Croatia: Zadar to Venice.

The area around Zadar has been inhabited since neolithic times. The Romans built the old town which they called Jader and the ruins of the Roman forum is still visible near the church of St Donat. The town has been occupied by various nations, and the Venetians controlled it until 1797.

The ruins of the Roman forum and the church of St Donat.

The belfry of the church of St Donat tower over the old town.

A stall at the fresh produce market.

The Italian influence is notable and we enjoyed exploring the old town, visiting the excellent fresh produce market and extending our cruising permit at the harbourmaster for an additional 15 days.

An excellent school girls string orchestra performing in the town square.

Followed by an equally good jazzy brass band.

Which had the string orchestra girls dancing! Talent with a capital T.

Modern Zadar.

Lovely angels on this old church.

Who will play in heaven for those motorists who take this corner too fast.

We sailed north after three days, stopping at Luka Simuni on the way, to the island of Otok Rab. There is an excellent anchorage at Fumija off the town of Rab where we spent another three days – Rab is a town we can recommend – a beautiful old town and adjoining new town with modern shops and amenities. We managed to stock up with food, wine and beer at a big Konzum market.

A yellow submarine spotted at the entrance to Luka Simuni.

Otok Rab – church belfries dominating the old town.

The coastal walk from Fumija to Rab.

Street scene in Rab.

We had breakfast under this roof which has stood here for 1,250 years.

I was surprised to see Lucifer outside the monastery.

A restored very old chapel.

Another street scene in Rab.

Next stop was Punat – a large sheltered bay on the island of Krk (correct spelling). Not from the rain though – 24 hours of downpours. We headed for the mainland to stop at Rabac at the very top of the gulf – the sun came out and we enjoyed the holiday atmosphere of this resort town and watching scores of Optimist and Laser dinghies sailing around us.

Rabac.

Lasers and their coach.

Uvala Vinjole, beautiful bay 15 nm to the west provided us with an anchorage the following day, as well as numerous nudists sunning themselves on the shore. Unfortunately, we had to continue north the following day, as our extended cruising permit (vignette) was only valid for another week – by which time we wanted to sail to Venice in Italy.

There followed a good sail to Pula, which is an industrial town, slightly tatty, but with excellent Roman remains, notably the well preserved Roman amphitheatre and a temple to emperor Augustus.

Pula: Roman amphitheatre built AD 41 -80.

Close up – massive masonry.

Amphitheatre interior.

Temple to Augustus.

Pula: an older street.

A statue to the Croatian Resistance Movement who fought against the fascist occupation 1941-45.

The Scirocco carried us on to Rovinj, a beautiful town well worth a visit. The church of St Eufemija is visible for many kilometres and the old town surrounding the church has a warren of narrow streets, which we explored. We got back footsore to Esprit, anchored in the lee of Katarina island.

View from our anchorage. The church of St Eufemija is visible for miles.

Approaching Rovinj harbour.

Starting the walk up to the church.

Side vault of the church.

Rovinj street scene.

A wider street.

And a narrower street.

Walking around the Rovinj harbour front.

We had two more stops at Porec and Dajla before reaching Umag, the most northerly harbour in Croatia before reaching the Slovenian border. After stocking up with provisions in Umag, we cleared out with Customs and the police for the 50 nm crossing to Venice, which at 45 degrees north, is as far north as Esprit will sail on this trip.

The expected Bora wind from the north didn’t materialise, so we had to motor the 50 nm across to Venice. Our last visit to Venice was almost five years ago and we were happy to be back in one of our favourite cities. The Venice Biennale is on at the moment, so we were able to visit a number of very interesting exhibitions. It is tempting to include dozens of photos of Venice, so please indulge me with this small selection below.

The prominent lighthouse at the Lido entrance to the lagoon of Venice.

The impressive flood control gates at the Lido, installed to manage future flooding of the lagoon.

Approaching Piazza San Marco.

Off Piazza San Marco.

Annie, my Gondolier, weaving through the water taxis and vaporettos off St Marco.

Off Riva St Biagio.

Santa Maria della Salute.

San Giorgio Maggiore.

Back on land: The belfry of St Mark, with the lion of Venice on the column.

The Basilica di San Marco.

The architect liked columns – lots of columns.

The Ponte del Sapiri between the Palazzo Ducale and the old prison.

Heroic monuments.

With the ubiquitous lion.

The Rialto bridge.

Amazing Murano glassware in a shop window.

Interior of La Pieta church – also called Vivaldi’s church.

Following are a few street scenes. Don’t ask me the names!

Finally, some sculptures at the Venice Biennale. Evidently the black and gold sculptures are in bronze, highly polished and painted. The futuristic coloured sculptures are cast resins a la Jeff Koons work.

My sort of gal – in traditional concrete.

After lunch, a little recovery lie down in the park outside the Biennale.

To sum up: Our route north west.

We will now head back to Umag and then sail south east through the outer Croatian islands, before crossing to Bari in Italy.

Cheers for now.