My Zadar Story – Time Outs, Sunsets & Philosophy
After staying up late and dancing the night away in Venice (read My Venice Story), I had 2 busses to catch and over 11 hours of traveling until I reached Zadar in Croatia.
This was the perfect time for me to catch up on some beauty sleep.
My first bus was ride was approximately 3 hours long and I managed to get a little bit of shuteye, albeit the sleep was rough.
I had to change buses in Slovenia which meant a 2-hour wait in a bus station, finding something to eat, having a walk around and wondering if I could officially cross Slovenia off my ‘places I’ve traveled to’ list.
My conclusion: No.
Whilst waiting for my final bus to Zadar I met another travel-loving female. We ended up sitting together on the coach, chatting and sharing our life stories.
I sat in awe of her travel tales. She had done a lot more traveling me and had ventured to some amazing places.
Our conversations helped to pass the 6 hours that it took for us to reach our destination of Zadar, but unfortunately, I got no sleep.
Once I arrived at my hostel I made myself some pasta and got ready for bed.
I felt exhausted.
I had been traveling for over 2 weeks at this point and had already visited 4 cities.
I was moving from place to place very quickly. My days were jammed packed with sight-seeing or lugging my backpack to the next destination – either way, it was a lot of walking.
According to my fitness tracker, I was racking up 10-15miles (16-24km) per day.
Although I was enjoying my trip, I didn’t schedule any rest and relaxation time. I was on a super tight budget, and to me, R&R was a luxury.
But the lack of sleep the night before (and the lack of sleep on the bus) had finished me off.
Suddenly I wasn’t excited to go and wander around the streets of Zadar. I wanted to do nothing.
The next morning I slept right through until 11am.
I was out cold.
The sound of my three roommates getting up in the morning, or the cleaning ladies doing their rounds, didn’t even make me stir in my sleep.
As I laid in bed staring that the top bunk above me at mid-day, I decided that I wasn’t going anywhere.
I was going to stay in the hostel for the entire day and recharge.
I did get dressed, but then I spent the majority of my time in the common room or sat on the hostel balcony.
I plugged in my laptop, answered a few emails, done a bit of website tinkering and just goofed off for the day.
I followed it with a nice long hot shower before climbing back into bed at a decent hour.
Day one in Zadar was complete.
I’m sorry that wasn’t more exciting. I could have got up and forced myself to go out, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. My legs and body were aching and my brain juice was running low.
It’s not a total loss though. I have learned what my limits are and know for future travels expeditions not to cram in too much.
Time to go
The next morning I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
I grabbed a tourist map from the hostel reception and off I went.
FUN FACT: Zadar was crowned The Best European Destination 2016. Well, at least that’s what it said on my tourist map.
To get to the main sights I had to walk straight out of the hostel and just keep walking straight until I crossed a bridge.
I was walking and walking and passing apartment buildings, houses, little cafes when I started the see the bridge appearing in the distance.
As soon as I stepped out of the streets and onto the bridge, the sea air blew past me. The smell of the salt in the air was amazing.
It instantly gave me beach vibes and holiday tingles.
To find out all the places that I visited whilst I was in Zadar, look out for a tourist post coming soon.
Whilst enjoying the views and my surroundings, I sat on one of the ledges (pictured below) next to the crashing waves and began people watching (a fave pastime of mine).
I was about 4 steps up so was well away from the water.
Or so I thought.
The next thing I knew a huge wave came out of nowhere and covered me and the other tourists that were admiring the view.
Just to make this clear, it wasn’t a slight splash.
I was drenched.
I probably couldn’t have got much wetter unless I jumped into the water head-first.
Of course, in 30°C+ (86°F) heat, it was no problem. It was quite refreshing and I didn’t take long to dry.
Later in the evening, I hung around near the water’s edge to watch the sunset.
It was a perfect view and I was not disappointed.
Just as the sun started to disappear out of sight, I got quite philosophical.
That was it. The end of another day.
A day that we would never get back again.
We would never see the 4th July 2017 ever again.
We often misplace our priorities in life. Sometimes I feel as though I have lost almost 10 years of my youth setting up businesses and working 70+ hour weeks.
We all need to be reminded to LIVE.
This is my reminder to you. ?
Just after my little moment, a busker turned up with his guitar. He started playing some upbeat song as the surrounding lights started to come on.
People began dancing, having fun and enjoying the company of their friends and loved ones.
It was a great atmosphere. A bright red sky across the sea, live music, people having a good time. It makes me smile just thinking about it now.
As I walked back to my hostel with the streetlights guiding my way, I went into my little philosophical phase again.
I was loving traveling, and I’ve seriously had the best 6 months of my life doing this.
But …(there’s always a but)
…there is an element of work to it.
To run this blog and my social media pages, I take photos, video clips, and notes as I travel. They help me to put together these posts, create my videos and keep my social accounts topped up with interesting stuff.
To people’s surprise, I’m not on vacation. It’s not all about me.
I often visit places that I am not really interested in going to just because it is a top attraction and I know that people want to see or hear about it.
Tomorrow was going to be my last day on this mini-adventure before I flew back home to the UK and I decided on my walk back to the hotel that I would spend the last day just having FUN!
After swimming in the sea for the first time in Barcelona, I decided that I really wanted to go swimming again.
But this time I didn’t want to be worrying about my phone and personal belongings left on land.
So the next morning, when I left the hostel, I left my phone, video camera, debit card, money and anything else of value back in my locker, and headed to the ledge where all the tourists were swimming.
Honestly, I was a bit cautious to get into the water at first.
The swell was quite large. You could see it really pushing people about and lifting them up and down. And after the bottom ledge, it was a straight drop into deep water – no touching the bottom.
Up until this point, I had only swum in the sea once – but in calm water and I could touch the bottom if I wanted to.
I didn’t know if this was going to be too much for me.
After a couple of moments, I thought to myself, ‘stop being a pansy, grab your bullocks and just get in the bloomin’ water’.
So I did.
And I loved it.
Turns out I’m a much stronger swimmer than I thought.
I did a few laps up and down and even played ball with a few other people – all of whom I couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying.
Maybe they were chucking the ball AT me instead of TO me – who knows! I was having a whale of a time.
I enjoyed the swell and the movement of the water lifting me up and down.
This quickly escalated into me running and cannonballing off the top ledge.
It was a fun day.
Obviously, because I had left my phone and video camera back at the hostel, I couldn’t take any photos to show you. So instead, here is a photo I took of the place the day before. I have professionally edited it to show you what I got up to.
I walked back to my hostel with my towel over my arm and my sundress over my slightly damp bikini when I remembered a famous quote.
“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.”
And so it brings us to the last day of my three-week mini adventure. I spent the morning packing and doing a bit of online housekeeping from my dorm room.
I had visited Barcelona, Rome, Florence & Pisa, Venice and now Zadar.
Traveled over 5,800 miles.
Walked over 200 miles.
Slept in 5 hostels, on 3 busses and 1 boat.
Met loads of interesting people.
But most importantly…made some memories that will last me a lifetime.
As I zipped up my rucksack, threw it onto my back and closed the door behind me, I couldn’t help but think to myself…
‘How the hell have I not got a beautiful dark golden tan after wandering around Southern Europe for the past three weeks??!!’
Here’s to the next adventure.
P.S. After about 4 days at home, I lost the pinkness and quickly turned back into the Casper-white ghost that I am.