SATURDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMP BANJA – SLANO – CROATIA
Today was always going to be a hard day emotionally. One of our good friends daughter is getting married today and all us friends would have been together for the whole day except we would now be missing. Kept thinking during the day what would be happening at that time..
I had forgotten to say that whilst we were walking round Dubrivnik we saw some street performers, one of them was covered in gold paint like a statue and he was the spitting image of Peter Dalby – to a T! I took a photo to upload when we next get internet it was so funny.
Anyway we left Dubrovnik having paid our campsite bill of £68 for 2 nights (the most expensive yet!) and headed back to the island of Peljsec to catch the ferry back to northern Croatia. On the way Tony was remarking that the Croatian drivers, denoted by the HR sign on the back of their vehicles, were the worst drivers he had ever come across. Just as he said it we were overtaken on a blind bend on the mountainous road with a sheer drop at the side by a bloody great coach – you’ve guessed it HR on the back!
Further up the road I was looking down at the coastline and the small bays and saw a lot of campervans parked up so we turned around and went back to the town, Slano. There was a sign to the Autokamp but up a narrow road along the seafront so Tony got out the bike and cycled up it to see what was there and if we would be able to get to it. He came back and said it was a lovely campsite set amongst the olive groves and although the road was very narrow he thought we could make it so off we went. The road, in parts, was almost a one car track and had we not known that there was indeed a campsite ,with campervans parked on it, at the end then we may well have tried to turn around and go back!
There were actually two campsites – the first one you came across was like someone’s back yard and vans were crammed in with hardly any space between them but Tony had found one 50 mtrs up the road, Autokamp Banja, which is the one we went to. This site was lovely and spacious, olive, apple & fig trees covered the site with the vans parked in between them. It was 120kn a night including electricity (£13). We found our way up the path to the old house to book in, there was a lovely lady there and a very old gentleman who I think was her father, he came and got us settled in and connected us up to the electric. Neither of them could speak English.
We immediately got attacked by mozzies and this was to be a bit of a problem but we got used to it and think they got fed up with us as every new van came in…fresh meat!
Just in front of the campsite was the sea with a stony beach. There was a small fisherman’s hut, some jetty’s and a boat launching slope which you could also use to get into the sea. The water was crystal clear, as it was everywhere we had been in Croatia. We went for a swim and then Tony went out in his Kayak. He decided to set up his fish trap and placed it, with some bread in it, near some traps that the locals had put down, hopeful that it would be full of fish by the morning.
Back at the van we heard the tent tapper although could not actually see anyone…..
We relaxed around the van for the rest of the afternoon and were just getting ready to go into the town for a meal when our friends rang from the UK. They were at the wedding reception, obviously having partaken of some champagne and sang us a song over the phone. We then had a few words with each of them in turn, all said they were missing us which was nice, Kath then remarked on how much this was costing her on her phone bill and I told her that it wasn’t only costing her it was also costing me 75p a minute to receive, it was worth it however just to speak to everyone, made me feel a bit homesick though but I knew I would get over it.
We cycled along the seafront into the town in the evening for a meal. The town is very small, only a couple of restaurants and two bars. There is a lovely hotel, The Atlantic, and we had a walk around it. It was nothing like the last hotel we walked around, this one was all smoked glass, infinity pools and posh furniture. There is a small port area with 2 large fishing boats (trawlers) a small cruise ship (Katarina-line.com) and two smaller power boats all moored up. We watched as a group of English travellers arrived to board the cruise ship, judging by their clothes they had obviously just been picked up from Dubrovnik airport.
We had dinner at one of the restaurants – I had veal steak which was lovely, thank goodness. I asked for a glass of red wine but we got a carafe so a bit more than anticipated. After we had finished Tony put all the left over bread from the meal into my handbag so he could use it for his fish trap tomorrow – it’s probably on CCTV somewhere!
We then went and sat at the bar on the quayside for a drink. There was a couple sitting at the next table to us and the waiter came and asked them what they wanted to drink – he said “a beer” and she said, in a broad Scottish accent, “a Cherry Brandy”. Well the waiter had obviously never heard of Cherry Brandy let alone understood her accent and just looked at her and made a sound like “Que?” – just like Manuel in Fawlty Towers J After several attempts she gave up and had an orange juice.
