Two of ‘the lucky few’ are beating the odds in Croatia. Most other bloggers who have been here have opted almost exclusively to hop from one camp site to the next, after all, ‘Wild camping is against the law in Croatia’ and fines of 3,500 Kuna have been issued in the past. I’ve done some digging on this and have not come across one substantiated case, perhaps I’m not looking hard enough. Many claims of being moved on, even escorted to the nearest open campsite, but I can’t find a proved claim of being fined anywhere. We opted to throw caution to the wind a little over the past few days, 5 out of our last 7 nights have been wild. It may be that the Police are more tolerant out of season, as the number of open camp sites dwindles. The way we see it, so far that’s a saving of 5 x €20 = €100 (£80), which is conservatively 500 miles of diesel or aproximatly the full length of Croatia.
The weather has not been too kind to us of late, rainy days followed by howling wind last night, rocking Charlie from side to side pretty much till morning. The forecast says the wind will drop & the sun will be seen again soon, but those rays are not very strong of late, with highs of 17 and as low as 7 at night, the heating gets a little nudge every morning to take the edge off, just for an hour.
We’ve mostly just been bobbing around the coast on the way down, with no idea that morning, where we will sleep the night. Very often this hap-hazard, unplanned method works, occasionally it will back-fire and you will end up by the side of a busy road in the dark. Most of the time we find somewhere ‘just perfect’ before tea-time, but even then, you can’t rest easy if you’re ‘wild’. We thought we were snug-as-bugs the other day, pulled around the corner from a campsite, on the beach, perfect spot. As it’s just getting dark, a car pulls up to the side door…’pip-pip’, …I go to the door.
(driver) “…nich camping parkenplatz”
(driver) “…nich camping parkenplatz, …izt verboten…campingplatz ein kilometre (he pointed back the way we’d come)”
(driver)[..who is now fingering his phone as if to threaten he will call the local rozzers if I give him any lip] …”OK ten minutes…I come back”
We have two choices, Option 1- sit tight and, following the drivers return and subsequent argument, the local plod will eventually arrive and tell us to sling our hooks, or, option 2- tootle off and find another spot. Discretion being the better part of valour, we pack up, sometimes the path of least resistance makes for an easier life. As we pass the end of the camp site car park, the drivers car is parked outside the office, this is just a daily ritual to him. We find a new (arguably better) spot less than a mile a way and get tucked in again.
We are currently sitting on a camp site that could not be much better, metres from a shingle beach, next to a transparently clean sea, all roped off to stop the kiddies drifting off. Jason & Julie of ‘OurTour’ fame had trouble tearing themselves away earlier this year,so we thought we’d give it a try. Hot, clean well maintained showers, clean working toilets with loo roll. The whole site locked off behind a nice big fence, gated and locked at night. Just perfect and a very reasonable €15 or £12pn ACSI. No dogs barking, no cockerels doo-dle-dooing, no petrol-heads tearing up the tarmac until the early hours. But so many campsites in Croatia are anywhere close to reasonable, add all of the above wildlife into the mix, remove the beach, the sea, sometimes even the electricity and they still want £18 pn., it can be a bit of a tourist trap, they wont be getting my £18!
Zadar: According to Wiki “the oldest continually inhabited city in Croatia”, Developing itself as a settlement back in 4th century BC, since then, everyone’s had a go at running its tiny cobbled streets, Romans, French, Italians, Austrians and the Turks, the list goes on through history until the Croats successfully defended an attack by Serbian rebels in 1991. It’s a shame, but I guess its our fault (the allied forces) that loads of the buildings look newer than they should. Loads of Zadar needed to be rebuilt following our 72 bomb blitz of the place during WW2, at the time under Italian control.
Maybe I was expecting too much, with a name like Zadar and the deep history of the city, I expected the place to be heaving with Roman artefacts and a museums on every corner, there was none of it. What we found was a fairly bland, but quaint miniaturised city with only a handful of interesting buildings. The main pass-time being shopping, eating or drinking coffee.
Trogir: A little farther down the coast is a city I thought Zadar would look like. Just outside Split, the much more authentic looking Trogir. Quaint narrow cobbled streets worn rounded and shiny from all the tourist sandals. Just a 15 minute walk from the camp, up and over the hill saw us right into the heart of it.
Following a cracker of a lightning storm in the evening, the morning was clear blue skies as far as the eye could see, soon developing into the warmest day we’d had in weeks.
Tomorrow is a Monday morning, just a Monday morning in mid October. Normally I’d be up before 6, and at work (or on the road) by 7. It’s a life long routine that’s hard to break. It’s driven and fueled by the need to earn money and it’s not a bad thing, we all gotta eat. It’s been difficult not to get up and get cracking every morning, but finally after 13 months out of the cycle, I may have broken the habit, I may have cracked it. When I get up in the morning I’ll think, “what do I want to do today” not “what have I got to do today.” That’s a big leap. The biggest and most satisfying I can think of, I can’t think of a better position to be in. Lottery winners may never experience that amount freedom. What a lucky bugger I am! Thanks to those who helped me/us, you know who you are.
Beach parking next to a cafe n44.036118 e15.330794 FREE no services.
Camping Rozac n43.50500 e16.25700 superb camp site €15 with ACSI card.
May the week pass quickly. Kindest, Wayne XX