An Evening in Venice

19th June

After a lovely drive along some of the rural roads in Italy and avoiding the motorways we arrived at our campsite near Venice.  We arrived an hour before K&V so we were all set up when they turned up.

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As I walked down to reception I saw a pained expression on Kev’s face, he had heard rather a lot of horns blaring at him and saw a few suspect hand gestures directed at him, but he put this down to typical Italian driving. It was only when he turned in the campsite he realised he had a puncture!!!!!

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An hour or so later after a lot of hard graft, and a clean shirt, Jane had the great idea of seeing Venice at night, so after a quick cup of tea,  we set of to catch the 7.30pm bus into town.

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The light towards the end of the day seems to capture the mood of Venice perfectly.

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Kevin managed to negotiate a deal with one of the gondoliers, and so we set of on a trip along the canals, something I never thought I would ever do !

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After such an unexpected expense I was pleased I had packed a picnic.  I chose a nice secluded step for Jane and Val to sit on as they ate their sandwiches, and as you can see they were delighted !!

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What a delightful experience it was, to walk around Venice with the sun slowly going down and the canal starting to be lit by the “street lamps”

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I had never been to Venice before, and as such I had no idea of its scale or its beauty.  I now can’t understand why it wasn’t higher on my list of priorities of places to see.  I would highly recommend this as a destination for a weekend break, however I’m not so sure I would want to visit here during July or August.

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Everyone was very patient with me taking nearly a million pictures, even that was very restrained as there was a photo opportunity at every turn !

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One thing to remember when you are catching a bus late in the evening is that you will have to return in the dark.  Therefore it is essential to ensure you know when your stop is coming up!  Still we will have to chalk that one up to experience, and it was only a kilometer to walk back! !

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KRK and then to Italy

Saturday 17th June

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Our last day on KRK so a trip to the other side of the island was the order of the day ! This area had a lot of narrow steep roads, with stunning views, or so Jane said.  I was looking at the road !

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These little towns that you come across on a drive like this always have something special to offer, in this case it was the Croatian version of a Cornish pastie, and I’m always up to trying another cultural experience !

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You can always tell an Englishman abroad by the stylish hats they wear, Jane says I look like Freddy “parrot face” Davies  (the youngsters will have to google him) but Kevin has heard people saying, “was that George Clooney?” and that seems more likely !

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Back to the main town of KRK to continue Jane’s quest for a caramel ice cream.  After an hours walk around all the kiosks in town we struck lucky and from then after every other shop sold this particular flavour…….if only we had walked clockwise !!!!

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I can’t understand why Jane gets embarrassed when I indulge in the local custom of squeezing the washerwoman’s breasts, but at least this time it was a statue !

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Sunday 18th June

Time to drive over that bridge again !

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Out of Croatia……

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through Slovenia……

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to a lovely……

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shady campsite in Italy.

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KRK

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Friday 16th June

After a busy morning catching up with the blog, doing the washing and catching up on a few household chores we set off to explore the island of Krk.

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From what we saw of the island, we found it delightful.  Full of narrow lanes leading to small coves and bays.

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And when you found these little bays there was hardly anyone there.

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The hill top towns were equally charming, with streets too narrow for cars.  The peace and quiet was lovely.

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The little shaded alleyways were great to keep out the midday sun.

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And sitting in the shade of a tree in a crowded square was a perfect place to catch your breath and take in a little refreshment.

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Sometimes taking the coast road can lead to a few surprises, this track gave me a little cause for concern as the car only just fitted, I could tell Jane was worried as she went quiet (a blessing in disguise!)

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As some of you know I have a slight worry about driving over big bridges, so I thought I would come down for another look at this huge double span effort, and torture myself a little more.  I have got to drive back over that on Sunday morning.

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Mind you the drive down to take the photos wasn’t great as I was on the outside and there weren’t any crash barriers.

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After a good old drive around it was time to stock up on groceries.  I thought this supermarket had a great idea with having a bar in the corner, its like having a crèche for husbands !

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In the evening I barbecued what I can assure you was a pork fillet and stir fry vegetables.

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And Val prepared the dessert, BBQ peaches with snickers ice cream, and as you can see   Jane really enjoyed  it !

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The Long and Winding Road

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Thursday 15th June

Today we set off on a journey “To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before”, this is not quite true but when you are heading for Krk island (pronounced Kirk) I thought a few early bad puns were in order!

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We took the road that hugged the coast which made for a spectacular drive, although when towing a caravan could be a little slow.  This gave the locals the opportunity to show us all a few startling overtaking moves!  At first I thought this might be because they were aggrieved at getting stuck behind us, but on meeting similar minded drivers coming towards us (mobile phone in hand on wrong side of road, or after overtaking pulling in at the last minute, missing me by inches and causing me to brake sharply) I realized this was as Spock would say “Highly Illogical ” but just the Croatian style!