Hearing them speak English, albeit in a Scottish accent, we got talking to them and they told us they were staying at the Atlantic Hotel and had come out to get away from the awful cabaret singers. They said it was a very nice place, usually really quiet and peaceful. Tony was telling them all about his fish trap and I was laughing about bring the bread away from the restaurant when the woman suddenly reached into her handbag and bought out some bread that she had taken from their evening meal to feed the ducks with – she gave it to Tony like she was giving him the crown jewels. My handbag was now bulging with bread!
After a few more (really strong) drinks we cycled back to the campsite…. Can you get done for being drunk on a bike?
SUNDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMP BANJA – SLANO – CROATIA
Lovely and sunny today, we haven’t had any rain or high winds for ages thank goodness. We are getting a bit relaxed about leaving things out overnight and I have a feeling this is going to catch us out!
Tony was up early to check his fish traps but came back disappointed – there were only two tiddlers in it and when he tried to get them out one of them bit his finger. He reset it and would check it again later.
The other residents of the campsite are a mixed bunch but there are a few Germans and they have been very nice. They have made the effort to chat to us, especially Tony when he goes off fishing. There is one dog (Lilly) and two cats staying in campers. The cats are on long leads and keep glaring at each other across the pitches whilst the dog thinks it hilarious to stand just out of reach and bark at the cats.
After breakfast outside Tony went off on his bike to explore and I took my chair and book to the beach. Spent most of the day down there it was so nice. I could hear this loud disco music that sounded like it was really close but it turned out to be coming from a large hotel across the other side of the bay. Tony happened to be cycling nearby to it when it started and said they were having Aqua Aerobics in the sea, the music was so loud it was distorted and no one could hear the instructor. Throughout the day we could hear various announcements from a woman calling people to events that were going on – just like Ruth Maddox in Hi-de-Hi.
Tony had said he wanted to get some small crabs, like hermit crabs, to use as bait for fishing and I told him I had seen loads all in one spot so he went to get them only to be chastised by a German woman nearby as she had been collecting them from all over and putting them in that spot for her own fishing bait! He managed to pinch a few though and then gathered some of his own.
I was back at the van snoozing in the reclining chair when I heard what I thought was the tent tapper but it turned out to be Tony, having returned he was smashing the crab shells he had collected between two rocks to get the small crabs out ready to use for fishing bait in the morning.
Surprisingly, after a day of doing nothing, we were quite tired by the time the evening came so I made macaroni cheese for tea we then wandered down to the shore and watched two small fishing boats go out with huge lights on the front of them presumably to attract fish & squid, they didn’t go very far out, quite near Tony’s fish traps actually so he was quite hopeful for the morning. Back at the van we watched the film ‘Madagascar’ (Tony’s review = what a load of rubbish!) before we went to bed. It was a lot cooler tonight so had a thin blanket on the bed as well as the sheet. Lying in bed we could hear a woman cabaret singer from the Atlantic hotel and some loud disco music from the hotel across the bay, both competing to see who was the loudest.
MONDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMP BANJA – SLANO – CROATIA
Tony up early again to check fish trap – still no fish so he was really disappointed and bought it in. Don’t know what he is doing wrong so decide we need to look up some information on the internet.
We had breakfast outside and then Tony said he was going fishing with his rod. I said I would quite like to have a go so he fixed up the second rod and I went with him. He was using the small crabs as bait but they kept falling off my hook so I went back to the van and got some salami. It stayed on and I could feel and see the fish nibbling at the end, sometimes quite fiercely, but none of them actually took the hook. I had a great time, got quite good at casting – I can cast up to around 25mtr on my own now. I could easily get hooked on this – excuse the pun!
We fished until around 12.30pm then Tony got fed up so he went off in his canoe whilst I stayed & fished alone for another hour. We cycled into the town for lunch and to look at the internet to see how to set up the fish traps. Apparently you need a net to put the bait into before you put it in the trap and need to use fish or fish guts not bread!
