Or A Jewel Along the Adriatic
One of the pluses of our lifestyle is that we know we only have 6 months to explore any given country and we take advantage of every opportunity to get out and see something new. Mike and I are constantly making connections with new people. We talk a lot to strangers in stores and restaurants and in the grocery store line. You never know when a contact will give you information on a great ‘must see’ or even connect you with a person who can provide a wonderful trip experience. One of our latest adventures came about via a contact here in Sibenik which led us to an all day tour of some of the places we had not seen before right here in our own backyard.
Our day began in the lovely little village known as Primosten. This little town which is 27km from Sibenik has 3000 residents and was mentioned as far back as the 5th Century. The city is known for its pristine beach’s and its vineyards. The famous Babic wine is grown in this region. The graceful St. George’s Church, built in 1485, can be found high on top of the hill overlooking this town which affords a magnificent view of the seven islands that surround the city. Primosten used to be an island as well but during the Turkish invasion in 1542 the islet was protected by walls and towers and a draw bridge connected it to the mainland. When the Turks retreated the moat was replaced with mud and dirt and the gap between the islet and the mainland was closed. The old stone walls protecting the city can still be seen today.
Primosten is a wonderful place to walk; the streets are small and narrow and when you are ready there are 50 restaurants to choose from (many only open during high tourist season). We did find the local bakery in full operation and the smell of fresh baked goods wafting along the streets was enough to make us stop in and sample just a little something. For those of you who like more of an adventure an all over body tan can be had at the beach called Smokvica which is one of the few nudist beach’s here in Croatia.
A tour of this area would not be complete without a stop to look at the way the wine grapes are cultivated here. The grape vine is planted in compartments separated by little stone walls built in the technique of “suhozid” (dry wall technique). The soil here is so rocky that about 150 year ago planters moved the rocks out of the way and formed them into small compartments leaving enough soil to plant grape vines. This led to this beautiful hill side covered with compartments and inside those compartments are thousands of grape vines. The red wine grape produces a wine called Babic which is quite famous, and quite good tasting.
Our next stop was to the Marina Frapa, one of the most exclusive marinas in Croatia. It is situated in the central part of the Croatian coast, between Šibenik and Split, in the heart of Dalmatia in Rogoznica. The parking lot is monitored and only invited guests are allowed to explore the grounds, eat in the many dining rooms, dance the night away at the local nightclub, use the swimming pools and the wharf, or even shop at the local grocery. Most of the 500 berths here are full year round.
All this driving around and exploring made us hungry and our last stop of the day was our most unique stop, and a surprise put together by our hostesses. We lunched at the ethnic restaurant Saricevi Dvori owned by Zoran Saric. The building the restaurant is in has been in Zorans’ family for over 400 years. On the land he grows the fresh vegetables he puts into all his dishes. He grows his own grapes and makes his own wine (very much a Croatian tradition). He grows his own olives and presses his own olive oil. Zoran even cooks meals the traditional way, over an open fire and using a ‘peka’ to cook the main meal and the bread that accompanied our meal. A peka is a round metal dome buried under burning and incredibly hot embers which uses the heat from the fire to cook what is placed under the dome. This day we were served baked octopus and roasted potatoes and my husband tells me it was the best octopus he has eaten while here in Croatia. Zoran makes his own rakija (a local Croatian aperitif which comes in several flavors) and he proudly served us some as a welcome to his family home. There are several areas to sit at Saricevi Dvori and we opted for the loft dining section which gave us a spectacular view of the sun as it was setting while we dined, and drank wine, and enjoyed a very traditional Croatian meal. There is no better way to end a great day than with a good meal.
Our thanks go to Tina Vickov (owner of Sibenik Plus Tourism Agency), and Biljana Lambasa (owner of Personal Insider) for designing our trip and accompanying us. We love exploring new places, but we love connecting with people and making new friends more. Cheers!