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On such a windy road there are very few opportunities when towing to pull over for a comfort break, so an empty restaurant car park is an ideal stopping place !

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Although it was a little cloudy today I set the camera “To Stun” and wasn’t disappointed with the results.

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Jane was a little worried when I set the car to “Warp Speed” and grew even more concerned when I said “I Canee Hold Her Captain” whilst cornering a little too fast !

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“Bridge To KRK, Bridge to Krk” OMG have I really got to drive over that ??  (You may have to zoom in to see it.)

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“Beam me over Scotty”

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What was the problem?  Safely landed on the planet, James T would have been proud !

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So here we are, our new base set up and Jane is dressed up ready to explore the night life of this beautiful looking island. We were off out to try a new “Enterprise” which had just set up down the road, and as I got into the car Jane said “Make It So” and off we set !

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Zadar

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Monday 12th June

We left our trip in to Zadar until later in the day as the temperature was well over 30 degrees.  This gave me time to catch up on my blog, and to edit my photos, and attend to all the other domestic duties, washing the sheets etc.

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This lovely walled port was a short picturesque drive from the campsite, past many small bays and stony beaches.

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The city is well known for its Roman and Venetian ruins in the old town. Many have been beautifully cleaned……

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Some great buildings are still in need of some loving attention!

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The communist era buildings stand out like a sore thumb in this otherwise stunning location.

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The ancient Roman and Venetian gates stilll remain as the main ways into the walled city, and we stood and watched as a lorry stopped, pulled in its mirrors and squeezed through this gap with millimeters to spare!

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The walk along the front was beautiful and you could see the surrounding islands in the distance.

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One of the main reasons for visiting Zadar, apart from the beauty and history was that Jane had read about a massive organ located on the water’s edge ! 

This turned out to be the “Sea Organ” that created sounds by the waves crashing against the side of the quay.  It was very pleasant to sit on the steps in the sunshine and listen to the weird music emanating from below, it was amazing the change in tone and volume after the wash from a passing boat hit the side.

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Whilst sat on the steps drinking in the atmosphere, I couldn’t help but notice this guys moustache, what a beauty, I’m sure it even beats my Uncle Malcolm’s!

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Camping Peros, nr. Zadar

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Sunday 11th June

K&V had driven up the previous day to the campsite we had chosen.  On arrival they were horrified to find the site far bigger than they had expected and that half of Germany was there on holiday. They managed to secure one of the few remaining pitches, but as it was noisy and very busy, both decided that this wasn’t the place for us!  They took a quick drive around and managed to find a lovely little place just  around the corner. So it was great for us to arrive, after a leisurely drive, to find everything sorted for us.

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After setting up camp, we took a walk down to the nearby walled fortress town of Nin.  The Bishop Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski), who was an important figure in the 10th Century ecclesiastical politics of Dalmatia, was based here.

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He certainly looks put out at something!

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Another charming place on a long list of charming places we have visited this trip.

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We saw it on a Sunday evening, and it was quite quiet. I’m sure it would be crowded in the main holiday season.

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I’m not sure what this was, but I’m guessing that it was fish drying in the sun and breeze!

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A great visit, now time to go back to the van and prepare the BBQ!

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Marina

Saturday 10th June

Today K&V are going ahead to the next site in Zadar.  Jane and I are going back down the coast to Marina where we are going to meet Steve and Sara for lunch. They are flying in to start a weeks sailing holiday with some friends and we were looking forward to catching up .

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The drive back down the coast lived up to all Kevin’s praises and exceeded them.

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It was great to catch up with Steve and Sara, and to meet their friends “big” Karen and Richard.  “Big Karen” is so named,  as I understand, to differentiate her from the other Karen, “wee Karen”.  As you can see we had a tasty meal and several bottles of wine and the bill came to less than 9.00GBP per person !  I’m not sure if Karen’s hearing was impaired by the amount of wine she drank, but she did look surprised when she heard I was reading about Harry Potter and the LAPD, it was in fact, Harry Bosch the detective, and the Los Angeles Police Department!

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Jane made a new friend at the restaurant, this little kitten looked pleadingly up at her for some attention……….and got it from about half the customers !

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We left them to go to their sailing briefing. And we set off to do bit of shopping, I got a new hat (to stop my ears getting burnt) and Jane bought a bikini !  That photo has been sensored !

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Krka National Park

Friday 9th June

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An early start, up at the crack of dawn to avoid all the queues. Well, on the road at 9.45am  is  getting quite a challenge these days !

