Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 29 Zadar and drive to Lakes

We got away bright and early today (something to do with having no food left for breakfast I think!) We had a couple of hours drive along the coast to Zadar, a town that had received a good rating in our lonely planet guide for being interesting but not touristy. It had some Roman walls, a ruined Forum, and some lovely old cathedrals, as well as a good fruit and vege market. We walked through the middle, then right round the outside, which had recently been developed and was quite a buzzing port area. Today is 1 May, and it seemed to be a public holiday, so there was a nice relaxed atmosphere, and nobody was in any hurry. There also wasn’t much traffic, which is always a bonus, and meant we easily found parking. There was a sizable band in pink shirts and ties in the middle of the square, who seemed to be warming up to play along with an opera singer, who gave us a short burst, then stopped while the band was tweaked again. It seemed to be taking a while to get going, so we gave up and kept on walking round the old streets. These types of old places are really brought to life by the markets and shops within them, and the locals driving in and out through the big wall tunnel/gates.

We found a big supermarket to shop at, and stocked up for the next few days.

More coast driving. It was such a lovely day, the temperature reached around 27 degrees, so when we finally stopped for lunch at a fairly secluded spot right on the beach, the kids and Richard decided to go for a swim. They reckoned it was warm, but they had also said that yesterday when I nearly froze my feet off, so I gave it a miss! There was great excitement on the drive in because Richard thought he saw yet another snake on the road, but this time he thought it was dead, so he and Hayden went back to poke it with a stick and examine it a bit. It must have been quite fresh, because they came running back for the camera, reckoning that it was alive! Finally they decided it was in fact dead, and Hayden picked it up and brought it back to the camper to give us girls a closer look. Not trusting them at all, I locked them out of the camper until the snake was put down (so Hayden put it across the wind screen wiper of the car! It wasn’t overly big, and dead it may have been, but I still did not want it coming with us in the camper!

Refreshed, we drove on, heading inland this time, aiming for the Plitvice Lakes area – a highly recommended area of beautiful lakes and waterfalls, with nice walks. It was a couple of hours drive, climbing up into the hills through some pretty barren looking rocky land, then opening out into some beautiful pasture and forest, then more pasture. A beautiful area. We have found a nice camping set amonst the trees – it is quite large, and there are many other campers here. We have seen that the last few days there seem to have been more campers on the roads (mostly Slovenian), so it looks like the season has started! Most campgrounds open 1 May, so we should be pretty OK for camping from here on in.

Richard and Sarah have gone for a walk to the shop to see if they can get a map of the Lakes area so we can plan a walk for tomorrow. On the way in, we saw a sign for bears in the area. Hopefully we don’t find one, as all the kids want to do is feed it!