King Ladislas was Crazy

King Ladislas was Crazy
Split, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Zadar is a gem . I wish I had been around in the 15th century to take King Ladislas for a latte and talk some sense into him. How anyone could sell off this place, especially for a piddly 100,000 ducats, is beyond me. Purely criminal. I arrived in dry Zadar with the Belgian Brigade around 7:30 pm. After being accosted by a German-speaking man with a sobe for rent in Borik, we navigated our way on public transit to the entrance of the great walled city, and then on foot to the centre of the “Old City”. As the town is 3,000 years old, no cars are allowed. The marble streets glow with a rich french vanilla patina, worn smooth from the billions of feet that pass over them. Even tired and hungry and with the weight of a not-so-small child on each of our backs, we instantly sensed a huge difference from Zagreb. The city felt upbeat, alive….I was going to say “happy”, but that might be pushing it a bit. The tourist office found us an apartment almost immediately. Good thing we turned down the German guy, because this was the cutest apartment on the face of the earth. Right in the old city, fully stocked bathroom and (3 foot x 3 foot) (Im not kidding) kitchen, all for the meager sum of 100 KN each (about $20). Dani, the owner, settled us in and went on his way, but not before sharing a glass of Croatian brandy with us (seems to be a trend). Finally,a nice person in Croatia!! We were so hungry that we headed straight out to an adorable Italian restaurant (recommended to us by the tourist office) without bothering to change out of our trekking clothes. Besides, we were just going for a quick bite and then heading straight to bed…..right? Well, thanks to our attentive waiter Stephan, “a quick bite and then heading straight to bed” turned into a long, leisurely dinner with lots of wine followed by a raucous night at Medusa nightclub with him and his friends. The girls were a bit self-conscious about our attire, but I advised them to dance like nobody was watching, and we did. Even though, clearly, everyone was. We were the first ones on the dance floor, and never left. (Yes, I was wearing my ankle brace now). (With dirty capri pants, a ratty t-shirt, and flip flops). (Nice fashion look). The cool thing about Medusa is that it’s built right over the ocean. In fact, off the terrrasse at the back of the club, there are stone steps leading directly INTO the ocean. We took this as a clear invitation. Flash foward to 3 am and Kim and Stephanie are now frolicking in the water, making sure to liberally splash “mommy” (thats me) on the sidelines in the process. We finally made it to bed around 4, and were awakened at 9 am by the peal of church bells outside our window. It was Sunday! The girls were in pretty rough shape, and admittedly, mommy was moving pretty slowly too. I quickly downed a Nescafe 3-in-1 (yay!! I am so happy to have been reunited with them!) and tried to get organized. Dani came down to get our packs around 10:30, and we headed out to find the world’s only sea organ. The sea organ is a series of organ pipes built into stone steps at the edge of the ocean. As the movement of the waves push air up through the pipes, sounds emerge from holes at the top of the stairs. The effect is truly mesmerizing. Sounds something like a cross between a whale, a squeezebox, someone snoring, and a train whistle. (No really. It’s beautiful!).We kept hoping for more of the big cruise ships to pass by (bigger waves = louder music and more chords). We could have stayed there all day, basking in the sun, staring out at the blue water and coastline. The Croatian Vespa Club (I’m serious) was also there, and I enjoyed seeing their colourful scooters lined up against the backdrop of the ocean. After “self-catering” our lunch at the grocery store (The kind Lonely Planet term for being too cheap or broke to eat in a restaurant), the girls and I separated for a while. I had the Roman Forum to explore, the Five Wells, and so much more. Just after photographing the five wells, my camera kakked out. I spent some time moping while staring at the fortified walls of the city, imagining the Venetian ships entering the port. We all met again back at the Italian restaurant for one last meal before heading our separate ways. The girls were heading to Pag in search of lace and cheese, and I decided to stay another night alone in the adorable apartment in Zadar. Unfortunately, three girls from England had the same idea, and the place was gone. Back to square one and searching for a place to rest my head. The city was booked up so I ended up in the youth hostel in Borik. What should have been a 15-minute bus trip ended up taking me over 2 hours. Nobody told me bus 5 doesn’t run on Sundays, and that bus 8 only runs once every hour. I could have hopscotched there faster. I arrived hungry but too frustrated to do anything about it. I found my dorm and fumbled around in the dark ( I love my headlamp!), trying not to wake up the German girl in my room. Like a fool, I decided to do laundry. Note to any future travellers: those laundry soap leaflets are totally useless. I basically just rinsed everything out in the bathroom sink and strung it up. Now my smoky, fishwater-smelling clothes (from the nightclub and the ocean) were smoky, fishwater-smelling WET clothes. Brilliant. Off to bed. The Chinese-water-torture DRIP of the bathroom plumbing ensured that I didn’t get more than a few hours of sleep. ****** depressing hostel. Was happy to leave. I was up and out by 9 am and on a 10 am bus to Split, with my damp, smelly clothes in tow. Next up: Split!

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