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The effort was well worth it, out on the first boat of the day.  We also lucked out, as we had the happiest crew in the whole park !

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The “joie de vivre” that the captain and his first mate exuded inspired  K&V to reenact a scene from Titanic.  This even had the first class passengers laughing on their deck !

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Our first port of call was the Visovac Monastry which is on an island in the middle of the lake. A truly lovely place for meditation and prayer (neither of which we participated in)!

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Even with several boat loads of tourist you could still enjoy the tranquility.

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We stopped at the far end of the lake for a picnic lunch, and a half hour walk around some stunning waterfalls.

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The banks of the river were teeming with dragon flies, their vibrant colours reflecting on the crystal clear waters.

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This was the quietest part of the park, as not many people had bothered with the boat trip; they had gone straight to the main waterfalls. We had seen all this beauty and although we didn’t really know it, we still had the jewel in the crown to come !

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The trip back to the main falls was lovely and you get a sense of the wilderness that surrounds you. Whilst driving we have seen signs warning us of wild boars, wolves and bears !

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After an hour on the boat we were back,  ready to see the main falls. The water here was again so clear you could see the fish, and they looked so cool it would have been great to jump in and join them !

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It’s not only the sights that amaze you, it’s also the sounds, from complete silence to this little fellow singing his heart out !

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The main series of falls were coming into view, and we were promised the opportunity of a dip in the largest of them .

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What a terrific experience swimming in the refreshing waters as they came cascading down.  There was a line to stop you swimming too close, however we did find a small waterfall to stand under, and the power was phenomenal!

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We were lucky again with weather, blue skies and bright sunshine.

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We were also blessed with the lack of people, and we were able to enjoy the tranquillity of such a special place.

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So at the end of a busy day, we all set of back to the caravans !

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Autocamp Marina- Sibenik

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Thursday 8th June

A last early morning look across the bay, from our site at Split.  We had spent 9 nights here and the weather was wonderful, great in the sunshine and cool in the shade!

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We had a great pitch, and the facilities were spotlessly clean, and the WI-FI  wasn’t too bad as well, always a bonus for us avid bloggers.

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All in all a great break from the arduous travelling we have been doing. Now back on the road again!

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Mind you it wasn’t a particularly long drive, just an hour up the motorway to Autocamp Marina. K&V, who had left a good couple hours before us, were only just setting up camp when we arrived. Kev asked me what I thought of the spectacular drive, I replied, “just like most motorways, but with the occasional good view.”  They had taken the coast road, it had taken them twice as long, but both said it was one of the loveliest drives they had ever done!………. I need to pay more attention to the maps and not the SAT-NAV. We did travel this road on another day but more of that later.

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After the disappointment of the drive we set out for a scenic walk, and the campsite manager recommended a newly refurbished path on the coast that started at St. Nicholas Fortress, near the town of Sibenik.

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The walk followed the edge of the estuary that leads to the port of Sibenik.

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The climbs to the viewpoints were well worth the effort.

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Although I look slightly red faced with the effort, I can assure you it is a sun tan !

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After all that hard work, and with a trip to Lidl on the cards, I suggested that maybe after that we could have a stroll around the old town

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To admire the lovely old buildings and all the narrow streets and steps and passageways….and maybe a pizza……

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……. whilst watching the sun set from the harbour.

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Kris Castle – Game of Thrones

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Tuesday 6th June

In the cool of the evening we decided to visit Kris Castle which has been used as a location for the filming of  “Game of Thrones”.  After a rather eventful journey (we decided to let the SAT-NAV take us the scenic route) and ending up in someone’s driveway, we made it!

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The setting is superb, with views over the City of Split,

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Although I have watched the series, I’m not that involved that I can remember every scene and I’m told that the above shot (with a bit of CGI) was used in one episode.

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On the bottom right of this photo you can see the motorway, but with a bit of clever work behind the scenes on the top photo it has disappeared!

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As I’ve said it was great to visit during the cool of the day,

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Rather than when there is a big parade going on !

DSC_7504The guide told us they would be back next month for filming, so Kev asked for an impromptu audition.

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As did Jane and Val……

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The resemblances are remarkable

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It’s only the sun glasses that give it away !

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I thought it was rather unkind, that they all thought I was a dead ringer for the guy on the right, stomach maybe but not the hair !

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We were the last people out when the place closed at 7pm

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The drive back to the campsite showed us an interesting left turn………..or is it just my memory of the Game of Thrones T.V. programme (O.K I admit to a little photoshopping for a cheap laugh !)

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Back at the site, the setting sun was reflecting on the white buildings across the bay, great end to a great day !

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