In Zadar: to Nin and Vrsi - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

October 4, 2020

In Zadar: to Nin and Vrsi

The winds passed on in the middle of the night last night, and this morning it’s beautiful out again.  We’re feeling really fortunate about how the weather is breaking - about a week ago it looked like we might get rained out for most of our few remaining days in Croatia.

Today’s ride deserves more attention than we’re giving it here, because it was really a special day.  Very relaxed, beautiful cycling, culminating in a truly spectacular out and back on an dead end road biking down to the strait that separates the mainland from Pag - a candidate for the best miles of the entire tour.  This part of the ride was worth a video all by itself, but the rest of the ride was memorable too.  So, rather than saying more about it we give you the rare two video day.

Looking back at the walled city as we bike north along the waterfront. For the next four miles we’ll follow the shoreline north through the outskirts of Zadar, skirting small parks and marinas. Very pleasant, other than we’re biking the wrong way on a one way street much of the way. It’s better on the way back.
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Descending to Nin, the town in the distance at the base of the hill. We’re following Eurovelo 8 (the Mediterranean Route) here, in one of the rare spots in Croatia where there’s a real bike lane that amounts to anything.
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Just outside of Nin is Saint Nicholas church, dating from the 11th-12th century. It is the one of the few preserved examples of pre-Romanesque architecture in the country. The crenellated addition is much newer than the church itself, added as an observatory 500 years later. The little church sits atop a hummock that’s is an unexplored prehistoric barrow.
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The 16th century lower gate, one of the two entrances to the walled town.
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Nin occupies a small island, joined to the mainland on either side by small footbridges. The town itself is pedestrianized, very quiet and relaxing. With restaurants and a few apartments, it looks like it would make a fine spot for an overnight if we ever come through this way again.
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In Nin.
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The tiny, pre-Romanesque Church of the Holy Cross, from the ninth century.
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Inside the Church of the Holy Cross.
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Grgur Ninski, the tenth century Bishop of Nin, one of the most important figures in early Croatian history. We saw a replica of this statue in Varaždin. We’ll see the third and largest one when we reach Split next week. All have a golden great toe, polished from people rubbing it for luck.
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There are tons of lizards around, scurrying across the walls or hurriedly crossing the road.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNice shot! Looks like our old friend the Italian wall lizard.

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/337045-Podarcis-siculus

Although by my untrained eye, it might also be the common wall lizard.

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/55990-Podarcis-muralis
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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltPresumably the common wall lizard, since there were so many of them around. I liked this shot particularly for the shadow cast by his foot.
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3 weeks ago
Bill Shaneyfelt I liked this shot particularly for... the lizard. 😊
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3 weeks ago
The remains of a 2nd century Roman house.
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Felix Ninski, a historically insignificant 21st century cat of Nin.
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Leaving Nin through the Upper Gate.
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Video sound track: Sreća (happiness), by Filip Dizdar

From Nin we generally followed the coastline northeast, stopping for lunch on Ninski Zaljev, the Bay of Nin. Across the water is the southern end of Pag.
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Looking east from the bay, with Velebit rising above the small peninsula we’ll ride out to the end of after we polish off our meats and cheeses.
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While we eat, we watch this lone figure sailing back and forth across the bay, the only figure on the water today other than the birds. Behind is the ridge behind Pag town, the one that we hiked across two days earlier.
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On that peninsula, riding north. The next several miles are amazing, with Velebit a constant presence on the right and with the sea surrounding us.
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There’s a small rise on the way out to the point, which is perfect. It elevates us enough for breathtaking views and a memorable glide to the sea.
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Looking east, to the Pag Bridge.
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Sreća
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Short, but some of the best miles ever.
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Video sound track: The Time of My Life, by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Idyllic.
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At the end of the road, we briefly intrude on the solitude of a lone couple.
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And back. A bit steep, but we don’t mind a bit.
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Gorgeous going the other direction as well.
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Passing through Vrsi, the small village at the base of the peninsula. From here, we backtracked home.
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Ride stats today: 39 miles, 1,300’; for the tour: 1,371 miles, 64,700’

Today's ride: 39 miles (63 km)
Total: 1,371 miles (2,206 km)

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