2016 Croatia - Dubrovnik, Split, Krka Park, Zadar, Plitvice Lakes

Croatia is full of things to see and do.  Anything from incredible nature and parks to Europe's 2016 voted best travel destination, Zadar.  In all I spent 7 days in this country getting to know a few of the  4 million people while cruising along most of it's 1770 km of coastline for a wonderful experience.  Croatia is truly stunning and a great way to round out my last week in Europe.

With an urge to get on the road and my Airbnb host entering the apartment while I was still in my underwear arriving 15 minutes early I hit the road with hast.  Sarajevo to Gacko was incredible C7/8R5T2/3V8.  Fall leaves, mountains, river valley, tunnels and villages.

With pants on (now) I was ready to go

leaving Rush Hour behind

Into the mountains



Yes a Lada!!!




























Riding through the river valley 30 km South of Sarajevo.

video



Curves and Colours



Remember this is the main road to Dubrovnik!

Tiny road side villages

Up on the mountain pass

Look at this spot

WTF, guys clean up after yourself

Vegan road lunch - Couple carrots, bread, nuts, water






In side a National Park we can see the money spent

Star Wars!!!



Watch out

above Gacko

KOGEL pronounced and spelled in English = COUGLE
and means BALL.

Where are you going?

Gacko to Restoran Jezero C6R7T2V8.  Nice views of Jezero Lake.

Look at this

More squid, yum!

Tiny, tiny car

More road hazards

View of Jezero Lake

Jezero, BIH to Dubrovnik started to open up C6/7R6/7T2V7.





I made it and was quite emotional to see the Adriatic Sea.  Nice to return to temperatures above 20C.

A smile for the Adriatic
video


Dubrovnik, a city on the edge of the mountains used in the filming of Kingslanding the main city in the series "Game of Thrones". This was probably the reason it was pretty packed in low season reminding me of Venice a little.  They must polish this place hourly as seen in the photos!

End of Season Side Story - I was told more than once locals get pretty tired by the end of the season, which was made very clear when I checked in to my hotel interrupting the owner lady's lunch.  She basically tossed me the keys to the room and told me to leave the money on the bed night stand when I left the next morning.  At least it was clean, comfortable and a good location just above Old Town.

RECOMMENDATION: After midnight swim in the Adriatic Sea outside the castle wall (and possibly naked to avoid getting salt water in your clothes).

I'm in Croatia!

Dubrovnik

Just beautiful


Tight passageways



Actually swam just around the corner at 3am!

Tourism or Locals???

Slipperiest step in Europe!

Once I cut my elbow I stopped my
walk about and started drinking!

The Hole in the Wall bar



Dubrovnik is CAT TOWN!



Saint Blaise

Let's do Split (200 km)...starting from Dubrovnik through Neum (Bosnia) for lunch and then closing the day in the rain, boooooooo!  A good ride with incredible views until the rain, C6R7T4V9.  Mountains and Adriatic sea with lots of curves.  

A day of Don'ts - filling my gas tank in double the price Croatia, not in Bosnia - having lunch at a place with no other customers, not a good sign - removed the padding in my right elbow to accommodate my sliced up elbow which on every other day no problem, but today in the rain on slippery old town streets I dropped the motorbike avoiding contact with a car while trying to take a photo, oops.  A day of don'ts.

Ciao Dubrovnik

Why is there a wall up the side of that mountain?

Ah, Bosnia has some coast too

Neum is quite lovely, but quite quiet in the low season

More tasty squid all for like 10 euros

Ah crap

Ah double crap

A break in the weather for a view





Well, I'm here now where the F! is my accommodation.  My patience is lower in the rain.

Son of a Bitch

Clear as... just before my little crash.

Time to buy some new rain gear!

My host Pera who spoke a little English was very sweet and even helped dress a new bandage.  Thanks!

A few days in Split involving some Beach time, walking the promenade, a few good meals and touring the Castle. 

Secure parking

Bacvice Beach

I liked the concrete and
ladders.  No sand on me in and out

Bacvice Beach in Split for a swim in the Adriatic.  Fresh and amazing!  You can even open your eyes as the salt content is lower than other seas.

about 20 C
video


The classic old boys

"I'll just cut across the train tracks to get to the promenade"

Bad ass catamaran ferry, FAST!

A pile of restos along the harbour front/promenade

Smoke salmon pizza and a beer 10e.

Awesome, a custom truck for the
traditionally narrow castle entrances

Split Promenade

Sail Boats!  Croatia has a lot.

Lagoon 560 (56 feet) and about $800,000

Love it!

He's more in to Monohul boats.



Split promenade walk and background sound of street buskers.

Moto parking is as good as disabled
right in the front
video

Yeah...

Yeah

So smoothly polished



Romanesque style



This dinner not so cheap
for what it was

Next plan was to get to Zadar, but I had some side things to do and didn't get further than Sibenik, which is actually the other "Game of Thrones" Kingslanding filming location.

Split to Sibenik (150 km), C6R7T3V9 - Some towns and so many Islands seen from the coastal highway!  And just outside of Sibenik I made my way to Krka National Park for a few hours.

Nice coastal drive just out of Split.

Mussel farms
video



You can do it

Gorgeous clouds and coast

Krka National Park is nice enough, but for 15 euros I've been to Iguazu Falls which you can spend a day or 2 at.  Hey this is Europe so anyhow, if you are tight on time this park is not a necessity, but I had time so have a look.

Hey this is alright

So clear!

The main attraction

This photo is after I said "no".  She was not impressed



Krka National Park

The main attraction a reverse angle
video

One night in Sibenik.  Unfortunately this time of year it was quite quiet and the owner of my apartment almost didn't take my reservation seriously.  I waited in front of his converted office to apartment for 25 min in spitting rain.

