Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Road Trip, Part II: A Fortress & Flaming Duct Tape

Day 2 of our road trip started at the crack of dawn (8am!) We were highly motivated to hit the road as we only had the rental car til 5pm. Since we'd toured a large portion of the coastal road on the way to ┼áibenik, we decided to save some time by jumping on the A1 motorway,  an inland toll road.

Scenery along the A1 motorway at 120 kph.
Our first stop was the small town of Trogir. It's about 75 miles south of Zadar. Trogir's historic center is located on a small island, just off the coast, and is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Everyone knows that you can't spell FUNESCO without UNESCO!) With such accolades, we knew that Trogir would be a fine destination for our road trip.

Trogir was hopping with tourists, ourselves included. We spent about 40 minutes searching for parking, driving down many narrow, dead-end streets with no luck finding a parking spot and no way to turn around! After one such occasion, I came a wee too close to a building while backing up and lightly brushed the driver side mirror...off the car. Mind you, the mirror would have rotated harmlessly out of the way, but it was attached to the car with duct tape after a previous renter had lightly brushed it off the car.

Look honey, it still works! It's even more adjustable than before.
After securing the mirror back in place with my shoe lace, we finally parked the car and made our way into the Old Town.  Trogir had some great sights and was definitely worth the visit. For example, it had a medieval fortress:

Fortress Kamerlengo built in the 15th century. Looks like a Lego castle, doesn't it?
It also had some great winding alleyways, which Natalie is quite fond of:
Natalie posing for a photo-op on the streets of Trogir.
Jim not posing for a photo-op on the streets of Trogir.
And, there was even a fruit and vegetable market with real babushkas!
Selling local produce outside Torgir's city walls.
After all of this excitement, we had built up an appetite. Shamefully, we did not purchase any local produce from the babushkas, but instead opted for our standard lunch of kobasica and cheese sandwiches. We enjoyed a lovely picnic on the beach, just outside of town:

I have kindly cropped out images of the indigenous Speedo-clad sunbathers. You're welcome.
Before heading back to Zadar, we decided to do a quick drive-by of Split, Croatia's 2nd largest city. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to really explore the city and seek out its historic center. But, from what we saw (a thriving, busy, concrete-jungle metropolis), we were glad to have picked Zadar as our home base.

On the outskirts of Split.
So how did things shake out, economically speaking? We paid a pricey $65 for a one-day economy car rental, but that was less than the $75 in gas and $17 in highway tolls. Welcome to driving in Europe! We wouldn't do it everyday, but it was worth the splurge to see so many places in a short period of time.

And in case you were wondering, they never charged us for the driver's side mirror. It must have been my excellent repair work. Clearly, the damage was unnoticeable once I replaced the shoe lace with a permanent fix:

Good as new with some 200 kph rated duct tape!