We had an ice-cream and a few beers at the quayside bar – no sign of the ‘cherry brandy’ couple – although there was another cruise ship in dock from the same company. As we sat at the bar several couples came and went from the ship, they were all quite old so Tony deduced it must be a ‘Saga Ship’. (Perhaps I should remind him that he is now 61 and could quite easily be a Saga customer!)
Back at the van we had a swim and then Tony got taking to a Croatian chap on the shore. It turned out that he was the nephew of the campsite owner and had grown up in the town before moving to Germany later in life. He now spends 6months in Slano, in his apartment and then goes back to Germany for the winter. He said his father used to be the mayor of the town but today it was mainly a holiday resort with apartments and the two hotels although it was never really busy just ticking along. He told Tony all about the town, how all the buildings were mostly destroyed in the war and had to be re-built, how the Serbs had occupied the high mountain at the back of the town and from there bombarded Dubrovnik. He said the large hotel on the far side of the bay used to be a hotel that the communist workers were sent to for holidays in General Tito’s rule but had changed hands several times since then. He explained that the fishermen, whose hut was on the shore in front of the campsite, were the last in the line of local fishermen. They had other jobs, one was a policeman the other a teacher, and only fished a few hours every night. They used to sell their fish locally but there was no call for it anymore and he didn’t expect them to continue fishing for much longer.
We both had a snooze – the effects of drinking beer in the afternoon – and then on waking at 7pm made a cup of tea which we took down to the shore to watch the sunset. Looking in the water Tony saw an octopus, quite large, hiding under a rock by the jetty. He went back to get a torch, gloves and a big stick to poke him out thinking he could use it as bait but he just couldn’t get hold of it. It wasn’t that it was particularly quick to swim away just very agile at avoiding Tony’s grip. When it was just sitting by the rock I was shining the torch over him , it was just looking up at me with these two big eyes on top of its head, it looked almost cartoon like.
We sat outside the van playing scrabble on the ipad until quite late, listening to the music from the hotel across the bay – they were actually playing The Hokey Cokey at one point and finished up with Nessun Dorma.
We had planned to move on tomorrow but it is so nice here we have decided to stay another day. Tony has more info on fish traps now and wants to give it another go and I’d quite like to have another go at fishing!
TUESDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMP BANJA – SLANO – CROATIA
We were woken up at 3.30am by what I thought was a campervan leaving the site but later realised must have been the fishermen going home.
Some vans had gone by the time we were up and some others were arriving. There was an argument going on between the site owner and one of the German vans that had been here for a few days because he had parked his trailer next to his van thus using 2 pitches and one of the vans that had just arrived wanted to park there. After a lot of raised voices and shaking of hands he moved the trailer. This chap uses the trailer for his big yellow quad bike, he must be 80 years old at least and there are two helmets so presumable his wife goes on it with him although I have to say since we have been here I’ve never seen him on it.
Tony cycled into town to see if the local supermarket had any fish he could use as bait. I knew they didn’t have fresh fish but presumably they would have some frozen. He returned with a carrier bag of stinking fish and fish guts that he got from the fishing trawlers, he had arrived just as they were having a clear out and they gave him loads that they would have been chucking away. Happy as Larry he set up his trap and then took it out to lay it.
One of the vans that just arrived and parked next to us has a big white cat with them, it’s tied to a tree on a long lead – hope he doesn’t get a whiff of Tony’s fish bait that he’s got in a bucket at the back of the van!
After laying his fish trap Tony went off in his kayak with his rod to fish further out in the bay. I took my chair & book down to the beach and also took my binoculars so I could see how he was getting on. Whenever I looked he just seemed to be sitting there holding the rod. The current was bringing him towards the shore so every now & again he had to paddle back out to sea. Surprisingly he was out there for about three hours before he gave in and came back, picking up his fish trap on the way. No fish what so ever, either from fishing or in his trap. It’s becoming quite a camp joke as Tony has to walk past everyone when he comes back from fishing, empty handed and they all make a big thing of asking him, tongue in cheek, how many he has caught.
We packed away most of our things leaving the bikes out to cycle into town in the evening but after having a few beers and watching the sunset we couldn’t be bothered so had tea in the van, played scrabble by candlelight outside before going to bed around 10pm.
WEDNESDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMPING STOBREC - CROATIA
Awoken very early by the bin men again – it’s only a very small place but they seem to come every day. So, up at 7.30 we had breakfast and packed away the last remaining things and went to the house to pay.
We saw the old man, who didn’t speak any English, and he calculated how much we had to pay for the four nights we had been there. He asked us – in Croatian – if we had a dog? We couldn’t understand what he was saying and so he drew a picture of a dog on a piece of paper, we all laughed about his picture. He wanted to know where in the UK we lived and drew an map of the UK with London on it and gave me the pen to put where we lived. We gave him a pack of Shortbread biscuits we had and he said “souvenir, souvenir, thank you, thank you” – I hope that they eat them and don’t put them on show somewhere.
Back to the van we were saying goodbye to the other residents when the old man came running out from the house waving our passports in his hand – with all the talking I had forgotten to pick them up from him. Every campsite that we go to keep our passports until we leave and I have always had this worry that one time we would drive off without them!
After much deliberation as to whether we should risk driving through Bosnia without insurance we decided not to take the risk and go back the way we came by ferry. Not knowing what the consequences would be if we got stopped we decided the £35 ferry trip, which was quite pleasant around the islands, was worth it. We stopped in Ston to get some fresh bread and on the way back to the van we passed a barbers shop with a female hairdresser so I popped in and asked her to cut my fringe (it had grown so long it was really annoying me!) she was very meticulous and charged me 50p. We arrived in Trpanj just as the ferry was loading so went straight on and one and a quarter hours later alighted at Ploce on the mainland.
Driving along Tony said that the clutch was slipping badly. Unbeknown to me he had been nursing it the last couple of weeks but didn’t think it was going to last much longer as it was getting worse rapidly. We stopped in Omis in a car park – Yes THAT car park – and phoned the AA breakdown recovery policy that we had for help. I was on the phone to them for ages and they told me that all they could do was assist us in finding a garage that could do the repair and if necessary recover us there. As we were over 3500kg we were not entitled to accommodation costs whilst the repair was being carried out, if we had been less than 3500kg then they would have paid for a hotel! What difference the weight of the vehicle makes to why they can’t provide accommodation costs I don’t know. I explained that we could just about still drive the vehicle so would head for Split and she should phone back with the garage details. About ½ hr. later I got a phone call from some Croatian chap asking me where we were as he would come and recover the van to a garage. I explained all over again that we did not need recovery, just the details of a garage; he said he would speak to the AA in the UK and they would ring me. God knows what my phone bill is going to be!
We arrived at Camping Stobrec about 2km outside Split and booked in for the night. We told the receptionist about our clutch and he said there was a small garage just round the corner so we parked up and then walked to see if they could help. Turns out it’s a small 2 man garage, well 1 man and his daughter actually but she does repair the vehicles as well as do the office. She says they can do the job but couldn’t give us a price or say when as all her suppliers were now shut so we should come back in the morning.
Walking back to the van I got a text from 3 saying I was near the credit limit on my phone so I need to call and sort it out before using it again. I called and they told me my bill was up to £120!!!!! They raised the limit to £160. I have not been using the internet so it’s all calls and texts apparently £1.40 a min for calls and 90p a min to receive them – I worked out that the calls to the AA cost me about £40!
Back to the van and had BBQ tea quickly realising, as we were sitting outside, that we were on the main drag for people walking to leave the campsite to go out for the night and we were hoping that they wouldn’t be too late or too noisy when they returned later.
Tony says he heard a German chap calling his dog to heel and its name was “Auschwitz” – I said he must have heard wrong as no one would call their dog that but he’s adamant that’s what he called it!
Tony got talking to the elderly German couple in the next van that had just come in from a swim and were trying to wash themselves down with cups of water from the tap. He asked them why they didn’t shower on the beach and they said you have to pay for them. Tony got out his ‘bubble wash’ – a hand pump spray – and sprayed them down which they thought was hilarious.
They said they do a lot of swimming and this was the worst place they had been to in that the water was very cloudy and very weedy. That’s me not going in then – can’t stand weed around my feet.
We had a walk along the promenade into the small town, stopped at a bar and had a couple of beers before going back to the campsite and bed. Luckily no noise from the people retuning home and walking past our van.
THURSDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMPING STOBREC - CROATIA
Woken by heavy thunder, lightning and rain this morning. Glad we had put everything away last night.
Tony went to the garage with the van details and came back saying that they could do the job tomorrow and the cost was £500 cash. Got to be done, we have no other option. They wanted him to take the van to the garage to check it would fit in the workshop and the old boy wanted to diagnose for himself that the clutch needed doing. We secured everything and drove there as asked and he agreed with Tony’s diagnosis. We were to take the van in at 8am tomorrow morning and hopefully they would be able to do it in one day, if not they said we can sleep in the van at their garage – don’t think I fancy that so let’s keep fingers crossed it’s done in one day.
Took the van back to the campsite and we booked in for a further night.
A British chap stopped by the van to chat with Tony. He was staying at a campsite a bit further north and was looking at other campsites in the area.
Tony went out on his bike for a look around the local town, a few minutes after he left it started raining!
I done some washing & tidied the van. We went to the camp restaurant in the evening. Tony had a pizza – they do two sizes normal & large, thank goodness he had the normal one as we were told later that the large one is so big they have to bring another table to put it on!
I had lasagne but the sauce was so runny it was more like a pasta soup – I had to ask for a spoon to eat it with.
Back at the van we packed everything away ready for an early move to be at the garage for 8am.
FRIDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2012 OMIS CAR PARK
We checked out of the campsite and arrived at the garage with the van for 8am to be met by the old chap who would be doing the job. He insisted on Tony having a glass of schnapps and said that he always had one before starting work Tony managed to manoeuvre the van into his workshop with inches to spare each side and on top.
We caught the bus into Split. The bus was a really old one, worse than any we had been on in Vietnam and, presumably as it was 8.30, it went all around the local industrial estate dropping people off at work before heading into Split some 30 minutes away.
We got off the bus and it started to rain and continued to do so for most of the day.
We looked around the vegetable market, there were people who had just a few vegetables for sale on a table, as if they had just dug them up from their garden and bought them along to sell. There was also a lot of homemade cheese and I bought a big round of creamy goat’s cheese – it was lovely. We then walked through the rest of the market, bought Tony some socks as his feet were soaking wet already. We found ourselves on the main seafront area so we had coffee and bacon & eggs which was surprisingly good – at least we were in the dry.
After looking round the Marina & large ferry terminal we ventured into Split old town which consisted of a lot of narrow streets and old buildings in a very small area. It was now 12.15, we had seen most of the things to see in the centre of town and we still had loads of time to kill so we got the tourist bus which went around the outer areas of the town for a period of 1 ½ hours.
3.15pm and we were back in the old town, seen & done everything so we decided to go back to the campsite and sit in the bar until 5.30pm when we were due to go back to collect the van. It had rained all day, everywhere was flooded and everybody was soaking wet. We had a coffee and made it last for an hour and a half whilst reading & waiting.
5.30pm thank goodness and we made our way back to the garage, hopeful as we hadn’t had any phone call to tell of any problems, that the van would be finished. It wasn’t….. The part only arrived late afternoon and they hadn’t finished putting it back together. Anticipating having to get a hotel room for the night Tony asked when we would be able to collect it and they said they would work until it was finished and that should be around 8pm tonight!
We walked along the seafront of Stobrec in a half hour dry spell and then sat & had a drink in a bar. The bar had free internet so I logged on & checked emails etc... I had contact from our friends in MotorHomeFun, Jean & Graham, who were asking where we were on our travels as they were at Camping Stobrec with another club member who had been asking about us. We couldn’t believe it as this was the same campsite we were on and they had been there for a couple of days without us seeing them! We drunk up and walked to their caravan to meet them. We stayed chatting until 8pm when we went back to pick up the, hopefully, finished motorhome.
Yep, it was all done although hadn’t been road tested as the old boy didn’t want to drive it as it was so big. We paid the bill and after another compulsorily glass of schnapps Tony manoeuvred the van out of the garage, very gingerly due to also having consumed a couple of beers at Jean & Grahams and we set off up the road to make sure all was ok. It seemed to be Ok but he wanted to test it on some hilly roads so went south past Omis where we knew it would be hilly. Unfortunately the road was very narrow & winding, we couldn’t find anywhere to turn around to come back and ended up travelling 20 miles before we found a place. It was 9.50 when we got back to Omis, some 15 miles until Stobrec and we knew the latest time we could re-book in at the campsite was 10pm so reluctantly, on my part, we made the decision to park for the night in the Omis Car Park (this car park is going to haunt me forever!!).
