Starigrad (Camp Jaz)November 1, 2016 in Croatia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C
Well, we thought we'd driven on narrow and winding roads to reach the overnight spot. It turned out Velebit National Park was to educate us as to the meaning of 'narrow winding road' on the journey down the mountain. We spent 90 minutes driving at 20mph or less on a road that was at times only about 30cm wider than the wheels of the van. This in itself was challenging. The fact that the road hairpinned countless times and over the edge was an extremely steep plunging mountainside made it rather scary on more than a few occasions! We only met one other driver who passed and gawped at us with his jaw literally hanging open. The sat nav twice tried to direct us along gravel tracks but we drew the line at these and took the long way round, only having to dodge random fallen rocks as opposed to driving on top of them.
Despite the level of concentration required, the route was stunningly beautiful. At one point a deer jumped across the road just 10m ahead of us. A carpet of copper coloured beech leaves swallowed the sides of the road most of the time and there were glimpses of far off valleys filled with morning mist. Exposed rock added to the ruggedness of the scenery.
We eventually reached a wide valley floor and the main road that caused us to breathe a sigh of relief when we saw it had a white line down the middle! Conical hills and craggy outcrops rose up at the edges of the valley and we passed small fields with a single cow or a flock of a dozen hardy looking sheep.
There were a great number of abandoned houses along this stretch and stopping for lunch we were approached by what looked like an abandoned dog. Her long hair helped to mask how skinny she was and it was matted around burrs on her tail that she kept tucked tightly between her legs. She looked very flighty and far too nervous to handle us getting out of the van so Vicky threw a nugget of dog food out for her. She scurried away, thinking it was a stone but after a while she approached, sniffed and ate it. She had a small meal this way but was still far too wary to be approached and so we just had to move on.
Camp 'Jaz' is a small campsite site by the sea, backed by rocky mountains and protected from the wind and waves by the island of Pag, running parallel with the shore and almost touching the mainland at one end. The sun was getting low in the sky as we arrived but it was still warm so we carried the canoe a few meters over the stony shore and launched out into the bay. The water surface was smooth and we never lost sight of the sea bed through the clear water, despite being more than 5m deep. As the big orange sun set over Pag island, it lit up the mountains behind us with a pretty pink hue. Darkness fell and we were treated to a clear sky and a great view of the stars.Read more