July 21, 2012
[...] We drove up the coast, and I was surprised at the very arid and rocky hill landscape. For some reason, I had pictured the natural environment to be more lush. Our first stop was Krka National Park. Out of that arid landscape, a canyon emerged, lined with trees and tiered waterfalls. We walked on wood boardwalks through the leafy shade, small streams leading under us to larger and larger waterfalls. The most unique part of this park experience, though, was that the path led to a rocky beach and swimming hole at the base of the biggest falls. It was quite something.
Back in our rented car, we continued north to Zadar, a large city on the Kvarner Gulf. We wove through rather dilapidated 20th century concrete buildings and finally found our hostel. It was located in a quiet neighborhood where people grow large gardens with rows upon rows of tomatoes, peppers, and beans. After settling in, we walked to the old town of Zadar. It reminded me of old Quebec-- walled, stone alleys, 18th/19th century buildings. In fact, both have a very old church-- but while Quebec's stone church from the 1600s is the oldest stone church in North America, Zadar's church dates to the 9th century.
[...] As dinner was wrapping up, lightening started to strike. Then a drop... two drops... and a downpour. We raced through the slick paved lanes to a main gate, huddled with the crowds of dinner patrons who were debating whether to stick it out and stay for the nightlife or go home. We decided to slip into a nearby bar and try the local maraschino cherry liqueur. The rain subsided pretty quickly and we emerged again, but the wind had picked up and it was chilly. The streets were all but deserted, despite the thumping beats and multi-colored lights streaming from near-empty clubs.
We walked back to the hostel, and as we turned into the neighborhood, the rain started again. We ran in our flip flops down the street to the hostel.