Croatia, Podstrana and the Pink Inn

About thirty kilometres south of Šibenik the road came to the town of Primošten, which was once an island but is now connected to the mainland by a small bridge and a causeway.  We stopped here for a break and walked to the top of the town to the church of St George that was surrounded by a graveyard full of spectacular monuments and headstones all lovingingly cared for and with vacant spots waiting for family members to join the already deceased.  The sky was blue and the strong wind from the south made me optimistic that with all that weather coming from sort of Africa way that this was the turning point and that in the days ahead there were surely cloudless blue skies and soaring temperatures to deal with.

It didn’t quite feel that way right now however and we sat on a windy harbour side and had a drink while locals gathered inside clearly wondering if we were crazy.  I wanted to sit outside and keep my eye on the car because I was worried about parking restrictions and I wanted to be ready to leave in an instant if there looked as though there was any danger of traffic warden activity.  I don’t think that I needed to worry however because the strict parking rules were designed for the busy summer months and not the lazy spring and just the sprinkling of visitors that were here today.

Leaving Primošten we continued south and as we did so the weather started to deteriorate with huge clouds building over the Mosor Mountains that rise to almost one thousand four hundred metres and were collecting the clouds and preventing them moving north as they rushed in from the sea and built instead into columns of threatening grey.  To the west the sky was clear and the sun was shining but to the east and over the land it was not nearly so pleasant.  We drove past the city of Trogir, leaving that for another day, and carried on to Split, which is Croatia’s second largest city after the capital Zagreb.

Because of its strategic importance Split suffered damage during the war and probably the most tragic incident of all occurred in November 1991 when the Yugoslavian frigate named Split fired shells at the city. The damage was insignificant and there were only a few casualties but this was the only time in history that a city has been bombarded by a military vessel bearing its own name.

The drive into Split wasn’t all that promising at all with rows and rows of featureless high rise apartment blocks but as the road kept dropping ever down towards the harbour the prospects started to improve quickly.  As usual I worried about parking but I needn’t have because it was really quite straight forward, we found a car park and the drivers in Split seemed to have a lot more patience and were a lot more forgiving than in some of the other towns and cities in Croatia.

It was a glorious afternoon and we walked through Diocletian’s Palace and onto the harbour front before finishing in the People’s Square where we stopped for drinks and to take the opportunity to sit in the sun and watch the people.

After a couple of hours we left Split and headed a few kilometres further south to our next accommodation at Podstrana, the Pink Inn.  We only missed it once and when we finally checked in we were shown to an excellent room with a balcony in full sun overlooking the sea.  After a trip to the supermarket for wine and frequent stops to watch the bright green lizards that were boldy enjoying the sun after days of grey clouds and heavy rain we sat and relaxed and enjoyed the unexpectedly warm end to the day.  Later we walked to the beach and watched a good sunset over Split.  What a great time of the year this was to enjoy the end of the day on the beach, the place was deserted except for one or two local people and the nearby four hundred room Meridian Hotel, that looked a dreadful place, wasn’t yet open for business this year.

In the evening we found a convenient fish restaurant close by and although the main dining room was almost empty there was a function room next door where there was a noisy and lively wedding party that had clearly been going on for some time judging by the serious amounts of alcohol that had been consumed.

It had been an excellent day and Croatia was steadily rising on my list of excellent places and after final drinks we returned to the Pink Inn for a final half an hour on the balcony watching a perfect evening with moon beams dancing on the Adriatic filtering through a sky that was like an palette of paints overflowing with colour, butter yellow and clotted cream clouds, melancholy grey and thunder blue sky and I looked forward with anticipation to tomorrow and the next leg of the journey.

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