There’s much to see and do here within and around Zadar, and there’s a plethora of information that can be found in excellent guidebooks or online. I discovered some of my own highlights at the Old Town. It’s within a convenient walking distance from where I’m staying, so I cross the bridge and take in the delightful harbour view, then arrive at the other side where coffee bars, restaurants and modern shops sit alongside ruins, monuments, cathedrals and monasteries dating from the 12th century or even earlier.
It’s a bit like walking into a portion of the British Museum with some of its contents strewn outside for all to see. It’s a mashup but appealing. The original remains of St Lawrence church epitomises this dichotomy of old and new for me: an 11th-century construction, it sits open within and behind a modern café called Sveti Lovre (next to the city hall in Narodni trg).
Vesna Gregov was my marvellously knowledgeable tour guide for the day. She’s been doing the job since 2007 and speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Russian and her native Croatian. “I’ve always been interested in art, history and foreign languages” she says, adding that her passion for other cultures and art led to her career change from law.
I also got to visit a vineyard. Just outside Zadar lies picturesque Petrcane. As the next four photos attest, I spent a very delightful couple of hours surrounded by golden sunshine, verdant green valleys, clear marine blue waters and nice wine.
You are bound to visit the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation installations in Zadar. How to describe them? In the former, sea movements pushes air through pipes and whistles creating a kind of wailing sound. The Sun Salutation pavement’ is filled with 300 multi-layered glass plates that collect the sun’s energy during the day’ (Lonely Planet) creating a disco light show.
Being a Brit with a penchant for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (okay, I admit it) led me to Plesni klub Samba (Dance club Samba) one evening. There I met with Zlatka Badel, another business woman who has transitioned from law to a more creative profession, this time ballroom and latin dancing. Zlatka trained in London before moving back to Croatia, where she eventually set up her dance school in Zadar. She has been nominated for a city award in recognition of 30 years of service.