Well, there definitely is something nice to be said about making footsteps along the Adriatic Sea. Since Split, where we saw the Palace of Diocletian and hung around this cosmopolitan city for a couple of days, sipping cappuccinos on the promenade or sampling some of the locale fare, we have moved on for wilder and more primitive attractions.
Just a bit more on Split; for our “free day” on Monday the 17th, I walked for seven hours around Marjan Peninsula – – here is the map:
near Split and saw some amazing Cliffside 13th century churches and hermitages, where the hermit priests lived. Here are a couple of photos of the churches I saw and the cliff dwellings of the liturgical shepherds. It was a very long and hot trek but the views of the Sea and islands was inspirational. Amen.
Beautiful Split from Marjan Hill Beautiful Split from Marjan Hill
12th Century Church of St. Jerome on Marjan
On Tuesday we moved up the coast to Starigrad, a scenic little coastal village that lies at the gates of Paklenica National Park, a deep cleft in the coastal massif that runs almost the length of Croatia. We hiked four or five miles up along a cascading mountain stream that was so clear, clean, and totally drinkable, according to the locals. Instead, I opted for a cold beer when we stopped for lunch at a donkey-supplied outpost/inn at a conveniently located spot halfway up the mountain. Our tour company also arranged for a prepared lunch of grilled local sausages on locally baked bread with this delicious Croatian vegetable spread called Jvar (I-var), made with roasted eggplant, red peppers, garlic, and onions all mashed into a paste. Definitely a product we need in the States!! Lunch was outstanding after the hike in and we savored every bite.
Paklenica High Mountain Inn
Paklenica High Mountain Inn – Valley View
After lunch, the group headed down the trail but I, ever the contrarian, continued up the mountain for another hour or so with one of the students, and came upon this wonderful mountainside inn that is literally in the middle of nowhere. They rent rooms out and have a view of the valley that is totally worth the effort getting there.
Our trip is winding down, and we have only a couple of more stops before arriving in Zagreb.
I am most excited about tomorrow’s arrival at Plitvice Lakes National Park in the mountains. Pictures to follow!