Today, I went from Zadar early, early in the morning to catch a bus to Šibenik and then on to Split. I wanted to see Šibenik because of some friends who live there. I’ve been told by several Croatia-guides that Šibenik is not a very interesting place! This was my reason for going there only on a day trip.
And what happens? I absolutely loved it.
As I walked from the bus station towards the centre I started following several signs indicating a castle. For eternities, the road went up, while my backpack was feeling like a rock and I was sweating heavily because of the strong sun. But it was worth it.
As I entered the fortress of St. Ana, the man at the entrance offered to keep my bag, while I would be further climbing up the stairs. So, light as a feather I flew to the top of what showed out to be a huge renovated fortress with the most amazing view over the city. I was stunned. How can tourist guides claim this as a place without real interest? I’ll fully declare that Šibenik is absolutely worth a visit, if for nothing else then for the view from the fortress.
After walking the fortress, using my camera with great passion, I went down to have a look at what is known to be the largest stone church in the world, meaning that the only material used is stone – The Cathedral of Sct. Jakov made by Juraj Dalmatinac.
On the way down, cruising the small and narrow streets and stairs of Šibenik’s old town, I ran into an elder rather round gentleman sweeping the ground in front of his house. I greeted him with a “dober dan”, believing that I should show some respect and friendliness towards the locals in town. However, his idea of friendliness was quite different from my own as it would seem. First he came out on the street asking me if I needed a room, zimmer, sobe, camre. I told him ‘no’, explaining in my terrible Croatian that I was only there for one afternoon. Then he asked if it was because I was in need of money, where after he grabbed my hand and told me with a terrible smile that he could pay me money… for sex! I was shocked, laughing nervously, while getting rid of his grip and kindly thanking him, explaining that I certainly had money enough.
Children of Šibenik
As I finally reached the bottom of the stairs, I met with my friends Jakov and Danilo outside the Cathedral for a funny catching-up-chat and news about the latest love stories. Afterwards, we went on a rather different kind of sightseeing of the town centre, since most of what they could tell me was where they had gotten drunk on weekends, when they were younger and still lived in Šibenik. It was great.
With their relatively small knowledge of the town history, they nonetheless took me to the house of the famous builder and sculptor Juraj Damatinac. Here they caught the attention of a very talkative woman behind the desk, thrilled that the town children should show any interest in the work and life of Dalmatinac. After half an hour we saw sun again and after some more drunken stories we ended up saying good-bye, before I headed on to Split!
So what have I learned from this stop on my trip? Never to listen to tour guides, because you’ll often find the most precious little pearls hidden away apart from the beaten path.