A quick pre-dinner stroll along the promenade from our sleepy spot to Selce town, revealed a small but pretty tourist town, currently undergoing major refurbishment work , it will be even prettier once the work is finished. Previously an Adriatic fishing village, the good folk of Selce have taken to tourism like a duck to water and have managed to win various awards in this field over the last few years, without resorting to high-rise hotels or apartment complexes. It was good to see after the horrendous developments we witnessed in certain Spanish and Portuguese resorts.
On Monday, we thought we’d venture down the coast to Novi Vinodolski and set-off, on foot, to hike the 6km around the coast rather than taking the main road. Unfortunately, we discovered it wasn’t possible to do the whole walk at sea level, but we DID manage to find a marked trail heading in our general direction which took us through a forest, over the rugged cliffs (the path being somewhat narrow and rocky in some parts- not for vertigo sufferers!) and down to a series of secluded coves which, due to their location, are popular with Naturists-thankfully, we didn’t see any on our travels! Whilst taking a breather and taking-in the awesomeness of the view from the top of a cliff, we were gifted by the sight of a couple of dolphins at play! We were delighted!
Eventually, some 7.8km after starting-out, we arrived at the currently-being-developed marina at Novi Vindolski and, since we’d managed to work-up huge appetites negotiating the undulating cliff path, treated ourselves to lunch in the marina restaurant. Once again, Harley was given a dish of water by the dog-loving waitress (she has a Black Lab, apparently!) whilst we perused the menu. Roy, being the adventurous sort, opted for a Black Squid Rissotto, which turned his lips, tongue and teeth temporarily black, whilst I stuck to a calorie-loaded Wiener Schnitzel and chips. Clearly, I need to widen my horizons on the food front!
Fuelled by a bellyful of grub and an Aperol Spritz, the trek back seemed shorter and less arduous than the walk out earlier! Funny that…..
Tuesday morning dawned and we decided to head further south to Paklenica-Starigrad in The Paklenica National Park. The coast road proved to be a much better choice than the motorway as it wound it’s way around beautiful, unspoilt coves and through pretty seaside villages, with a fab road surface and very little traffic to spoil the fun. A quick lunch stop in Karlobag was made before we reached our campsite for the next couple of nights – NP Paklenica Camping, just a stone’s throw from the small town of Starigrad and a short 2km walk from the entrance to Paklenica National Park. Needless to say, we planned to avail of the awesome hiking trails on offer!
Used mainly by hikers and climbers, the campsite was basic but had all the facilities we needed and it’s location, being right on The Adriatic, close to the town AND the Park itself couldn’t have been better!
We even managed to get a semi-decent free WiFi signal from the town – enough to indulge further our addiction to Netflix’s Narcos series about the life and times of Pablo Escobar! Well, we DID, until two Austrian registered vans arrived in convoy and parked either side of us thus cutting off our signal! As if that wasn’t bad enough, they clearly weren’t happy about not being able to park alongside each other and proceeded to glare at us through our windscreen as they quaffed their beers almost sitting on Sebo’s bonnet! What the heck??? Did they seriously think we were going to offer to move just to accommodate them? No way, Jose, or Jurgen or whatever your names are! Eventually, they gave up and took to their respective vans – only to congregate outside one of them well before 8am the next morning in order to have an exceptionally noisy communal breakfast. Really, is there any need for that type of behaviour???
Thankfully, they departed shortly after we got up and we hoped we’d never happen upon them again! We packed a picnic, donned our walking boots and made for the Park Entrance, leaving Sebo to rest in his peaceful, seaside spot. There’s a charge to enter The Park but, at only 40 kuna per person for the day (around a fiver), we willingly paid up and in we went. First thing we see in the car park? Those two pesky vans!
Anyhow, we followed one of the well-marked trails up to around 530m to a cave (only open on a Saturday at this time of year), enjoyed our picnic and walked back down. The scenery was jaw-droppingly beautiful and we can see why it’s such a “mecca” for walkers and climbers. There’d be enough walking here to fill a week for any enthusiatic hiker. The weather is behaving strangely though – thunderstorms, wind and heavy rain were all forecast for the day! It was warm and humid and the skies were alternating between sun and heavy black clouds but, thankfully, apart from a very short, light shower just before we got back to Sebo, we were spared the forecasted storms. Thankfully, too, there was no sign of The Austrian Foursome back on the campsite so we were in for a peaceful night and morning!
Unfortunately, the rain materialised on Thursday morning and we decided to decamp and head towards Zadar and then across the road bridge to Pag Island. By this stage, the rain was falling heavily and as we headed over the bridge to Pag, there was no point in me taking photos as they really wouldn’t have done it justice. Hopefully, the weather will be better for our drive back down on Tuesday but, just in case it isn’t (!), take it from us, it reminds us very much of The Scottish Highlands! Windswept by the “bora” , particularly during the winter months, it looks pretty barren for the most part but it’s undulating coastline, karst hillsides and the sparkling Adriatic Sea visible on both sides of the road make for a scenic drive even in bad weather.
We had planned to stop in Pag Town for a wander around before heading 10km further north to our campsite at Simuni but, rain stopped play and we just did a food shop at a supermarket on the outskirts of town. Again, hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to have a walk around in more clement weather on Tuesday.
For now, we’re in a rather nice wee spot, just a few metres from the beach and the sea on a huge campsite – Camping Village Simuni. As the name suggests, this is a massive site, with a selection of bars, restaurants, shops etc. Bigger than we’re used to but, thankfully, it’s pretty quiet at the moment despite it being a Bank Holiday weekend and most of the bars etc are still closed. The rain which fell on Thursday continued well into Friday too so outdoor activities for Team Sebo were temporarily suspended in favour of domestic chores i.e the laundry was done and Sebo was given a much overdue clean and tidy up. We also finished watching Narcos so now we’re on the hunt for another series to fill the void! Any suggestions, folks?
Dinner last night was eaten in one of the onsite restaurants – Mali Raj which, despite it’s name, is NOT an Indian restaurant! It has a fine Croatian menu, at very competitive prices and we enjoyed a huge Croatian Meat Platter for two people, along with a carafe of the local house red, all served with a smile and the usual two free digestifs. We were fascinated to watch two sides of salmon being expertly cooked over a fire in the main dining hall. Apparently, this is a typical Croatian method of cooking large fish, octopus and, in some cases, beef and requires it to be ordered several hours in advance. The salmon looked absolutely delicious. Mental note to look out for this in future and order in advance!
Thankfully, this morning brought us blue skies and sunshine, albeit a howling wind! At least we could don shorts again and get out in the fresh air after being cooped-up for two days. We took a stroll to the old fishing village of Simuni – once again, the fishing industry has been scaled back in favour of tourism. Lots of low rise apartments and houses advertising rooms and there’s a huge marina now installed but very little in the way of restaurants and/or bars. Still, it’s pretty enough, if a little lifeless at this time of year but the location is to die for!
We’re just going to kickback here until Tuesday and then, depending on what The Weather Gods decide to give us, we may head down to Nin and Zadar for a couple of days….time will tell! Happy Bank Holiday, folks! xxx