Salona and Zivogozce, Croatia  Week 108 May 5th - 7th 2013
after a minor misunderstanding about the difference between 10 Euros per night and 10 Euros per person per night, and an amicable outcome, we drove on.

It looked like grazing land but we saw no animals.

And the occasional large quarry.

But good roads and an early start saw us heading towards the coast.
We weren't sure what to expect of Croatia.

Infrequent small villages in this area.

A bit strung out along the road, all very civilised looking.

Seemingly no centre. No religious building. No obvious history.

This is for sale if anyone is interested.

Not too far from the top of a pass.

Maybe someone's dream shattered by war.

Steadily the forests gave way to more stunted vegetation and bare rock.
Not even olives growing.
Though perhaps something apart from hydro power near the river.
Finally the coast.

The Adriatic part of the Mediterranean.

Is it a mosque or a church?

It has a cross on top!

Somewhere near Skradin the police had closed the road and directed us towards the motorway (tolls).

We thought about stopping for the night and investigated an autocamp but there was really nothing there for us.

We found a dirt road near a lake (probably open to the sea) and followed it across the motorway a couple of times until we could find a way on to it.

Couldn't help noticing some leftover war damage in the village we passed through.

Its the sort of thing that happens to others and we hope never happens to us.

Probably Trogir as we descend towards the coastal strip.
And thence to Salona.

This is the Roman Amphitheatre.

About 300 AD.

Could seat 17,000.

Somehow have to imagine the tired seating rising from foreground to above the arches.
The view from where local officialdom would raise or lower their thumbs.

There's a tunnel from left to the middle for dead body removal.

Presumably the victor got to walk rather than be carried. Doesn't quite seem fair but them's the breaks.

Further east is the Basilica of the Five Martyrs. A cemeterial basilica.

First century AD, rebuilt around the 6th century.

At least one of the martyrs was sufficiently important for pilgrims.

There's a mixture of amphorae, vaulted tombs and stone sarcophagae.
Even further east a line of sarcophagae.


And yet further east a Roman era bridge.

At this stage the road got too narrow for us so we backtracked.


Then a little further on a different road we realised the track we were on was through the middle of the site.

The back entrance.

The gps coordinates we had were for the amphitheatre not the main entrance.

So we investigated the Manastirene. Another cemeterial basilica.

Burials started here about 300 AD.

Just an inkling of what the sarcophagae probably looked like when new.

If the best that can be managed after a couple of thousand years is to have the stonework of one's tomb cleaned up a bit for people to take photographs of, with nary a mention of whose tomb it is, let alone what sort of life they led, then we'll probably settle for the more anonymous and pragmatic cremation and ashes scattering.

Though what the archeologists and tourists will get to do in another couple of thousand years is beyond us. Maybe left to rifle through old image files in strange archaic (to them) formats and gazillions of indecipherable facebook entries.

The Episcopal Centre to the right has a church from middle 5th century.

To the left doesn't rate a mention. "Just" the rest of the town.

The Episcopal Centre looks quite extensive.

Almost like a couple of basilicas and a few more buildings.

Its very different exploring forts near Hadrian's Wall to exploring Volubilis in Morocco and different again to  exploring Salona.

At Vercovicium (Housesteads near Hadrians Wall) we saw fortifications and barracks. At Volubilis we saw house remains and the local industry as well as religious and administrative buildings. At Salona we see mostly religious buildings, an amphitheatre, and  fortification. We missed the forum.

We've also seen isolated villas in the Isle of Wight and southern Portugal with hints of the way of life and local industry.

Just guessing that life in different parts and settlements of the Roman Empire, and probably at different times, had a different emphasis. The Empire was far from homogenous.

Just like now!

Then there's the walls.

The enclosed area is about 1.6 x 0.7 km.

The first walls from about 2nd century BC.

Then expanded after the conquest of Illyrian Delnati by the Romans. The Pax Romana.

Eventually about 90 towers for protection against Germanic tribes.

Finally the triangular bits added after the conquest of Salona by Byzantine forces in the 6th century.

The eastern Roman Empire became part of the Greek speaking Byzantine Empire centred on Byzantium (Constantinople, now Istanbul). Eventually it fell to the Ottoman Turks around 1450 AD. The western Roman Empire just sort of fell apart.


And so along the coast towards Dubrovnik.

The motorway passes that lump of rock (a national park) to the north, we'll take the coast road around the south.

Reminiscent of driving along the coast near Yalta.

The coastal strip is quite narrow. Just room for road and houses either side.

In some places just road.

And so to Camp Male Ciste.

Pondering whether to climb the hill behind.

And watching the world go by.

A small, non-powered, version of the net winches on trawlers.

A small steady catch.

We are just a few metres from the Adriatic.

Can't help thinking back to the beaches of Thailand. Must be the way we like starting our overland journeys.

And naturally our thoughts turn to the beaches near Brisbane.

Just tacking.

The sails filled again a minute later.

Its the "Takujix" registered in Split.

Just the light on the sea as the sun gets a bit lower.
And lower.
This morning I decided to climb a hill.

What had looked a bit uncultivated from below had a few surprises.

Bees and olives.

The rockier parts were covered in flowers.
As I climbed higher I followed a mixture of tracks and crossed terraces.

These terraces looked like they were abandoned but I'm no longer sure.

The truck is at the centre of the photo.

I'm climbing higher.

Yet more terraces.

Many tonnes of rocks have been moved to build them.

Horse poo.

I think.

And on a bit of a track.

I've been climbing up. The track is along.

So I followed the line of least resistance and nearly reached this house.
And found the horses.
Plus some cattle - now I know what the cow bells are for.
Much higher is shrouded in mist.

Then it rained.

Then out came the sun and the rainbow.

I've never looked closely at an olive tree.

I mistakenly thought that a shriveled tree in a dry climate wouldn't be very productive. Some time soon I'm guessing these trees will be heavy with olives.

Just east of us a couple of ferries travel from Zaostrog to the islands of Hvar and Pelijesac.
I followed the track a long way east until eventually it descended to Drvenik.

Then walked back along the road.

This is part of the morning convoy of tour buses. Presumably on their way to Dubrovnik.

Just in time for breakfast.

I started early, about 6am, and was back for breakfast about 9:30.

Dubrovnik, Lake Skadar, Croatia, Bay of Kotor and Mount Lovcen National Park, Montenegro Week 108 May 8th - 9th 2013

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