SATURDAY 15TH SEPTEMBER 2012 STOBREC CAMPING – STOBREC
Woke up to a nice sunny morning. Just having a cup of tea when Jean & graham turned up in the car park, they were out for the day.
We drove to Camping Stobrec and booked in for two nights feeling that we needed a relaxing few days to get over the stress of the last few days.
We had a clean out and put everything that was wet or damp out to dry. Mike (Gozomike) dropped by to say hello.
There was an elderly gentleman behind us who came over to talk to Tony, his first words were “excuse me, I don’t want to interrupt but……” and then he went on to chat about our van & where we had been. He was there for ages before he went back to his van. Tony went out on his canoe up the river next to the campsite, he saw loads of trout and was tempted to put out his fish net but managed to resist. Graham took us to the local supermarket in the afternoon in his car, one benefit of being in a caravan! We got a lot of supplies including some fresh fish to BBQ, some pickled octopus and some more beer, bottles instead of cans as they were so much cheaper. What we didn’t realise until we got to the checkout is that there was a 15p deposit on each bottle (we had bought 24 of them) so would have to keep them to return. Not too bad we thought as we could take them back to the camp supermarket.
We had tea then jean & graham came round in the evening & we sat outside. Whilst we were sitting talking the old boy from the van behind came over with “excuse me, I don’t want to interrupt but……” He stayed for absolutely ages talking about vans, houses, where they had been etc… we thought he’d never go. Sat outside until 11.30pm – the latest we had been up yet.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16TH 2012 STOBREC CAMPING – STOBREC
Tony went out on his bike first thing whilst I sorted van. When I got up I looked out of the window and there was a group of 5 bikers camped next to us. They were all sitting on tree stumps around small stove boiling water; they looked like a group of pixies.
I had taken off the memory foam mattress topper from the bed as Tony reckoned he was not sleeping well with it. It made no difference to him but my back was bad sleeping on the hard van mattresses so I put it back on – no mean feat humping that thing around in the van I can tell you and I felt like I had done 10 rounds with Ali by the time I’d finished.
An English chap, looked late 60’s early 70’s, came to the van to ask about crossing Bosnia to go to Dubrovnik, he had heard that we had gone and wanted to know how we got on. I got out the maps and told him all about the islands and our trip. He was in a car with a tent so it may have been easier for him to get away with crossing the Bosnian stretch than us in our van but he said he liked the idea of the ferry crossing and seeing the island so would probably go that way. He and his wife spent most of the year travelling around and staying in their tent. He had been to Hungary and Czechoslovakia and said although it was very nice it was also very basic, especially Hungary, the sanitation was not good, also the campsites closed on 30th September and it would be quite hard for us to find somewhere to stay. Having just had a couple of cold, wet days, I was already going off the thought of Budapest & Prague thinking we would save this for another trip during the summer months and he had just confirmed my thoughts.
After he had gone I was just setting off to put the bedding in the camp washing machines when I heard a voice “excuse me, I don’t want to interrupt but……” yes it was him. We had been talking the previous night about downsizing our van and he said come and look in his van to get some idea of what it was like. I went & looked, got talking to his wife (who seemed very normal-poor woman) and then he said to her “come and have a look in their van” so they both came back to our van & went inside. After about 15 mins I managed to break away and set off for the laundry. He came and walked with me to the WC block, chatting all the way. I told him about the Tent chap asking about Bosnia on the way and he said he had seen a Brit with a tent and it was probably the same chap. Anyway, nearing the toilet block he suddenly veered off into the tented area, sought out the British chap and I could hear “excuse me, I don’t want to interrupt but……” so I left them to it & escaped.
