It is a driving rule in Croatia that main beam lights must be used at all times and I kept finding this quite difficult to remember. This rule seemed a bit unnecessary to me because the weather was bright and the driving conditions were perfect but the advice was that it is important to remember because the police don’t like it if you forget and can administer a hefty on the spot fine.
We drove back through Šukosan and then following the coast and the string of islands out in the Zadar peninsular in the Adriatic Sea arrived at the town of Biograd na Moru where we stopped off looking for a bar only to find that the whole place was closed and with lots of construction work in preparation for the forthcoming holiday season, so we quickly moved on.
April must be the season for wild asparagus around this part of Croatia because for a mile or two there were people at the roadside holding out handfuls of the stuff trying to encourage drivers to pull over and make a purchase.
Next on the route was the large city of Šibenik, which is interesting because unlike other Dalmatian towns that were founded by the Illyrians, Greeks, and Romans, it is the oldest native Croatian town on the eastern shores of the Adriatic and consequently does not have the ancient monuments that exist elsewhere. I got hopelessly lost in Šibenik and so passed through without stopping (except at a supermarket to purchase beer, wine and a corkscrew) and moved on to the final destination for the day, Skradin, about twenty kilometres away inland. This took some finding as well especially with a confusing network of feeder roads for a new motorway and no signs for the town itself only to the nearby Krka National Park.
Eventually we found the right way and there was a spectacular approach on an elevated road down to the town that sits next to the Knin Lake, which led almost directly to the Hotel Skadinski Buk that was conveniently located in the centre of the pretty little town. It was a bit overcast and the town wasn’t very busy at all so we found an empty restaurant for a spot of lunch and then set off to investigate. At an interesting National Park visitor centre we obtained information about boat trips the following day and then walked slowly around the small town in case we saw everything there was to see too quickly.
Behind the harbour there was a fish restaurant where the owner intercepted us and persuaded us that we should return later. He told us that his chef was also the fisherman and that his fish was guaranteed to be fresh and not like that sold in competing restaurants that was sure to be caught in Morocco, deep frozen for a year or so and then served up to unsuspecting diners. He must have caught us off guard because we were sucked in by all of this and promised to return.
Walking further on we came upon an old church that was in a state of considerable disrepair. The iron gates were locked and inside we could see that there was a lot of debris. This seemed a shame but we had no idea why. The walk continued around the back of the church and all was revealed. This was a Serbian Russian Orthordox Church and in the side was a huge hole caused by a direct hit from a shell that had caused the roof to collapse.
In the war of independence as many as four hundred thousand Serbs were forced out of the country and they simply abandoned their villages and churches and moved east. To compensate a great number of Croats moved west but they went to the major cities and the balance of the rural communities was lost, probably forever. The church in Skradin looked like a place that was going to remain abandoned until the wounds of the war are finally healed and that may take some time.
Later we went back to the fish restaurant and paid way over the odds for what was only an average meal, but, hey, so what, you learn from experience, and this was not a restaurant that I would return to in a hurry.