To Skradin - Balkan Dreams - CycleBlaze

October 6, 2020

To Skradin

We’re both pleased to be biking to Skradin today.  It’s a place we’ve been looking forward to because it’s the best base for a visit to Krka National Park, the second most popular park in Croatia after Plitvice Lakes.  We visited this park two years ago and were suitably awed by it, but it was too rushed - we fit it in as a  stop-by on the ride from Šibenik to Biograd, and only had a few hours available.  This time the plan is to stay for two nights in Skradin, right on the edge of the park.

A week ago it looked likely that we would drop Skradin from the itinerary because the weather looked too forbidding, but since then it has improved and continues to break in our favor.   Today looks beautiful again, so we’ll have no trouble biking up there.  Tomorrow looks like a different story, with heavy rains projected for the entire day.  After that though we’ve still got nearly all of the following day free to explore the park because our next stop, Šibenik, is only 12 miles away.

Just as we’d hoped, conditions are perfect for a ride today.
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It’s not a difficult ride to Skradin, and we have a few routing options.  Last time we took an inland route through Benkovac and found it quiet and relaxed, so we’re doing roughly that again today.  Unfortunately though we’re not doing exactly that because I didn’t study the journal entry for that ride well enough and chose a slightly different route to Benkovac this time - one that includes a very quiet three mile stretch that was very pretty but unpaved.  Not all parties were amused by this deviation.

The standard set by Eurovelo 8 is quite uneven in Croatia.
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Other than that surprising development, the ride went pretty much as expected: a quiet ride north to Benkovac, skirting the western edge of large Lake Vransko, virtually a small inland sea; a muddled ride through Benkovac, the only significant population center we pass through all day; and then a lazy, gradual ascent through a long agricultural basin.  At the end, a fairly sharp drop back almost to sea level brings us to Skradin, a town that feels like it’s in the interior but in fact is only a few miles from the sea on a navigable channel.  All in all, a pleasant ride with not much else to say about it.

Except that Team Anderson decided to play our old favorite game again, Who’s in Front.  We haven’t played this one for awhile, where we manage to get ourselves separated from each other but don’t know who is ahead of the other on the road.  Disconcerting, because you don’t know if you should be trying to catch up or wait to for your partner to catch you.  Fortunately we had service for our cell phones and were able to locate each other and reunite fifteen minutes later.

Heading inland, with Lake Vransko out of sight just off to the right. Past the lake, we’ll climb through a gap in that low ridge ahead to reach Benkovac.
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Looking back toward Lake Vransko, separated from the sea by a slender isthmus.
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Who’s in Front? Me for a change, by accident. Back together again now though.
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Past Benkovac, we turn south and follow a shallow agricultural basin. At the end we’ll cross over a shoulder of the formation ahead before dropping down to Skradin.
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Looking to our right, the view looks largely like this for the next ten miles. A peaceful ride.
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Beginning the descent to Skradin.
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Probably the most interesting time of the day came when we arrived in Skradin and attempted to find our apartment.  We were sent an email with access instructions - or rather, with a set of eight or nine photographs to help us orient ourselves: a photo of a green door that looks like the opening to a storage unit, with an arrow drawn on indicating something.  A photo of the front of an apartment, with an arrow pointing to a lockbox.  A photo of the opened lockbox showing the code (0-0-0-0) and a set of keys.  A map showing the location for parking.  And a few minutes others that didn’t seem to pertain to accessing the unit.

Also, we had the address to our unit:  1 Vrlarska Street.  We located this ‘street’, which is just a short dead ended alley about a half block long.  There’s only one door, with no street number.  It does though match the green door in one of the photographs.  It’s our assumption that we should use the lockbox to unlock this door, but we can’t find the lockbox or anyplace around that looks like the apartment with a lockbox next to us.

Exasperated, we call the number provided.  Both numbers, actually.  Several times.  No response, but finally we get a call back.  The woman talks us through the situation, in very broken English.  Go to the green door.  Just open it, because it’s unlocked! On the other side are several apartments, with numbers.  Very obvious.

Just open the door, dummy! Later, we’ll notice the inconspicuous welcome sign on the bicycle next to the door.
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Jen GrumbyThis is a really interesting story that makes me think of a couple of PBS series we've watched recently about the brain.

We make sense of the world by watching for predictable patterns that are formed based on our experiences.

This door, for me, does not look like a door that would lead to a set of other doors that open to apartments.

So I would probably just ignore it.

If you look back through the instructions & photos, is there enough information about this door? (Like .. "Don't be fooled! It's not a storage unit!")
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThat’s part of what crossed us up also. It’s so unlikely looking. And no, there was no text in the photographs to clarify. Just a photo of the door, with an arrow. The only reason we assumed this was the place was from the name of the street, and the fact that this was the only door on it.
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2 weeks ago
Such a simple problem. Note the street number (in the tiny circle at the top of the door). Note the lock box. Note the helpful directional arrow on the place mat.
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A look at the main street through the old town, from our walk back to the green door after dinner. We’ll show you more about Skradin tomorrow.
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Ride stats today: 40 miles, 1,900’; for the tour: 1,435 miles, 67,600’

Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 1,435 miles (2,309 km)

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