A Quiet Croatian Getaway

Trip Start Aug 22, 2012
Trip End Jul 01, 2014

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Flag of Croatia  , Zadarska,
Friday, May 31, 2013

Early on the 31st we left Zagreb and headed for Zadar, where we'd have to transfer to a more aquatic-capable vessel to reach our next destination. With a couple hours to kill in Zadar, we grabbed lunch and did a little exploring before hopping on the ferry and taking the hour-long trip to Božava.

We walked southwest to the Katedrala Sv. Stošije (St. Anastasia Cathedral) and the Crkva Sv. Donata (Church of St. Donat), situated near the ruins in the forum. We continued on until we came to Jaclyn's preferred lunch destination, 2Ribara, where we enjoyed some seafood (never realized how much we'd miss that until we moved inland!) and indulged in some desserts (which, surprisingly, is a rarity for us). Our bellies full (which was really fortunate, considering it would be the next morning before we enjoyed another meal...see below), we boarded the ferry to Božava.

Despite our weariness, the first sight of the harbor in Božava was fairly breathtaking. A town so small and isolated that it doesn't even have its own Wikipedia page, Božava boasts <i>maybe </i>300 residents (most of whom are felines--again, more on that in moment) and, according to Croatia's own tourism site, a mere ONE attraction: the Parish Church. A handful (that is, if you're missing a few fingers) of bars and restaurants lined the dock at water's edge, and behind these stood homes, stretching up the side of of the rolling incline of the hill behind them. The woman we were renting from (and a friend to translate) met us at the dock when we disembarked. We walked along the harbor, branching off onto an uphill street to the right that led us through a winding passage of tightly-packed houses to the apartment, overlooking the harbor, that would be our home for the next two days.

One of the things we realized quickly was that this island was likely owned by the cats that inhabited it. Often without warning, we would find ourselves suddenly surrounded by several cats, which eyed us suspiciously as we passed. This may have been because we were outsiders, but it's probably just because that's how cats always act. There may not be any real illicit activity in the town, but there is a gang. And it is the cats.

Another discovery we made in short order was that there was no accessible ATM in our area. I say "accessible" because there is a single ATM in town, however it's located in the post office, which was closed from the time of our arrival until the day after our departure. With only enough money on us to buy ferry tickets back to the mainland (good one, JACLYN), things looked bleak.

Thank goodness, then, that Božava is a semi-popular tourist destination (particularly with those over the age of 90), and that one of the few hotels on the island accepted cards. While this meant we wouldn't get to partake of any local restaurants or bars (there were, I think, <i>three </i>to choose from), it was certainly better than going hungry. Needless to say, we gorged ourselves at the breakfast buffet the next morning.

The weather wasn't quite the "find a nice spot and swim in the Adriatic" sort of sunniness we had hoped for. In fact, there was quite a bit of rain on Saturday. But that's the great thing about being in a place as serene and beautiful as this--even if the weather is "bad" it's still relaxing. We walked through the village and into the forested areas surrounding it.

As beautiful as the island was, I was most entranced by how <i>quiet </i>it was. I went out for a late-night walk our first night there, and could hear even the slightest sound from virtually anywhere on the island, from the small group of laughing friends returning home from a bar, to the lapping of the water against the boats in the harbor. As I walked the perimeter of the harbor, I saw two friends, parting ways after a night of imbibing, with one heading uphill to his home, and the other retreating to his boat for the night. It was an image both hilarious and fascinating. What a lifestyle.

And the clouds did manage to part on Sunday, giving us time to get our feet a little wet (not too wet though, since we were already packed up for our trip home. A few hours of lounging and we were back aboard the ferry, having spent the last of our actual cash to return to Zadar (although, considering how beautiful as Božava was, it was a <i>tad </i>regrettable that we were able to afford the boat ride).

With a little time to kill before catching a bus (which we would, again, foolishly, ride overnight), we saw a few more sights in Zadar, particularly the impressive Morske orgulje (sea organ), a series of steps that play music as the wind blows, and the Pozdrav suncu (Greeting to the Sun), a large solar calendar that houses photovoltaic cells.

Overall, our trip to Croatia, while not bringing with it the best weather, gave us a great look at some varied locales across the country. And, as far as Božava goes, I really could have stayed there indefinitely. You know, except for the ATM thing.

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Nicole Angeleen on

That water certainly looks warm and tropical. Also, there were 4 cats in those pictures, and I'm pretty sure one was a duplicate, so 3 cats. That hardly seems like a gang of cats. I think that island is just what you needed to come around to the truth: cats are awesome, and you love them. Mark Twain loved cats. So did Hemingway. What, you think you're better than Twain and Hemingway?

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