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The official name is Republic of Croatia or Hrvatska, and it covers 56.594 square kilometres, and the government is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic. It is populated by 4.200.000 citizens of which 91% are Christians, 5% Atheism or Agnosticism, and 1,5% Muslims.
The currency is Kuna (HRK), worth 1 Danish Krone. The GDP is US$51.945 billion.
The climate varieties from a
continental to a Mediterranean climate in the south. Croatia can be
subdivided between a number of ecoregions because of its climate and
The country is consequently one of the richest in Europe in
terms of biodiversity. There are four types of biogeographical regions in
Croatia: Mediterranean along the coast and in its immediate hinterland,
Alpine in most of Lika and Gorski Kotar, Pannonian along Drava and Danube,
and Continental in the remaining areas.
Here are only a few fields, mainly with vine and olives. I see a single vegetable field and a few with barley or wheat. Then I meet a road block, and I have to make a 30 kilometre detour. I pass a single modern town, and it actually look quite nice. Then I'm back on the winding mountain roads and the great nature.
One time when I stop to make a photo of a little mountain town, I spot a 70 centimetre high orchid; no idea of which species. Another place, I find ten centimetre high mountains of eaten soil: No idea to which animal have done that!
I reach the old town of Pazin, and find the castle. However, I can't get in, as they only accept cash, and I still haven't found an ATM. I chat with the girl in the counter for quite some time, and she recommend me a trail, leading down the mountain.
It is a real nice walk, but the thunder is echoing between the mountains, and I head back to town. Dinner at a little cosy place and several loops around the old town centre.
Next target is the old village of Gračišće. It is a little place, mainly consisting of stone houses without plaster or paint. Some are real cosy, others ruins.
Next target is the old town of Labin. I park on the central square, and walk around. Here should be a fortress, but unless it is the real demolished ruin I find, I missed it. I have to admit: I'm not really looking that hard. I find the central church on the peak of the little mountain, and one can climb to the top of the 37 meter high tower. From here, there are a great view to the rest of the town, the Mediterranean sea and a lot of green hills or mountains.
I head up along the coast to the little sea village of Draga,
which have a campsite. I drop the car, and head down to the little port and
beach. Not much is happening, but it is a nice place. Then it is home to
work passes midnight - again.
25/5. It is day number fifty on this expedition, and I celebrate with a tour up the coastal road. It might not be Monaco, but it is not that fare from. Great coastline, clear waters, big houses and a great road.
I reach Rijeka, which should have a natural history museum and a botanical garden. If I find the right garden, but I can't even describe it as a pleasant park! I skip the museum and head down to the old town. It is quite interesting with old buildings, pedestrian areas and cafe life.
I am looking for a Morcic; is a kind of Croatian autochthonous folk jewellery; a little statue of a black person. They should be famous, but I really have a hard time finding a single one. When I do, it is a handmade one in silver and semi-precious stones, and a little too expensive for a souvenir, I think. It is like Croatia have no idea of the value of souvenirs! In this town, teaming with visitors, there are not a single shop!
I head further north towards Zagreb. The first hundred kilometres is through small forest covered mountains. No villages, no fields, no farms. It is like un-inhabitant land, despite is look so lush and fertile. It is only the last ten kilometres, that have a few villages and farms.
Zagreb is not that big, but the botanical garden is almost in the centre of town. It is a little, well maintained garden without that many interesting plants. Their greenhouses have died years ago, but some maintenance is going on in other areas.
From here, I head further up north to Varazdin. It is through a rather flat, but still pretty much un-inhabited area. The old parts of Varazdin is Baroque, but a lot of houses are badly maintained. Here are large park areas, and they are real nice. I walk a lot around, but then it start to drizzle, and I find the car.
There are no campsites around at all, and I find a real nice pension, and get 30% discount. Pay less than a reasonable campsite, but get my own room and bath. My stored salad have not appreciated the heat, and I have to buy supper.
26/5. I have a long drive ahead of me, but I make the first part through the countryside. Here are some scattered settlements, but hardly any farmed fields. The villages look depressing, although not badly maintained.
I passes a single huge diary factory: Six huge barns with cows in. On a single hillside, I see small patches of vine. At a stoplight at a roadwork on a bridge, I see some Japanese tourists. I jump out to see, what they are up to, and it is the most quite little village in the gorge.
Numerous waterfalls, small watermills and moss-overgrown rocks along with timber huts form the village of Rastoke. I find a place to park, and walk back. Here are no sun, but the amount of motives are endless. It seems like every little house have a mill, and the big river is divided into so many creeks, each ending in a waterfall.
