After our exciting and unplanned trip across the mountains we arrive in Zadar, via the E65 that we had tried desperately to avoid. However unlike motorway driving in the UK, the E65 is a pleasure, with beautiful views. Including this one.
You don’t get this at Watford Gap. And the “pay by distance travelled” is genius. We will revisit the E65 again in the next couple of days.
Our trusty GPS has something of a meltdown in Zadar. Later on, once we get our bearings, we can see where she is trying to send us, but on this our first visit we find ourselves confronted with dead ends and car parks. Mr Fletche has the hump with the Fletchemobile #3 and parks up on the road where our apartment is meant to be whilst I try and track down our host Nina. Turns out that all the apartment guests have taken the 3pm check in literally and arrived together. Our apartment is bright, modern and airy, facing out onto the street. It’s not as well-equipped as our Dubrovnik home though, as we will find out when trying to cut a loaf of bread with a teaspoon the following morning.
We’re located right on the outskirts of the Old Town, and it’s just a 10 minute walk through Vladimir Nazor Park to the Land Gate on the eastern side of the town. With no particular place to be, we continue right through the centre of Zadar. The streets are quite narrow and a little dark and claustrophobic – and then all of a sudden it will open out onto a main square, where churches, cathedrals and roman ruins are awash with sunlight. We like Zadar. A lot.
As we continue through the town, I find myself veering off to the right-hand side. We’re definitely overdue a drink and The Garden Lounge has a daybed with my name written on it (not literally but I will arrange this for the next time we’re there). The sun is beating down, and Mr Fletche is excited to see some of his favourite Belgian beers on the menu. We like The Garden Lounge. A lot. Although the day bed, pillows and sunshine are making me feel a little sleepy. We contemplate going back to our apartment –picking up supplies along the way – but we’re content to stay out, taking a stroll past the huge ferry and joining the crowds listening to the moans and groans of the Sea Organ and watching the kids jumping off the promenade into the water.
We retrace our steps back through town to Trg Pet Bunara – Five Wells Square – and we have an early dinner here at Konoba Mario, watching the world go by from the terrace. It’s nice to spend the afternoon and early evening just relaxing after three full on days exploring Dubrovnik, Montenegro and Makarska. We make our way back to the Riva feeling a little giddy from the wine and free schnapps. Zadar sunsets are famously beautiful, but the clouds are low on the horizon tonight and we know Zadar can deliver more on the sunset front. We have two more opportunities left.
We move onto Caffe Bar Forum. Its buzzing in the square tonight, with abundant street entertainers and all of the bars are busy. My request for an El Diablo cocktail is met with a frown and a shake of the head, despite it being on the menu; luckily my tequila obsession can still be met with a Margarita. We ponder the street entertainer dressed as an angel and apparently levitating a few feet away from us, and spoil all the magic by proposing practical and logical solutions to this so-called illusion. (A stool, a stick, and a fake arm, we conclude. And probably a good sense of balance and a strong bladder.)
It’s 10pm and we still haven’t picked up any supplies. Half a bottle of luke-warm water rescued from the car is not going to sate our thirst and hunger. We run into one supermarket, only to be thrown out as they close at 10pm. I’ve spied a Tommy by the Land Gate, but that is also in darkness. Mr Fletche googles supermarkets – there’s a Konzum on the other side of the bridge! Which is also closed. We think we may have remembered seeing a fuel station when we drove into town earlier so we follow the outside of the city walls. The fuel station is not a fuel station. However, like a beacon in the dark, there is a glowing light advertising the Day and Night Market… Yay! There are some undesirables hanging around outside but we don’t care… we pick up a basket and start flinging in food and drink with abandon. I clutch the obligatory beer and bananas to me as if I’ve located the Holy Grail. It’s only when we get back to our apartment with our armfuls of breakfast supplies so we remember the lack of basic kitchenware…