Paklenica

We plan to take the ferry at 10h30, because it’s a holiday and we don’t want to rush (the one before leaves at 8h30). Breakfast outside in the sun, there is no wind at all. I have trouble fitting everything back in the trunk, I’m thinking it’s because the dirty clothes are not nicely folded but all bunched together. We load up and drive to the ferry port. On the way we get stopped by the police, who in a very friendly manner and passable English ask to see my driver’s license. We are nicely in time and take the planned ferry. On this side, same as on the other, there is a separate lane in the street to queue for the ferry. It’s more than 2 km long, we cannot imagine the number of people on this island in the summer.

On to NP Paklenica, the park ranger tells us to park at the entrance of the park (P2), it must be because the parking at the start of the gorge (P1) is already full. We get a bit grumpy about that, but as it turns out we are in the right spot to take the educational trail up, instead of the boring road. There’s nobody else on it, though it’s a very nice path and the information panels are interesting. No schools this time either.

Once we get to P1 we see there must be quite a crowd inside, many local cars but also tourists. The broad path through the gorge is used by rock climbers as a base for climbs up the steep gorge walls. Some are only 10 or 15 m high using paths secured with pitons and ropes, others are hundreds of meters high up and must be climbing without security. Most of the people we see on the walk are fast, young, muscled and jingle when they walk because they’re carrying their climbing gear. Personally we’re not that fond of climbing and we don’t get very far up the gorge, because the path is very steep and rocky. It’s very warm and there is no wind, we think this is a good reason to have an ice cream on the way down.

We drive on towards Zadar, where we have a romantic package booked in Hotel Iadera. When we arrive at our room there is a bottle of Croation bubbles waiting and an impressive stack of strawberries dipped in chocolate. The room is very nice, with a view on the swimming pools and the sea. We have a swim, a bath and a copious dinner in one of the hotel restaurants. We book our romantic bath for 4 pm the next day and plan to visit Zadar in the morning. It seems cruise ships are stopping over at Zadar since last week, so we’ll try to be early to avoid the crowd.

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