Thursday, May 29, 2008

Now travelling by car

We picked up a car on Tuesday morning and set out from Split. Our first stop was Trogir, a town with an in tact medieval section. Again, it was interesting to see how the historical buildings survive and most are still lived in. The cathedral, though small was interesting, with incredible carvings around the front entrance. These date from the 1300s. There were beautiful carvings in stone of Adam on a lion on one side and Eve and a lioness with her cubs on the other. The central square also had a building with columns decked in garlands. The streets twist and turn and it was fun exploring.

After leaving Trogis, we climbed a mountain, with many s-curves, some with hairpin turns. The views down to the sea were spectacular, but Paul had to keep his eyes on the road. The Adriatic side of the mountains are barren. There are many stone walls running along them, which no longer seem to serve a purpose except, perhaps to reduce erosion. The soil is parched.

We continued along through a plain at the top of the mountain, where there was a little more agriculture, but not a lot. Then the motorway - it is straight, and the scenery was mainly uninteresting. We did see a wind farm and went over a beautiful river, but otherwise, it almost made the 401 look interesting. Just nearing the turnoff to Zadar, we saw some large mountains in the distance that reminded me of western Colorado - a plain that suddenly meets mountains that seem like a backdrop from a movie set. As we left the highway heading to Zadar we saw more farming interspersed with wild flowers - even a couple of fields covered with scarlet poppies. I love the wild flowers.

Once in Zadar, we found a place to stay - lucked out with a studio apartment away from the centre of town, right on the Adriatic. We can sit on our balcony and watch the waves lap in.

Zadar dates back to Roman times and before. Like Split, the old area of town is an eclectic mix of buildings from many eras. We visited a church dating from the 9th century. It was St. Donat, which has a lot of meaning for me as we had country home in St. Donat in the Laurentians for over 30 years. The church was round- without much decoration. It was built on top of what was the Roman forum when Zadar was a Roman city. You can still see remnants in the church.

One interesting thing we saw is much more modern - the sea organ. This looks like a series of steps to sit on at the edge of the sea. However, there are pipes which lead from the sea into a chamber. The pipes have fipples and so as the waves come in and out they play specific notes. The intensity and tempo changes with the speed of the waves. It was a very pleasing and relaxing time, listening to the music of the sea.

The weather was very hot, so we moved slowly. Some strolling, some sitting and relaxing and a bit of time at a beach. This is truly a lovely area.

Travelling on...

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