RECOMMEND: Follow your friend Slavica to Gastro Italiano.  McDonalds Sibenik off the highway was so good I went there 3 times only for the internet of course as I haven't eaten Micky Dees for years.

NOT RECOMMENDED: Going to the last restaurant open on the Promenade were the chef and waitress are smoking.  Even better when you ordered no hair on your pizza, but they don't quite understand you.

Not a bad last minute rental. I guess
 it used to be a Driver's school office.
Sibenik Cathedral

Sibenik Promenade

Sibenik to Zadar (100 km), but first the Biograd Boat Show!  Not a lot of coast C4R7T4V6/7.

Actually not as much coastal riding as I thought

It's like you are wearing nothing

Sexy girls to help sell product

Sand test pit for anchors

Only $100,000, not bad really

Biograd Boat Show, this is pretty cool once you get to tour through the boats!

Huge 57', look at the dinghy storage
video


Is this for sale??

Motorbike sales and boats.  Ok, my life does make sense.


Jeanneau 64
$1,000,000 euros or so

That's a lot of space

Like an executive lounge

Ciao Boat Show.  I'll be back to buy one!

Rolled in to Zadar around 6pm and used the tourist office internet to book a place last minute, which worked out well and was inside the castle walls in Old Town (it's a big Castle).  Zadar, ranked Europe's Best Destination 2016 did not disappoint and was for sure a highlight of my trip having good food, great sites and some very friendly locals.  Easy to cover a lot of ground here in only a few days.

Leaving the boat show with only
50 km to Zadar

On the road that circles Old Town to my left

Big sail boat
  
Tatijana's Zadar apartment.  A very serious woman like I was finding in a lot of Croatia, her apartment did not disappoint.

Spectacular!
video


Trogirski Bridge

Tuna skews, all right!

Impressive view of the unimpressive
Market from my window
Rip off prices.

Dried fish snack or may be for soup??

Svarog Bar (God of Blacksmithing,
Law and Fire)

South side of the castle along the Adriatic.

Incredible spot!  Adriatic sea fed pool
with 10 m diving platform


Zadar Sea Organ, how cool.  Have a listen.


video

Shot from the Sea Organ

Shot from the Sea Organ Steps


Zadar Young Busker - Blowing in the Wind

Ruins conserved in Zadar
video

Restaurant Bunara, Glass floor would trip you out if you
had too much wine.

Delicious Trout

Really, it's true!
Drunk Danny, Pieter, Ivo, Marko, Me

Zlatni Kutic - Golden Corner
RECOMMEND: Bunara Restaurant, Zlatni Kutic and lots of Rakia shots.

Rakia Bar Crawl Side Story: With no plan at all and having a cough I decided to go on a Rakia Bar Crawl.  Basically go from bar to bar taking a different shot of Rakia which was originally homemade Croatian wine/moon shine coming in more than 20 flavours ranging from 13 to 60% alcohol.  Of course the Honey one is tasty and good for the throat, but only 20% alcohol.  

The crawl started slow as I was a little shy sipping my shots at the first 4 places.  Truly a good way to see different bars until you find that special spot which I did at Zlatni Kutic.  Their loud rock music drew me in to the tiny spot. I didn't think I would stay long, but Pieter the "Norm" of this bar began a chat with me and the "Eric Bana" looking bartender Ivo recommended another type of Rakia I had not seen before and then after that he poured me another and then another and well let's just say we added a few more guys to our war party and went to Svarog Bar (one of only a few bars going late in the low season).  Thanks to Pieter and Ivo and the entertainment of Marko the Dance Machine and Drunk Danny.

Last day, obviously a tough start to Plitvice Lakes after a few good nights with the boys in Zadar.  Worth it!  Although my GPS wasn't sure it seemed all roads lead to Plitvice Lakes which surrounding area of hotel full towns is hard to miss.  

Obravac to Gracac climbing up the mountain.  C7R6/7T2V6/7.  Gracac to Plitvice, full of fall colours C5R7T2V7.

Let's go Bandit

Let's get off these toll roads!

That's better

Ostriches???

Holy Moly look at that pipeline

Who knows what's going in there

Wow

Here we go

The lay of the land

Amazingly clear water

A quick boat ride to the trails. I took 'E' 2-3 hour trail






High water so lay a plank over the bridge



Very cool.

Clear on Clear

Must be a good shot that way

not bad

What ya got boys?







Oh, nice.



Didn't realise it was an incline
walk for 3 hours

Incredible

Walking up to the bus back home


"I know, my life stucks.  I just carried my dog 3 hours around
these F'ing Lakes!"
  
Croatian Jurassic Park Buses

Plitvice Lakes video.  Everyone I told I was going to Croatia recommended this place and I'm glad I made the trip here.

Exhausted, but worth it
video


Finally, on to Rijeka to stay in a Botel for the night.  All in only 300 km, but a 10 hour day with 5 km of hiking at Plitvice.  

Did I already say my GPS was acting up on this day...Well as the road continued to narrow many times I thought it may dead end.  Luckily I found the eye of the needle to get me over the mountains.

Route 42 from Plitvice Lakes to Ogulin through the outback.  C5R4/5T2V5/6.
Ogulin to Rijeka on the motorway, Chilly through the mountains. C3R8T2V6. 

No centre line, oh shit

And then gravel

Tree railings

Oh, I'm here.  Where ever this is?

Yes, back to a centre line.

One of the many towns on the
way back to the tolls

the Croatian Heartland

Full blown high

Lots of colours





Botel Marina in Rijeka 
Rijeka Botel dorm room.  How cool this fit out freight ship was.

RECOMMEND: Botel Marina.

Botel Reception
video


Fried sardines was as it sounded. Ok and cheap,
but only a one time thing.