I walk on top of the fence (to avoid the bushed on this side of the gorge), I see a
beautiful Jumping Spider: Philaeus chrysops. I make way too many
photos, but I love this place!
The highlands of central Croatia is real green this time of year, but I hardly see any farming. A few small herds of goats and two huge herds of sheep is all. I stop a few times to have a closer look at the flowers, and I do find some interesting ones. One, I can't place at all!
are a few large lakes, and a few huts at their shore. But not a single
livestock, not even a horse or donkey!
It is still alive, but dizzy. I pick it up, and it slowly gain control over its body. I think it will make it, and leave it in the shadows. While I walk back, I see a police-car pull out at my car. It was a busstop I parked at, and I will probably get a fine. But here are no other places to park, as they make sure; one have to pay at the only big parking lot.
Karma is a bitch, and every time I do something good (not hitting the poor bird, but picking it up from the road), I get punished right away. The other day, I gave an Italian €5 for gas, as his credit car didn't work. When I got back to my car, the strap on my flip-flops broke. Before that, I lost my glasses, giving two Polish hitchhikers a lift. The time before, I got a flat tire, while giving a lift, before that, I got a hole in the engine from a rock, having three Israelis and their huge backpacks in the car. Before that, I cracked my pans real much, taking out a hitchhikers backpack from my car, and I can go on. I have never noticed any favours! It gota end now!
I reach a series of tunnels, and when I get out on the other side, the landscape have changed drastically. From the mellow green grass meadows, it is now almost barren limestone hills, only with a few tough bushes. That continues towards the Mediterranean seaside - and so do I.
At the sea, Zadar is found. The baroque town have an impressing marina and a old town, worth a walk around. Here are churches from many centuries, huge squares, parks and great houses. I do a huge loop around the entire old town, and end up at the water organs. A bit disappointing due to the calmness of the sea.
From here, I follow the coastline further south, real close. It offers great views to both the rather dry mountains and the deep blue sea. I reach the camp, which is huge and bloody expensive. Almost the same for five square meters of gravel, as I paid for the single room with private bath yesterday. But here, I get screaming kids, mosquitoes and loads of Germans on top. I can't upload on their Wi-Fi and there is only cold water left for me at the showers. I sure hope Krka is worth it! Rastoke, Highlands, Zadar and west Caost.
27/5. It is a short drive to Krka National Park, and I have to wait five minutes, before I can buy my ticket. 12 big busses are ready to drive guests the 1,5 kilometre to the famous falls, but I rather walk. It is a real nice walk in beautiful nature. I see a lot of insects and plants, but walk rather fast to reach the boardwalk before the crowds.
The trail descents and descents, but finally, I reach the beginning of the falls. The boardwalk winds it way through rocks, trees and pass an endless line of waterfalls and cascades. The water is crystal clear, and the vegetation and fish within are so visible.
It is around three kilometres of boardwalk, and I have it all to my self - and the animals. A lot of birds seek their breakfast here, and if it wasn't for the waters, I would hear a lot of birdsong, I guess. I reach the lower end of the trail, and here are several water mills, and some are museums. One is a working mill, one is a black smiths workshop. Here are also a cave with two windows, where the water pours in.
At this point, I have taken 277 photos, and when the
first of the other guests arrivals, I head back by bus. I have seen the trail, and
it is steep!
When I have seen enough, I head into the countryside once again. Here are a lot of sparsely overgrown limestone, a rare vine field and a few olive plantations. I stop a few times, and find new plants. Then I reach another ancient seaside town; Trogir.
Trogir is even more pretty, especially the marina or waterline. The little fortress is perfect! The city wall incorporated in many buildings and the churches numerous. I do a lot of walking, and when I feel I have seen some o the best, but fare from it all, I head on.
I set the GPS for the southern Split, but when I see the size of the town, I loose the eager to explore the huge fortress. Then I head over 100 kilometres south through bigger and bigger mountains. Here are hardly any settlements, but a lot of undisturbed nature. It is green by now, but I guess that will change soon. Three times, I drive under real wide wildlife bridges, apparently mainly made for the wolves.
I reach the border to Bosnia
& Herzegovina, and have to show my passport to leave Croatia. It
have been a great tour through the western part of the country, and I have
driven 1144 kilometres, taken 1265 photos and spend €239. A bit more
expensive than I have thought.