Yesterday we were looking at our maps to decide where we would go today. Main goal of this holiday was Hungary, but we have found out that we don't have much 'feeling' with this country. That doesn't mean that is not very nice and a pleasant country, but it just doesn't attract us. We have driven through the whole country, seen the puszta and the major cities, but there was no spark between us and the country.
To Croatia, along the beautiful coastal route
The Czech Republic and Austria are the two other countries we wanted to visit, but we still have much time left and looking at the map of Europe we said to each other: why not go to Croatia first, to the Adriatic Sea, have a few days rest at the beach and then sea again. We both liked the idea.
The trip southwards along lake Balaton is only 60 kilometers but it takes us almost an hour an a half. It is very busy on the roads in this touristic area. It takes us 3 hours to reach the border with Croatia, a distance less than 150 kilometers. At 9 o'clock the temperature was already 30 degrees in the shade, so our arms that hang out of the car window are slowly roasted.The moment we enter Croatia we see mountains lying in the distance. The landscape becomes very wide and we have nice views from the top of the mountains. Everywhere, new highways are being build and some are not even on the new map we bought just past the border. Later we hear that this is the first year since the war of 1991 - 1995 that so many new initiatives are developped in this country.
We like Croatia right away and we are very glad that we have come here. But these new highways are far from ready and the journey through the mountains to the southern coast takes a very long time. There is much heavy traffic on the narrow roads and our average stays below 50 km an hour. Well, that means more time to enjoy the views.
The road to Senj may be a very slow one, but it gives us beautiful views and we see much more than we would have from a highway.
From Senj we take the coastal route to the south: a magnificient trip and sometimes even exciting. There are many curves in the road, often a bit sharper than one would think when the curve starts, steep slopes into the sea and not many guardrails. It is impossible to drive fast but the sight is breathtaking. On one side the rocky mountains that have a stained look by the trees that grow erratically and on the other side the Adriatic Sea with its many islands and peninsulas in the distance.
Since we had no intentions to visit Croatia when we planned this trip, we don't have anything about the country, no travel guides or books. The only thing we bought at the border is a map with also some campsites noted on it. But the campsites we see are often along the road, they are very small, sometimes in the yard of a house and there is no beach, only a rocky coast.On our laptop we have software with information about many European campsites and we decide to go to Zaton, a small village north of Zadar. But the coastal road also takes a lot of time and we are getting a bit tired of the trip. When we finally arrive, this small campsite turns out to be an enormous touristic complex. This is the last thing we had expected in Croatia.
The first thing we do is to look for a bar, so we can have a refreshing drink. When it gets dark we put up the tent and since it is still very hot we start sweating immediately. We are soaked and exhausted when we are finished. Quickly we return to the bar and we look forward to have a few quiet days to rest and enjoy the sun and the sea.It is still 25 degrees at 11 at night and we enjoy being at the outside bar. The waiter is a very nice man and we feel very comfortable talking to him. Maybe he is just doing his job, but he gives us a very welcoming feeling and we are glad we found our favourite bar to be, so soon.
Travel through Europe and Africa
with Elisabeth and Teije