The weather finally warmed up a bit today (and tomorrow), the wind stopped, and so did
the rain. So it was time to take the bus trip south to Sibenik, as I’ve been planning. I could have ridden with Zdravko (landlord) in the morning when he went to work but Friday was the first day of decent weather lately and he doesn’t go into Sibenik on Friday. So I went by myself.
Walked the mile to the bus station and paid the 16 kunas ($3.20) fare. Bus was mostly full but I had two seats. We stopped at Srima, the town just south of Vodice, and then on to Sibenik. You cross over this bridge that spans the straight and it’s quite a view either way of sharply sloped rock walls falling into the blue water.
I got off the bus when everyone else did (the Lemming rule), which was essentially in the center of town, on the main street, and right in the middle of an extensive farmers’ market. Lots of people on the sidewalk at about 9:30 in the morning. Turns out, that wasn’t the bus station, which I found quite by accident later.
Of course, I started walking in the wrong direction as I searched for the old city. After maybe a mile I realized I was entering an industrialized area and turned around. The southern part of Sibenik is mostly a shipping port area, with lots of cranes and docks. Turned out that the old city was in the opposite direction and only a block from where I got off the bus.
My walk did allow me a chance to see parts of the city more local in nature. The city is basically embedded into a rocky hillside, with apartment buildings and multistoried homes climbing up the side of the hill. Sibenik looks like an industrial city, quite the opposite of bucolic Vodice. This might have been a better place for me to spend my short time in Croatia, simply because there are more people and more activity. There is a City Life mall with upscale department stores, several computer stores and a casino bar. Lots of people on the streets and lots of traffic. Cars were parked anywhere there was a space, even on the sidewalks.
The old city was pretty deserted so I was able to get around well. There were several large signs posted that explained the history of the area in four languages. Lots of religion involved, as well as efforts to protect against invasions. The area has numerous churches, narrow alleyways, all-stone construction. The section catering to tourists was mostly closed up for the off-season, and it was obvious by its lack of looking like the rest of the place. You actually have to climb a lot with this old town, as it rises on its own hill and towers over the sea to its west.
I had only just found the old town area when I was propositioned – by a man! I saw the guy coming from across the street and expected a beggar’s plea for money. But instead, he was looking for a “tourist who wanted to have sex with him.” Not only did I look like a tourist, but I guess I looked gay. Geez!
When my dogs got tired I found a restaurant near the beginning of the area, Rivica, probably heavily frequented by tourists in season. I took a seat outside where I could look over the water and ordered a draft beer. The menu was extensive and I took the waiter’s recommendation for lunch. The veal escalop Zagreb style was a large piece of veal wrapped around a cheese and ham filling, with a side of french fries. (They use french fries as a side dish a lot here.) The food was very good, as was the beer. The meal was only 70 kunas, or $14, the beer was 15 kunas ($3).
During the course of my walking around, I found the bus station and returned there after lunch, bought a ticket to Vodice and was on the bus on my way back in 10 minutes. I almost missed the bus because they didn’t tell me which dock the bus would be on but I found it.
From the Web
SIBENIK, a city and port in northern Dalmatia, not far from the estuary of the Krka river into the Bay of Sibenik, connected by narrow straits with the Sibenik Channel; population 41,012. The city is arranged amphitheatrically around the natural harbour and on the surrounding hill slopes. The climate is mild. The average air temperature in January is 6.5°C and 24.2°C in July; around 2,750 hours of sunshine a year. Economy is based on industry (non-ferrous metals, aluminium), textiles and food processing as well as on shipbuilding and tourism. The city, with the old fortresses of St. Anne, St. John and Subicevac overlooking it, consists of the Old Town, characterized by narrow and steep alleys in the west, and the modern part in the north and south-east. Sibenik is a cultural centre: the International Child’s Festival. There is a department of the Faculty of Economics of the Split University. Chief occupations in the Sibenik surroundings are viniculture, vegetable and fruit growing. Natural beauty of the region (Skradinski Buk, Roski Waterfall, the small island of Visovac on the Krka, the Kornati Archipelago) as well as the rich cultural and historical heritage of the city attract many tourists and excursionists. Sibenik lies at the intersection of the main roads Zadar – Sibenik – Split and Sibenik – Drnis – Knin; the railroad over Perkovic connects Sibenik with the railroad Zagreb – Knin – Split. Ferry connections with the neighbouring islands (Prvic, Zlarin, Zirje, Kaprije, Obonjan).
The historic town of Sibenik, connected with the expansion and development of the early Croatian state, is rich in cultural and historical monuments. The most representative among them is the famous Cathedral of Sibenik, one of the most original architectural projects of the late Middle Ages, primarily linked to the local master Juraj Matejev Dalmatinac (George of Dalmatia). Sibenik is today a tourist centre situated in the area where the best-indented archipelago in Europe (Islands of Kornati) and karst hydrographical phenomena (Skradinski Buk, Visovac, Roski Waterfall) merge into the ecologically and aesthetically most attractive tourist and recreational zone on the Croatian Adriatic.
Restaurants offer domestic specialities (lamb, grilled dishes, baked dishes – especially turkey). In the quarter called Dolac, in the town centre, there are about a hundred cafés with music.