed, jumped, swam! After a while, they came back onto the beach. The women left in search for a cafe. The men napped and sunbathed, with one snoring quite loudly. Another farted, which led to our conversation as he tried to pass it off as a snore from the other. The women returned, the group packed up their belongings, and the snorer told us to find his cafe in Deauville and he’ll treat us to make up for snoring. They boarded two yellow speedboats with a couple of the men sitting on top of the front of the boat, legs dangling, and rode off towards the horizon.
Our visit also coincided with the 57th Sibenik Children’s festival. There were so many children running around the street, or being entertained by spectacles, or running away from clowns. The first night there was a show from Singapore. On the last night, a show from Brazil. We were caught up in this commotion on our search for dinner. We finally found a nice place with a spiffy dinner, and finished the day off with an ice cream and drinks with G by the waterfront.
We had breakfast before our bus at one of those local cafes. We had the opportunity to witness the Saturday morning geezer crew take over three tables and migrate between them, teasing one and other, and sharing a newspaper. It was another bittersweet goodbye as we left at noon for our next stopover along the coast.
PS: lots of stray cats. Here’s one licking his/her chops.