Exploring Trogir

Day 27, Sunday, October 1, 2017

Trogir is known as one of the jewels of the Dalmation Coast and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. It is only a ten minute walk from our apartment to the island where the old town is located.  Almost as soon as we pass through the town gate we arrive at the Cathedral of St. Lawrence which dominates the town square. I notice that there are people up in the bell tower so we decide we should do that too.  Little did I know what I was letting myself in for! I don’t think that many things really scare me but I have to admit that climbing the steps to this bell tower did that. There is a sign that says you climb the tower at your own risk and no one under the age of 14 is allowed to do so. I soon find out why. It starts out OK, with pretty solid stone stairs and a railing .This reminds me a bit of an Escher etching, the one with all the stairs. This is looking up, way up towards that little bluish green circular opening which is in the floor of the last landing. Please note that the stone steps change to black metal ones…which I can see through! I discover that I can not look down here or I just can’t keep climbing. Remember, this tower is 154 feet tall.This platform almost does me in but I am determined to get to the top, so, laughing rather nervously I continue.This is the last bit, up even narrower metal stairs and through a little hole in the floor above us. Those are the bells that you see through the hole in the floor.

We arrive at the top much to my relief and yes, the views are amazing. This is looking towards the more modern part of the town…and here is the view over the old town.

I forgot to take any pictures of us up here or even any pictures of the two enormous bells.  Does that give you some idea how rattled I felt after that climb? I did manage to peer over the hole in the floor and take a photo looking downwards. I didn’t even notice the guy climbing the stairs.   

I mustered up the courage to start down. Bob went first, as he was a bit braver than I was.Here he is laughing at me as I rather slowly make my way down, and down and down!

When we got to the bottom I did need a few minutes just to compose myself. I haven’t been bothered by heights before. I climbed Notre Dame Cathedral and the tall tower at Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and I was just fine. I found this account of  another person’s experience climbing this tower and it was eerily similar to mine. Make sure you check it out.

The door to the Cathedral was built in 1240 and has been beautifully restored.I particularly liked the two lions guarding the entrance.

These ornate pillars were inside..and this chapel with the tomb of Ivan Troginski from the15th Century. Take a look at the interesting upside down sculpture in the ceiling.

We wandered up and down the narrow streets… and ended up outside the old town walls where we sat and had tea and cookies in the sunshine and I sketched a castle. It was nice having time to do that.There are palm trees, lots of big boats, and some good people watching too.This is the Kamerlengo Castle that I drew…from the bench where Bob is sitting.We figured out what these were, can you?A typical commercial street.The local old guys meet in the park for chess and cards.We pass this lady bringing home a couple fish.

On the walk home we pass a lot of grapes growing that were never picked and are now more like raisins than grapes,,,and this is what olives look on the tree. It has been quite the afternoon and we are both happy to be back home.

Rabac, Labin and Senj, Croatia

Day 19, Saturday, September 23, 2017

Today we drive to Senj, about four hours south of Pula.  We wanted an early start so we can visit a couple of towns along the way.  First stop is Rabac, which is a popular seaside resort.Even if we could afford these five star hotels we both think we prefer our little Arbnb’s .We wandered along the beach and found place to sit and then remembered that we had left the cell phone in the car, sitting in plain view, so we cut short our beach visit. I was surprised at how warm the water was. Of course our car is parked way up at the top of the hill overlooking the beach!

Rabac is only 4 km from the town of Labin, pop. 12,000.

We wander the streets of Labin and end up at the Gothic Church of the Blessed Mary’s Birth. I liked the book stand that looks like a little dragon. Closer inspection revealed it was only a bull with wings, but I so liked the idea of it being a dragon.

We decide to climb the bell tower. The entrance fee is only 7 Kuna each, about $1.40, which is so reasonable.  I am surprised at how inexpensive the entrance fees to museums, churches and monuments are in Croatia.  I don’t suppose it will be that way in Italy though.  We climb up 68 very old steps that are almost like ladders to get to the top of the tower. This is the view looking down the opening beside the stairs which has the two ropes for ringing the bells hanging here. It is a long way down!

There are two bells at the top…

and great views. This is looking towards Rabac.

The narrow streets are paved with stone which is rutted from centuries of passing wagon wheels. At the front of this photo you can see that these stones are placed on edge so that they will not shift easily, They are at least ten inches deep which surprised me.

Many of the streets are only wide enough for pedestrians, or perhaps a burro or two?

We have seen lots of cats in Croatia but this is the first kitten and it is so tiny.There are several artists displaying their work along the streets.  I wonder who buys this kind of art?

This stone wall was growing plants and purple flowers, they are some sort of campanula I think. There are hills to climb…and lots and lots of steps…

and then more steps.  

We both like exploring these little towns that are not so ‘touristy’ but soon it is time to make our way to Senj. We decide that we will avoid the toll highways, which we soon discover is a bit of a mistake.  We have about two hours of driving on very hilly winding roads with quite a few hairpin turns.We are both rather relieved when we are back on a major highway. It is much easier driving and certainly a lot faster.  Not all of Croatia is old, we just like the old parts the best.  There are more modern areas around the old parts of towns, with new fancy buildings and quite a few of these generic sort of apartment blocks.  They are not very attractive and many of them look quite neglected and in need of repair. These are some of the nicer ones that we have passed along the highway.
This is our first glimpse of Senj, our home for the next seven days, and yes, of course it has a church on a hill!