Croatia 2016: Makarska to Zadar… A Road Less Travelled

We wake up in our Makarska hotel room and we peer out of our balcony to see blue (ish) skies.  This will be perfect for our epic coastal drive to Zadar.  Our trusty weather app suggests we may be in for some stormy and changeable weather over the next couple of days, and we’re already rethinking our Kornati boat trip plans.  But for now, the weather is fine.  We settle ourselves on the terrace for breakfast – and suddenly the heavens open.  I’m still wandering around the dining room trying to find the milk (leading to the waitress being convinced that I have just walked in off the street and am trying to scam a free breakfast) when everyone rushes past me, clutching cups of coffee and croissants.  Back in our room we can no longer see the blue skies as the grey clouds roll down the mountains.  Croatia weather is indeed changeable.  And ten minutes later, the sun is back out, the skies are blue and we’re packing up the car, which has survived the night at its perilous angle.

Mr Fletche has set the GPS, and it seems eager to send us on the E65 Highway.  This is indeed the quicker option, but we have plenty of time today; we’re not able to check in until 3pm so we ignore the plaintive requests to turn right and continue along the D8.  Once more, we are hugging mountains on the right, and the sparkling Adriatic on the left.  We travel through little waterfront towns such as Omis, and wave at the exterior of the Le Meridien Resort in Podstrana where my friends are staying (I don’t think they see me.)  We skirt the suburbs of Split.  Our first fleeting impressions of the town aren’t favourable as all we can see are hypermarkets and high-rise buildings; we hope we will get a much better impression when we return here on Sunday.

And then something changes.  Between Split and Primosten, Mr Fletche decides he has seen one too many winding curves, beautiful seaside towns and glimpses of the deep blue sea, and is impatient to arrive at our final destination. (Seriously, no-one ever gets tired of these views, but Mr Fletche wants to experience the fresh Croatian air of Zadar, and not be cooped up any longer in the Fletchemobile #3.)  So after hours of ignoring the GPS, Mr Fletche decided to listen to her and take the next right-hand turn towards the E65 that she offers.  Which we do.  We now find ourselves traversing those mountains that we have been at the foot of for so long.  Snatches of “Climb every Mountain”, “River Deep Mountain High” and “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” are playing on my internal jukebox.  The road gets narrower and narrower and twistier and turnier as we climb higher and higher.  We do not pass another car.  Which is a good job, as we are now on single-track roads with no signs of a passing place.  It’s just us, and a hundred windmills.  We are starting to regret listening to the GPS.  We were happy on the D8.  This unnamed dirt track is not making Mr Fletche happy, and the Fletchemobile #3 has clearly not been manufactured with this type of excursion in mind.  There are signs of civilisation ahead.  Except it’s like a ghost town, and now the banjo twangs from “Deliverance” are playing on a loop in my head.

And just when we fear we’ll be lost in the Croatian wilderness for ever, the road widens, road markings start to appear again and we are heading for the E65.  We breathe a sigh of relief.


The nice straightforward way we should have gone…


The way we ACTUALLY went…


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