Exploring The Dalmatian Coast

dalmatian coast
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dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast
dalmatian coast

Discovering the coastline, riding bikes to the beach and diving off a small cliff.

As I revel in the warmth of my 2nd Canadian summer, I’ve been thinking about a trip I took last year to attend the wedding of some close friends in Croatia. The couple, Australian friends who work in the humanitarian sector and have spent the last several years living in places like the Solomon Island’s, Afghanistan, Georgia and the Ukraine, were tying the knot and what’s more—they decided to do it on an island on the Croatian coast. After missing out on the opportunity to visit them in some of the far flung lands they’d been working in, I was not going to skip this one.

The bride’s parents (who are Australian) are originally from Croatia and still have family and a house in the coastal city of Zadar, so it was there that guests started flying in from all over the world to meet up a few days before the wedding.

Having been in Europe for a couple weeks prior to arriving in Zadar, thankfully there was no jet lag to contend with, so shortly after arriving, we headed to the beach just outside of town for a swim and a bit of relaxation. A few of us had landed that afternoon and we ended up mixing with some teenagers playing beach volleyball on the courts next to the beach. Clearly they’d had at least a summer of practice more than those of us from the southern hemisphere, but they enjoyed our enthusiasm and eagerness to compete. I like to think we held our own.

The following day, we explored more of the coastline, riding bikes to the beach and diving off a small cliff which provided a cool bouldering spot for at least one local climber who seemed all too used to looking up and seeing humans flying awkwardly overhead.

The next couple of days were spent blissfully cruising around the town by foot and bike, swimming and competing to do summersaults off the gorgeous marble pier that doubles as a cruise terminal for this tucked away little harbour on the dalmatian coast.

Each day the sun would set, slowly painting vivid hues of pink and gold over the islands on the western horizon across the water. I could see what Hitchcock was raving about when he said he thought sunset in Zadar was the most beautiful in the world (a quote that is often mis-represented as coming from Hemingway).

After a memorable couple of days in Zadar, getting to know the families of the bride and groom and enjoying Croatian seafood and the soft glow of the Mediterranean sun, it was time to head north to the Island of Pag where the wedding was to take place.

After driving in procession with a brief stop at the picturesque town of Razanac, we crossed a spectacular bridge at Paski Most which lead us onto the Island of Pag. The island, which sees powerful winds channeled down the eastern corridor between it and the mainland, has an almost moonlike rocky appearance on one side, while the other, retains its vegetation.

The charming Hotel Boskinac, set in a vineyard on a hill near the town of Novalja (a mini Croatian version of Ibiza) was booked out for the wedding party and we had a few days either side of the it to relax by the pool, sample the fruit of the vineyward and explore the nearby beach. Needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience.

I’d left myself a few days afterward to explore Croatia, and I rented a car which I proceeded to drive first south, exploring the old fort city of Sibenik, a small historic city that is a gateway to the Kornati Islands. Nearby, I hiked in Krka National Park one afternoon before traveling south to Split and exploring the old part of town including the remnants of Diocletian’s Palace.

The Highlight of the trip, however, was probably heading up the coast to explore the Northwest of the country around Istria, an area comparable to Tuscany in Italy. The Bride and Groom were honeymooning in Motovun, a historic town set in a large fort atop a discrete hill. The place was unlike anything I had experienced in my travels around the world. The town is very small and vehicle traffic is limited. Most people have to park down the bottom of the hill and catch the bus up into the town, though you can walk up in a few minutes.

We spent a balmy afternoon walking around the fort walls, having a beer and later enjoying dinner with the wonderful wedding photographer Mudri who took us to his favourite restaurant in the nearby countryside town of Tinjan. The food was spectacular and the company convivial. The perfect end to a trip indelibly etched in my memory.

Michael McMahon

Contributor

Michael is a tech nomad, raised in Asia, seasoned in Australia and now based in North America. He is Inspired by outdoor adventures and meeting new people.

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