Thursday, September 26, 2013

You Always Meet Twice In Life- Zadar,/Silba/Premuda/Sibenek, Croatia

After a month of being apart we were reunited once again with our two favourite sisters from Melbourne Rhiannon and Carly. Beyond excited to have the dream team back together we couldn't wait to spend the next couple of weeks exploring the delights that the Northern Croatian Coast has to offer and its many secluded near by islands. 

First on the list was the town of Zadar. Of course upon arrival we had no initial plans what so ever and found ourselves taking up an old local man at the bus station when he offered us his apartment not far from the city centre. Unlike the likes of Dubrovnik and Split, Zadar is a lot more relaxed and a lot less touristy which was perfect for us. We spent most of our time catching up with all the latest travelling gossip and unwinding down at tiny local beaches. 

Zadar's greatest attraction is its sea organ. Built into steps along the ocean shore it plays the sweetest melodies as the waves come crashing in echoing through the organ pipes. It was the perfect spot to wrap up the day, sitting back and watch the sun set play across the sky listening to the music of the ocean. 

Without to much research we hopped upon a ferry and found ourselves in the tiny bohemian island of Silba. With a population of 292 we were amongst a mere few tourists, most of which were just Croatian holiday goers visiting their holiday houses. One of my favourite things about the islands was the fact that it had no cars and no public transportation. Instead the towns people used a small two wheeled cart that they pulled along to get by. 

Going out on a limb we hadn't booked any accommodation. An extremely risky move we had learnt upon arrival. With their tourist information office not having much to offer we headed to the local bar to continue our search on wifi and aid any self doubt with beer. With little to no hope I asked the bartender if we could come stay with him for the night as we were currently homeless. At first he laughed it off until he realised we were being completely serious. Although he politely declined he came rushing back over moments later telling us his friends apartment was free for one night and that we could rent it off him for a very low price. It was possibly one of the most perfect surreal outcomes. 

What it lacked in size it sure made up for in quality. Silba was pure perfection. On the one night we were in Silba, the towns people were hosting two festivities. One was a local fish party down by the marina where a local band played and all the young children ran around dancing whilst there parents drank and feasted on the amazing barbecued local fish. The second was down by the ocean and featured two of Silba's very own hip hop rap artists, that were the equivalent of something straight-out of the television show Fat Pizza. We had a lovely evening bouncing between the two parties joining in on all the local fun.  

Having such a great authentic experience in Silba we decided to venture out further to an even smaller and quieter island Premuda. Know as a haven for diving experts we were not really sure what to expect upon arrival. Jumping off the ferry we soon realised we were completely out of our depth as we arrived onto a tiny village housing nothing more then a mini mart, two restaurants and a postoffice that was always closed. With wifi being completely non existent on the entire island it quickly dawned upon us that all our luck might have run out. Talking to a local at the bar we learnt that our only hope was to walk around the village knocking on any doors that had little apartment signs. Luckily both Rhiannon and Carly could speak enough Croatian to try and negotiate us a place to stay. We found ourselves being taken in by a lovely old Croatian lady who opened us into her world. Every day baking us the freshest bread and yummiest Croatian cakes we had struck gold once again. 

News began to spread like wild fire that four Australians were on the island. Locals were approaching us in the streets asking if the rumours were true and if that in fact we really were Australian tourists. Not only were we the only Australian tourists we were the ONLY tourists. Which made perfect sense once we learnt Premuda had a population of just 64. The town itself gave off a creepy mysterious vibe as we explored through the streets we came across many abandoned old houses which were still fully furnished yet half torn down that reminded us of doll houses. Talking to the local bar maid we were told "There is a special vibe here in Premuda. Sometimes things happen and sometimes they don't. Have no expectations and just see what happens". I wasn't sure if that reassured me or just made me think I was stuck inside a horror movie. But in the end it seemed to prove more magical then horrific. 

The isolated beaches were some of the most pristine crystal clear waters I have ever seen in my life. It was a divine place to swim and explore the waters, truly a slice of paradise. One of the mysterious things that did happen whilst we were in Premuda was that all our photos from both Silba and Premuda had been completely whipped from our memory sticks. Meaning that any evidence of these little treasures will remain untouched for all to see. At first I was upset but now I find it kind of warming that these memories and images will remain forever amongst the four Australians who shared an unforgettable experience together on the scheduled islands off Zadar.

Heading back to the mainland it was yet another unplanned debacle ahead. Having no wifi access it was impossible for us to organise any accommodation. After a long ferry ride we arrived into Zadar at midnight and being the weekend every hostel was booked out and with apartments being the main accommodation on the island we couldn't just knock on doors like we normally would because of the awkward timing. There was no where left to turn but the streets until sun up. Walking through the town square like a sign from above we were called out too "Oi you Jafa's " from a drunken young Canadian boy hanging out from the window of his hostel room. He invited us up to his room to drop off our bags and insisted we go out drinking with him and his roomies for the night. The boys were beyond thrilled their mate found a bunch of homeless Jafa's which we soon learnt stood for "Just Another Fucking Australian" to party it up with. We all made a quick pact were we all promised not steal any of each others belongings, and with that we took off for an open air club for the night. Ruined we ended up sleeping on the floor of the hostels common room and did a sneaky breakfast steal before flexing it to the bus stop and setting off on the next whirl wind adventure. 

Jumping on a bus heading south we made our way down the coast and found ourselves in the small town of Sibenik another beautiful Croatian mediterranean old town. With James taking charge it meant we finally had a place to stay so there was no worries and no random door knocking to be done upon arrival (he's such a spoil sport sometimes). Lacking some adventure we headed for the towns major attraction Krka National Park. Named after the river it encloses, its main purpose is to educate people using tourism activities whilst protecting the Krka River. We spent the day wandering through the lush green foliage and past the waterways spotting many different types of schools of fish, slithering snakes and other hidden wild life. 

The number one attraction in all the park is the Skradinski Buk. A natural clear pool that is surrounded by 17 cascading waterfalls flowing one into the other. We couldn't have asked for a better end to our day and to our time in Croatia. Floating around in the refreshing waters of one of Croatia's most magnificent natural wonders.    

Although we all tried our hardest to procrastinate the time had come to say our goodbyes. As the girls were meeting up with there parents in Split to continue there time in Croatia it was about time for us to bid farewell and make a move after a month of Croatian sea and sun.
 On the adventure of a life time the people you meet along the way and the friendships you make are the kind that you cherish forever. This is most certainly not the end yet simply the beginning of many great things to come between four young travellers. 

The Wanderer's Daughter xx

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