Croatia travel diary/travelogue

Day 2 - A Lazy Start

26th June 2009

It was a lazy start for this morning. Not because one day of walking in the sun justified a following day of rest, the reason was much more simple - we had to change rooms this morning, so had to pack up and move rooms - next door! Nothing too drastic, just the upshot of people not vacating a room on the day we arrived having a knock-on effect. We didn’t get into the new room until midday, but thankfully it was a nicer room than the first one, including a sofa.

The morning’s packing and moving was performed to a background soundtrack of Michael Jackson news, specifically the news that he’d died aged 50. It’s always a bit weird to be somewhere abroad and hear of big news like this. The downside is that we only have one English channel on the television, BBC World, a channel that continuously loops the same old news. It was 90% Michael Jackson news, 10% for everything else, and then loop back to start all over again. We’d switch the TV off for a bit and then wonder if it was worth switching back on.

Given that the weather had beaten the forecast for a second day, I decided to try out the pool in the guesthouse. It’s a nice looking pool, but even with the sun on my back, the water was a little cool - they’ve not had enough days of sunshine recently to warm it up.

The hotel pool

There is a small beach near to the guesthouse just a 10 minute walk away. We had no idea what the beach might be like, so rather than stroll on up with too little or too much stuff, we decided to take a walk down there just to ‘recce’ the area for a potential visit later.

After a short chill-out back at the hotel, we made our way into the old town by bus. Although we’d been there just yesterday, we wanted to experience the evening vibe and catch the Salutation to the Sun at night time when it really comes to life. Before we could have a bite to eat and start to take it all in, we had a small mission to accomplish first - secure a hire car. While walking around the town trying to pinpoint car hire places, I noticed a few people playing Michael Jackson records. It made me wonder if many of the other tourists walking around had registered them playing and thought “That Michael Jackson is popular here, isn’t he?”, unaware of what had happened. I certainly hadn’t seen any local newspapers with his picture on the front.

Once we’d got the hire car sorted (we’ll have the smallest car you offer, as long as it’s got air-con please!), it was time for the evening meal. We ended up at the same place as yesterday, Trattoria Canzona. Well, it was really nice first time around, and the atmosphere was so different on this night. Whether it was because it was a Friday, or simply not a public holiday (as it had been yesterday), was difficult to tell, but there was a real buzz of people tonight. There was also a local food festival taking place which manifested itself in numerous street vendors - apparently the chefs from the local restaurants bringing fryers out front and serving up seafood directly to passing customers. Unfortunately they were not taking part at Trattoria Canzona. Manda had been hoping to see the spectacle of ‘throwing fish’ until I pointed out that she had in fact misheard the phrase ‘frying fish’!

As the sun set, we made our way up towards the Salutation to the Sun. The sunset in Zadar has been feted by many people in the past, including Alfred Hitchcock who described it as ‘the most beautiful in the world’. I had hoped to catch a photo of the sun low in the sky and capture its reflection on the surface of the large disk . But the sun stopped simply ‘edging’ its way towards the horizon but rather plummeted below the sea in very quick time. No matter, there were plenty more photo opportunities ahead at the Salutation to the Sun.

Salutation to the Sun at night

Underneath the reflective glass panels that make up this disc are hundreds and hundreds of tiny LED lights in red green and blue. By varying the intensity of each light, all colours of the spectrum can be created, and by varying which ones are firing at any one time, you can create an ever-changing pattern. It’s not unlike a large LED television set into the ground. Adults stood around taking photos and camcorder footage while the kiddies ran around all over the disc with squeals of delight. As they chased the patterns being created it almost looked as if the lights were in fact reacting to the pressure of the people above. It crossed my mind that here would be a perfect opportunity for an impromptu Michael Jackson tribute, namely Billie Jean and the light-up pavement squares. But I just don’t have the moves to pull that one off!

Salutation to the Sun at night