Friday, May 25, 2012

Bus-ted in Nin

Today, Natalie and I decided to take a bus up the coast to a town called Nin ("Neen"). We haven't used the buses around Zadar very much because we like to walk everywhere, we're cheap, and the bus company's website sucks. We knew that there was a bus to Nin, so we just showed up at the station and bought 2 tickets for the next departure ($2.82 each).

We got on the bus without a problem and headed out of town. As we rode along, the bus stopped at seemingly random places along the road. The stops were nothing much to speak of, just a couple houses here and there along country roads. We started to see signs pointing to Nin. The bus stopped a couple more times, and some people got off, but nothing looked like an actual town. At one of the stops Natalie made an observation:
Natalie: "Those people that just got off looked like tourists."
Jim: "Why would tourists want to get off here? I'm sure they were locals."
We continued to ride along, but there were no signs for Nin until Natalie looked back and noticed that the signs were pointing in the opposite direction.
Natalie: "That sign back there said that Nin is in the other direction."
Jim: "Don't worry, honey, I looked at a map before we left. I'm sure the bus loops around on the peninsula and then comes back. Nin is a big town, so we couldn't have missed it."
The bus continued on, and more people got off. We knew that Nin was supposed to be 10 minutes away by car and at this point we had been on the bus for almost 45 minutes.
Jim: "Look, honey, now we're going over the bridge that goes out to that island. There's only one way off the island, which just proves that he's going to turn around. I'm sure he'll head toward Nin right after he drops off the islanders."
So we continued on, and the road got narrower. And then turned to dirt. And then ended in a field. Natalie was convinced that the bus driver was a serial killer, taking us down a backcountry road to chop us up into tiny pieces. However, she thinks this about most drivers and I'm reasonably certain that serial killers do not have a rosary and a SpongeBob SquarePants hanging from their rear view mirror.
Is this really the bus route?
Natalie: "Jim, I think this is the last stop."
Jim: (Looking around the bus) "It shouldn't be, although we are the last ones on the bus and the driver appears to be staring at us."
At this point we made our way to the front of the bus to make an inquiry (English translation in parentheses):
Us: "Nin?" (Nin?)
Driver: "Ne." (No.)
Sheep outside the bus: "Baaaah." (Tourists!)
That was about the extent of our conversation in the absence of a common language. We sat back down and hung out with the driver while he filled out his logs and switched his destination sign back to Zadar. After a few minutes, we started heading back the way we had come. As it turns out, the route wasn't a loop at all, but rather an out-and-back. How about that?

On the way back, the driver dropped us off at the bus stop for Nin, which coincidentally was exactly the stop at which Natalie had made her earlier observation regarding the tourists. In the end, it all worked out as we had the opportunity to see much, much more of the area and the driver didn't charge us an extra nickel for the tour.

As for Nin, it was much smaller than we had anticipated. In fact, it only took us about a half hour to see the whole place before we were back on the bus to Zadar. We leave you with the few photos that weren't taken out the window of a bus.

Behold! We've found Nin! Or is that Non? Or Nan?

The 9th century Chuch St. Cross, fondly known as "the smallest cathedral in the world."

The ancient city of Nin was developed on a small islet over 3,000 years ago.