From the Boskinac on Pag Island we went to Zadar. We were there for one night so we made the most of our time and immediately started our walking tour of the city after we checked into Hotel Bastion. One of the highlights of the old town is St. Donat’s Church. It dates from the 8th-9th centuries and was built with columns and other ruins from the Roman forum that was once in Zadar and parts of which can still be seen. The central part of the church is round and was difficult to photograph, not that any photo could do it justice. I’m not so religious but going into churches or cathedrals always gives me pause thinking how the architects, builders, clergy and wealthy donors wanted to inspire the Divine. I felt it as the afternoon sun came into small, high windows near the top of the dome. The best part was seeing the remains of Roman columns as the foundations for the church. Recycling was hip in the 8th century! Ha. More like they were pagan and they’re not here anymore so let’s use it! Funny how people think that way these days still.
There was an archaelogy museum across the way from the church that we zipped through. It was mostly ceramics, stone fragments and fragments of church lintels and columns that they decided to put on view inside rather than out front. Right next to the church was a belltower. Bf suggested we climb up, sure I said. After climbing about 5 stories up spiral stairs not wide enough for people to go up and down at the same time but who cares let’s all try to do it anyway, bf tells me he has vertigo! To top it off as we got to the doorway that led outside to the balcony around the roof, the bells started ringing giving us both a shock. The wonderful view of Zadar and the sea made up for it.
Once we escaped the bell tower we wandered through the rest of town. There were plenty of tourist shops selling every kind of souvenir to a cheese shop selling Pag Island cheese (paski sir) to clothing stores and gelaterias. We found the 5 wells near the edge of town and a gate with St. Mark’s lion (symbol of Venice).
The sun was setting so I wanted to head back towards the hotel to hear the Sea Organ (not my video but at least you can hear it and get a sense of what it is) and see the Greeting to the Sun both by architect Nicolas Basic. Both seemed pretty silly reading about them but once we got there it was fun to watch people’s reactions, especially little kids. The Sea Organ generates different sounds and tones as the waves hit the tubes under the marble steps. Greeting to the Sun absorbs the solar energy to power the waterfront area of Zadar and to make a fun disco floor. They’re right next to each other at the northwestern end of the old town which is also a perfect place to watch the sunset.
The walk to this end of town was particularly charming as we took the promenade along the water. You could see the ships and ferries coming in and out of Zadar. Here and there were ladders into the water and plenty of people took advantage of this. It’s sort of a large public pool except it happens to be the Adriatic. I could imagine stopping by after work for a quick, refreshing swim. Further along was a water polo setup–no wonder Croatia won the gold medal in Men’s water polo!
For dinner we went to Fosa just outside the gate with St. Mark’s lion. The entrance is contemporary and sleek but once you pass through to the large outdoor seating area and look at the menu it’s a blend of traditional and modern cuisine. There’s also a large, mesmirizing aquarium just inside. I don’t think that’s where dinner lives but you never know. Despite every table on the terrace being full it was quiet and relaxing with a view of the city walls. They have lights in the sidewalk that project up onto the stone walls, very dramatic.
After a light lunch at Boskinac and all the walking around it was time to gorge ourselves once again. We ordered one appetizer of marinated anchovies but the waiter gave us each a generous serving of 3 different types, all great. Apparently he felt we had waited too long so he made up for it by giving us more. After that were two different tartars: tuna and a shrimp and scallop combo. OMG we had more! Tiny white fish, fried, over a chickpea salad on a puree of something. Those were amazing. Oh and there were entrees! We should have stopped but our eyes and gurgling stomachs made us think more was necessary: scampi with black truffle risotto for me and ravioli with prosciutto and black truffles for bf. After all that we were definitely uncomfortable. We had a pleasant 15 minute walk back to the hotel which sort of helped. We slept well.