What a different week for Mike and me. In our trip so far, we have been staying at campgrounds in very rural areas, typically with one or two other campers. This week we are in a campground with almost 9,000 people in tents and campers. Yes, that is not a typing error. Almost 9,000 of us in one campground. Not having reservations, we are in the furthest section from the Adriatic Sea. It is a 1 km bike ride to the closest beach and further to the boating area or the dive centre that we never made it to. Among the 9,000 people here there are a few friends of ours from Norway. They are the whole reason we are here now. It has been excellent to see Helge, Elin, Helene, Trine, Roar and Monica again and it has been nice to meet a few new people traveling with them. We came to Zaton a day early to join everyone in a celebration dinner for Trine’s 14th birthday. Happy Birthday Trine.
Since Mike and I are not really beach people, we have left our friends on the beach every day and gone and done our own thing. In the evenings we all got together for BBQs or restaurants or outdoor concerts. It has been very nice.
There are a few “roads” through the campground. They are a little different in that they are always packed with people – many carrying inflatable toys larger than themselves, electric scooters, bicycles, Sky Masters, cars, campers, caravans and more. No-one worries about white lines and lanes, you just inch forward the best you can.
Twice now Mike and I have taken out our small inflatable boat. We cruised along the Adriatic Sea coast and stopped in at a beach bar both days for a lovely cappuccino. It was the only time that I felt comfortable because it is so hot when you are not on or in the water. The temperature here is in the 90s but has felt much hotter. This has shortened our bike rides and caused us to take the car instead of the bikes a couple of times into Zadar, about 17 km away. There is a cute little waterfront town about 2 km from our campsite called Nin. It is very touristy and historic with Roman ruins from the first century. I find the thought of walls and footings from the first century very amazing. Six of us went to hear an outdoor concert in Nin one evening. I think the classical music went on a little long for the teenagers, but they took it very well.
One evening we went to a restaurant for a pig roast dinner. We had 21 at dinner that evening. I am one of those city people who appreciate precut steaks without having to think about where they come from.
Today I am taking a ½ day off while I write this, and Mike has gone biking on his own for a few hours. I find biking and walking around towns in this heat really tiring.
Yesterday afternoon Elin and Monica cooked pancakes and waffles for 13 of us. While we were together I decided to try Trine’s Sky Master. Those are the devices that you stand on, with no handles and you lean forwards and backwards to maneuver. I had actually paid to try one once before in a parking lot. The one I tried must have been “dumbed down” for customers. It was much easier to manipulate. I had a really hard time with this one but Trine and Synne very nicely acted as “spotters” for me and helped prevent me from going flying. People walking by were laughing and offering their encouragement. I didn’t look very professional.
Tonight will be our last night together. This week has gone really quickly. We met Helge and Elin and their family in Oslo last year. We visited them at their home south of Bergen for most of a week and they came and visited us in Bergen. I am not sure when we will get together again but I really hope we don’t lose touch. They know that they are welcome in Canada as soon as we get back there in good weather.
As many of you know from previous articles, 2017 was the coldest, wettest summer in Scandinavian history. This year is nice and sunny and extremely dry. A lot of Denmark and Norway are not allowed outdoor grills or BBQs at the moment because of the extreme fire risk concern. I know that too dry isn’t great for the area, but Mike and I would really have appreciated a little of it last year.
I wanted to mention our drive into Zaton. Previously we were staying on the other side of the mountains. Coming across the mountains in a large RV towing a Lincoln was interesting. Luckily, we took the main highway. Even it had many hair pin turns, but they were very large ones. There were a lot of tunnels through parts of the mountain. At one point, as we were about to enter another tunnel, above us you could see the hair pin turns we had just travelled and the previous tunnel above that we had been in. I wish I could have gotten a picture. When we are out in the boat we can see the mountains in the distance and the sea and the beaches. I can understand why Croatia is such a huge tourist destination. I think Mike and I will appreciate it more when we return in the autumn when it isn’t quite so hot.
Bye to all our Norwegian friends, with special thanks for a great week and for arranging this to Helge, Elin, Helene and Trine. You folks are great.
Our plan is to head back north now into Hungary and then Slovenia. We are going towards Lake Balaton where we were in March of this year when it was cold and most of the campgrounds were closed. I expect it to look very different in high tourist season. We fly back to Canada from Budapest on August 7 for 10 days. We hope to see many of you then.
Addendum: As per normal, this article doesn’t get posted when it is originally written. I mentioned that Mike had gone out for a bike ride while I was writing this. Well he returned, extremely tired. He had explored our resort and then meandered around, slowly heading towards a town (Zadar) 17 km away. After exploring the town, he headed back to the camper. About one km outside the town of Zadar the battery on his electric bike died. These bikes are much harder to ride when the battery is dead because the tires are both wider and smaller (and sometimes not fully inflated ?). Mike said that for about 10 km it was really rough going especially in the heat. He then came to a gas station where he put air in the tires and he said that the amount of energy required to pedal was as different as night and day. Apparently both tires were very low on air. We think that this, in conjunction with previously biking in the campground, caused the battery to die sooner than expected. I am very glad that I took the day off. Mike did get back and almost instantly took a nap in his reclining chair. He could have called me to come and get him instead of toughing it out if he had really needed to.
On a last, completely unrelated subject. Mike and I watched “Watch This”, the first episode of the TV series “Brain Games”. It is on You Tube and Netflix. You might want to watch at least the first few minutes if you get the chance. I was fascinated and I am not very happy knowing that people can mess with my brain and what I see that easily.