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Going to Škopje and the warmth

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Thursday 30 August, going to Škopje and the warmth

When we wake up we see that the weather gods have chased us: it is raining! The sky is one large gray mass and there is no hole in it to find. As a heavy blanket the clouds hang over the land and it is time to re-adjust our itinerary: the Plitvicka Lakes will have to wait, we want to see them with a cloudless sky and in t-shirt. Now we put on our sweater in the car because it is only 18 degrees, a lot different than we had imagined last night. Our expectations about the weather do not really correspond to reality and so is it with weather forecasts more often ... Quickly we go onto the highway, to the Adriatic coast, hopefully it is better there. But within half an hour it starts to rain, to splash, a real downpour!
We have not driven this new highway from Zagreb to Split before and the road is very good, but with the downpours that we experience now we can not drive too fast. We have now become so flexible in our travel plans that we are already considering to travel south to Dubrovnik, or to drive even further to Montenegro! At ten o'clock the temperature has dropped to 16 degrees and the rain falls continiously from the sky. I keep promising Elisabeth that it will be dry, but we both believe it less and less. And then comes the first long tunnel that takes us under the mountains. Finally dry for 8 kilometers. But to our big surprise we see the sun shining behind the clouds when we leave the tunnel! It is dry and occasionally there is a hole in the clouds. The next tunnel brings even more improvement, it becomes 20 degrees! And then it goes very fast: within an hour and a half the clouds disappear and the temperature rises from 16 to 33 degrees! We have experienced such differences before when we boarded a plane to land hours later in a subtropical country, but not in one and a half hours in 200 kilometers.
The center of Zadar The center of ZadarOn the way we made a lot of jokes about the weather, but we are still glad that the sun is shining again and it is nice and warm. We go to Zadar where we want to call our Croatian friend Josko from a terrace. But then it starts to rain, no, not again ... They are only small showers and the temperature drops but just under 30 degrees, so we are not discouraged.
Remains Stomorica church, 11th century 9th century Sint Donatuschurch in ZadarZadar has been a pretty busy place since the last time we visited in 2004 and it takes a while before we finally sit on our terrace. Josko does not answer, although he is normally almost busy with his cell phone. A little disappointment, but that does not stop us from enjoying the coffee, the weather and the atmosphere in the old city.
Park in Zadar Gate to the old town, Zadar Zadar is an old city and already existed in Roman times. Over the centuries the city has been regularly destroyed and rebuilt, but there are still many historical traces to be found, such as the Roman forum and various medieval churches.
Market in Zadar Forest-fire at BiloA walk through the old center (car-free within the gates) is definitely worthwhile. We stroll through the various squares and through the narrow alleys. A lot of restaurants and terraces have been added, tourism has again become an important source of income after the last war. At the harbor there is a strong and cool breeze and we sit down to re-adjust our plans again now that we can not reach Josko.
Fire-brigade at Bilo, Croatia Fire-brigade at Bilo, CroatiaWe continue a bit further south, an hour towards Sibenik where there is also a beautiful national park in the area. We are going to find a campsite and reconsider our plans. If we drive further, the temperature rises further, to above 35 degrees and we see occasional extensive roadside fires. The fire department is very busy here in the summer.
Bungy-jumpeing near Šibenik On the campsite, SibenikEventually it is 37 degrees in the shade when we find a campsite on the beach. Space enough, says the receptionist, just find a place, but the site is almost completely full. How will it have been in high season, we wonder. But we are completely satisfied now that we are puffing on the shady spot that we found. We wait a while before we put up the tent, but we have lost our tent-set-up experience and it does not work in this heat at all: in the end, it takes an hour and a half before the tent is standing and a lot of drops of sweat now feed the trees. I have become really grumpy, especially because of the raindrops that now and then start to fall. But the peeking neighbors have probably enjoyed themselves with my bumbling.
But fortunately it stays nice and warm and that is what we came here for. Until 12 o'clock we sit outside, doing nothing, just read a bit and relax. This is exactly what we were looking forward to for this holiday. Have we finally left the annoying weather gods behind us? With the tent half open to let in some fresh air, we go to sleep with a thin blanket. What a heat, what a delight! The thermometer indicates at 12 o'clock that it is still 29 degrees.


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