Europe 2.0 – Day 19 15 June 

I’m writing this at 9:30pm, 45 minutes after the sun has set in Zadar, which boasts the ‘world’s most beautiful sunset’. Although Zadar will not be found on the list of top ten for seeing sunset on an unbiased travel website/source, it is nonetheless impressive in its own way. 

Right now the sky has its own ‘rainbow’, i.e. It’s own gradient of colours blended together in perfect harmony. 

Looking up, the sky is a deep shade of navy blue and there’s a few white clouds highlighting the sky. It becomes lighter as it reaches the horizon and finally there’s a small band of white. 

After white, it becomes light orange, sun-orange, baby pink, violet, purple and indigo. Then it meets the sea, which has its own ‘rainbow’ as well. 

As time passes, the indigo part becomes more and deeper, until it consumes the lighter colours of the ‘rainbow’ becomes consumed. Around it, the darker surroundings also consumes the rainbow inwards until the last of its brilliance is gone. 

Today we arrived in Zadar after a morning bus from Split. Beforehand, we did research and found that like all the old towns, Zadar’s is extremely small and filled with Cathedrals and some not-too-significant museums. So the day before, we already discussed over a plan to visit Paklenica national park. Quickly on arrival at our hostel, we headed to the bus terminal again to catch a 12nn bus. Along the way I already saw the great mountains that made up the park, and was afraid that the trails would be difficult. 

And I was right. HAHAHAHA! Although they are man made, the trails are extremely bumpy because they were made out of rocks and the cement didn’t fill all of the gaps completely, making plenty of easy traps to cause a bad fall or a sprain. 

Before that: we were fortunate to find someone who could give us a lift from the bus station to the park entrance, saving us 20 minutes of gruelling upslope hike under the scorching sun. Once there, we decided to follow the main road and used our limited time as a gauge for when we would stop and make our descent. 

So back to our hike: we walked carefully, choosing carefully to step on the flat rocks so as not to slip. I was moving at an extremely slow pace, perhaps even slower than 5km/h… Around me, many people were not having a particularly difficult challenge. Dogs, children and the elderly alike were having it smooth. Thrill seekers were even doing rock climbing on the steepest faces of the mountain. 

We were hiking for around 1h until we reached a long flat trail in an forested area, where we asked a man coming in the opposite direction if there’s anything to see. Unfortunately he was jaded and disappointed by the lack of waterfalls, prompting us to head back for the entrance. 

If the hike up was tough, going back was even more so because there’s higher chances of slipping. I managed to pick up a long wooden branch otw down and it have me some confidence to walk quicker. 

After exiting the entrance at around 330pm, we still had no luck finding kind souls who could give us a ride (because people either came in the morning and left by lunchtime or came after lunch time and left by evening). But luckily as we walked further ahead, YS spotted a couple who was getting ready to go into their cats and set off. We caught them in time and saved ourselves another 20 minutes of effort. Thank goodness! 

By the time we were down, it was 340pm and our bus was 30 minutes away. I was dying for a Coke so we sat down for a while at a cafe. Then the most interesting thing happened while we were waiting for our return bus – the guy from Saudi Arabia was catching the same bus as us! He was with a blonde US girl this time. She’s 27 years old and both of them met at the hostel. It turns out that she wanted to go Paklenica and the guy heard her asking around for company, so they went ahead the next morning. V spontaneous! They hiked to the peak and back, and spent the previous night at an open hut. I really admire their fitness and sense of adventure because I could imagine that it is v tough to navigate the trails and also trek through the rocky terrain. 

After we arrived back at Zadar bus terminal, we parted for good – the guy was heading southwards to Split and Dubrovnik, while the girl would be travelling to Slovenia, where she’d meet her friend. We took a photo and said our goodbye. 

On the way back, YS and I visited the supermarket for rosti, and the supermarket baked chicken (plus ready to go salad) became dinner for us. It’s v cheap and convenient considering that we had to catch the famous sunset at Zadar. 

At around 8 we arrived at the coast and the view is so perfect. 

Now I understand why famous people have given high compliments about its sunset. According to Zadar’s tourism website:

It may be that the loveliest inscription of Zadar´s exceptional sunset was written by the famous Alfred Hitchcock. On the occasion of his visit to Zadar, in May 1964, while observing the luxurious game played by the sun the Maestro said: »Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, in Florida, applauded at every evening.«

The view of the setting sun was unobstructed. Left to it was the silhouettes of mountains and little towns in the distant. At dusk, they looked purplish blue. To the right was the coastline or river front of Zadar, made up of a neat row of street lamps. The view in the middle was dedicated to the setting sun. There were occasional boats passing by and seagulls flying in the sky. Save for those, we had a pretty good view of the sun dipping into the sea. 
First the sun was orange, casting an glittery orange streak on the sea. As it went lower, it became red and its borders were more distinct. Subsequently the clouds around it were also set into orange flames and the sky was lighted in pink hues. Perfect 🙂 

p.s please see the picture which speaks a thousand words hahaha