We headed down to Zagreb (Croation for 'none of the campsites are there'),through the most serious customs check we've had so far, they even came on board and had a poke around! we headed into the capital to one of the advertised sites, hmmmmmmmmm! okay, maybe we need to look harder, still no joy. We headed north to Zelina, to another advertised site, all boarded up. So back down to the capital and a night in a swanky 3* hotel for us then. In the morning we headed into Zagreb, until the road ended and then we were sent through an awful diversion, so thought, 'buggerit!' and left. We headed out towards the motorway, following the signs to Karlovac, straight on, straight on, straight on, then we were at a toll booth and heading SE, when we want SW. So we trundled off to the next exit............30 miles away. Cross country it is then. We travelled south to Sisak, a beautiful drive alongside the river, with plenty of possibilities for a bit of wild camping. From there we headed west to Petrinja, where nearly every house has either been rebuilt or at least been re-rendered. Those that haven't bear the scars of the 90's, with most riddled with bullet holes. Again as we travelled east, Glina, Gvosd, all have been rebuilt. A stark reminder is that there are big signs in some fields warning of mines. Never again will next doors' wysteria bother me. Eventually we got to Plitvicka Jezera national park. Thankfully there were signs for miles announcing there were campsites
18 km of cascading lakes we were told. Bloody hell! It was quite stunning, worthy of it's UNESCO's award, damnsite better than a bloody concrete town hall !
From there we headed westwards towards the coast, armed with our trusty map. Croatian roads come in four main flavours. Motorway, which is fairly obvious on a map. Red marked 'A' roads, again patently obvious. Yellow are 'B' roads, white mean little more than a track, if you're lucky there may be some tarmac on it! Then you enter the dubious world of the brown road. Here you get pot luck. They vary from smooth, undulating roads to, as we found today, cart tracks. The route we had planned was a nice 90km jaunt, until the nice policeman stopped us from turning, sending us on a 40km diversion. As it happened he did us a favour, and we rolled through some quite stunning scenery, and the final drop down into Senj was astounding, with corner after corner turning this way and that, showing us glimpses of the islands out in the Adriatic, then the towering spruces and ferns on the hillsides. Strangely enough it's a bit like Greece on the coast, but Italy in the villages/Towns.
Senj is a pretty little fishing village, relatively unspoilt by tourism, but you still get the gelateria and coffee shops opposite the harbour. We travelled north to the island of Krk, and stopped at the medieval town of the same name. There we were treated to a serious storm in the afternoon, but in the evening things calmed down for the festivities. We were treated to a croation folk/rock band, then a mock sea battle in the harbour, with a thundering firework display to finish with.Saturday marked our second 'anniversary', so we celebrated with a meal in the harbour. The following morning we readied to depart, when we found out about the little 'extras' the campsites add on to bounce up the bill.
Istria (Croation for 'screw the buggers for every lipa'), the heart shaped peninsular that will always be a part of Italy. Mainly because the bloody place is full of the blighters! EVERYWHERE you go there are Ities clogging up the roads, driving down the white line at you, barely slowing down to go through the narrowest of gaps, and worst of all driving up the prices of everything around here. Tourist tax, registration fees, island tax, ferries that have 'special' tariffs for motorhomes, because the Ities are to damn lazy to drive 50 miles, and would rather pay £28 (each way) for the ferry.
It's a shame really because the place is absolutely gorgeous, just DON'T come here in August!. We stopped just outside Pula at Puntizela, a large, sprawling but friendly place. The 'beach' was ok, apart from the fact that although it belonged to the campsite, everybody from the villages around used it. Pula itself is an old roman town, complete with amphitheatre (intact), a forum and various interesting things of an archealogical nature. The place has a nice feel to it, a bit like Arles in France. In the evening we watched the 'Amazing Leopard Man' in the square, then ate a fairly average meal.
Moved north to Vsera, midway between Rovinj and Porec. We have found THE campsite of our trip so far. Apart from the beach needing abseiling equipment to cross, it is a cracking place, so a big up to camping orsera (formerly known as turist). Travelled into Rovinj today, passing the Lim Fjord. Check the piccies to see how pretty it is! Rovinj itself is a town of 2 halves. The old town has a magnificent church, narrow streets with stone pavements polished smooth by the passage of time. The newer town is awash with souvenir shops and restaurants and souvenir shops (yes, there are a lot!).
Krk 45 01 23.43N 14 33 35.75E
Puntizela 44 53 57.21 13 48 34.58
Vrsera 45 09 19.72 13 36 31.25
google gps refs for you