We went swimming in the afternoon, met Jean & Graham (who had borrowed Tony’s LiLo) on the beach so sat & chatted. We decided to go to the camp restaurant for dinner that evening. We arrived at 8pm, Jean & Graham were already there but greeted us with the news that the camp cook had gone sick & the restaurant was closed! However, Graham drove us in his car to the town and we had a really lovely meal in a restaurant there before going back to their caravan for a nightcap.
I found out that if I wanted to take back the empty beer bottles for a deposit refund I had to produce the receipt so that put paid to my plans – would just have to put them next to the bottle bank and I’m sure some local person will pick them up & return them. There are loads of people walking round all the time collecting plastic & glass so there must be money in it!
MONDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMPING SOLARIS Nr SIBENIK
This morning saw us packing up and moving off to Sibenik. I was quite sorry to go and had felt that the last few days we had really had a good time thanks to the company of Jean & Graham. Hadn’t seen a lot of Mike though we did have a group photo on the beach before we went.
As we were packing up the bikers were boiling a billycan of water for 5 cups of tea, we boiled our electric kettle and took it round to them and also let one of the girls used my computer to check her emails & facebook.
We drove to Trogir with the aim to find a campsite and then look around the old town. On driving through we found a parking area – just a fenced off compund really – 5 mins walk from the town which had a camper sign saying parking 24hr 80KN (£8.50). There was no one in the booth to pay but there were three other campers there so we parked up and walked into the old town. It was very pretty & historic with the usual churches & forts. We paid £3.50 to look around the central church and Tony climbed the tower for the view over the city. I couldn’t face it as the stairs looked very narrow, steep & enclosed and I am not good with heights anyway. He said the stairs got narrower as he went up and at one point he almost had to climb through some spiral metalwork but it was worth it for the view.
We had finished in Trogir at 3pm so decided rather than stay there we would move on to Sibenik to Camping Solaris which had been recommended to us. When we got back to the parking lot the chap was there and we had to pay £3 for parking which was very reasonable considering the town car parks charged £4.50 per hour. He also said that campervans can park overnight in the compound for £8.50 – a bargain! We arrived at Camping Solaris about 3.45 and looked around. It was a lovely campsite belonging to a group of hotels in a complex with a swimming pool on the beach, restaurants and bars all between. We picked a site amongst the pine trees which happened to be next to a British van. We parked up and went for a swim.
When we got back to the van the chap next door drew up and said “hello – remember me?”, it was the chap who had stopped & talked to Tony in the Stobrec campsite asking what it was like as he was thinking of moving there. Small world!
He came and sat with us outside the van for a drink bringing with him a bottle of the local champagne which was very nice!
He has been full timing in his van for the last 5 years having retired from the army at 47 years old. He has been on this campsite for 3 weeks as it is so nice. He has a motorbike so he can go out from the camp shopping or sightseeing whenever he wants. He left at 8pm as he was going to have dinner with a couple further up the site.
We had tea, some local stew that I had bought from the supermarket delicatessen and whilst it was cooking Tony got talking to a Dutch couple in the van behind us and they invited us over for a drink after we had eaten and we sat outside talking to them until it got dark.
They were complaining about a German van that had pulled up in front of them blocking their view, it seems not many other nationalities like the Germans!!
There is a small train that travels around the resort from the big hotels at one end of the resort down to the campsite & back. When it comes past tooting its horn with the passengers inside I feel like the campsite area is akin to the slum area of the resort and any minute the people on board will throw out some stale bread from the train and everyone will scrabble to get it…. Maybe we’ll have a go on it and visit the posh end of town.
TUESDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER 2012 CAMPING SOLARIS Nr SIBENIK
Woke up to a lovely sunny day. Jimmy was doing his 30mins exercise next door on his punch bag which he has hanging from the tree. He joked that he should have a swastika on it then he would hit it harder.
Tony went off to cycle round the camp, he was gone ages and came back saying the hotels and amenities were really good. The camp staff were busy raking up all the pine needles from the trees, leaving them in small piles for the lorry to come round later to collect.
I looked at the boat trip round the Island National park but it was a 9hr day, cost 57E which included lunch, drinks, transfers & boat trip. When I asked how much time was spent in the boat going around the islands she said 1 ½ hrs! It sounded like a real touristy trip so think we may make our own way there & try to get a boat.
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