Tribunj & Sights and Sounds of Zadar

Fri 10 Jul 2015 11:05
And what a charming little place Tribunj turned out to be. The marina is
situated to one side of a tiny island village now connected to the mainland
by a fifty metre long, low stone bridge. Apparently up until a couple of
hundred years ago this island village was surrounded by a defensive wall to
keep out marauders. A circumnavigation of the village takes no more than ten
minutes and having accomplished this we wondered through its streets of
bijou stone houses huddled together as if for comfort before taking a glass
of iced fruit juice on the waterfront of the seaward side. Sipping our
drinks we were 'entertained ' by two charter boats attempting to med moor in
a brisk crosswind, whilst the bald, rotund and perspiring owner of the bar
whose bit of the waterfront they were trying to moor to shouted and waved
instructions. The boats attained some pretty unusual angles to the harbour
wall in the process but eventually lines were tied and the harassed looking
skippers stepped ashore with relief written all over their faces.

We strolled back to the village that evening under the light of an almost
full moon to take supper at a konoba appropriately called Luna. Bruschetta,
then fish soup and tuna carpaccio, shrimp linguine, warm bread and local
wine. A glass of schnapps completed our repast and the bill, just twenty odd
pounds - fantastic. We decided to stay another day to explore the area, Lynn
a pied and me by bicycle. We dined aboard enjoying the light of the now full
moon and the still very prominent planets of Venus and Jupiter whose
relative position we have been tracking for some days.

We cast off the following morning into a light breeze for the short sail to
Uvala Landin on Otok Pasman. A quiet, peaceful bay set amongst green and
wooded slopes with a just a handful of low dwellings and a single rustic
restaurant. We moored to a buoy and enjoyed three days exploring the bay in
the tender, swimming in the gin clear water and reading Ken Follet's
Century Trilogy, which I highly recommend!

We slipped away from the peace and tranquillity of Uvala Landin on Monday
morning, threading our way through the islets at the southern end of Otok
Pasman and headed northward up the remarkably long and shallow (no more than
20 metres or so anywhere at the southern end) Pasmanski Kanal that lies
between the mainland and the islands of Pasman and Uglijan. The kanal is two
to three miles wide, has many islands and islets and the shore of both the
mainland and the islands are well wooded and dotted with small villages of
low terracotta roofed houses. We had booked a berth in Zadar marina and
intended to stay there for three nights awaiting the arrival of Rob and
Liliane. From the sea the waterfront of Zadar old town looked wonderful, a
broad expanse of stone promenade backed by classically beautiful 18th
century buildings and stately mansions set amongst tree filled gardens with
older stone built churches and buildings further inland. We sailed around
the north western tip of the town and into the old harbour where we
squeezed into our allocated berth, our stem head missing that of a yacht on
the opposite pontoon by inches. I was pretty pleased with the manoeuvre and
the slick way Lynn and I moored Pamarzi although I was thinking that getting
out of this berth with the laid lines stretching from every boats bow would
be interesting.

Power and water connected, boat jobs we set off to explore the old town. A
stroll around the old harbour to the point where the port side harbour
entrance light stands blinking its red eyed warning, Negotiating steps cut
into the stone we board an ancient wooden rowing boat and the ferryman takes
us across the harbour mouth to the old town. We walked around the wide
promenade to the north western side which proves a wonderful vantage point
for watching the sun set into the sea midst the islands. But at 20.00 the
sun although low in the sky still cast its light and warmth on the assembled
throng. Statuesque, sun kissed Croatian girls in tiny bikinis lay stretched
on the broad, white marble steps like offerings to a sea god whilst young
men hurl themselves, some elegantly diving, some awkwardly bombing into the
gin clear, deep azure waters in an effort to attract their attention, they
seem to have little success. Couples and families promenade as the shadows
lengthen, the unearthly notes of the Nikola Bašić's seventy five metre long
subterranean 'Sea organ' boom through the still night air. Hidden tubes and
pipes concealed under the steps take wind and waves into sound chambers and
deep random notes resonate from shallow molehill like mounds along the
white marbled quay. Later as the sun seemingly slips beneath the waves in
the west Nikola Bašić other creation the Sun Salutation a 22 metre diameter
solar panel formed from 300 multi-layered glass panels set into the marble
of the promenade. Underneath these glass conduction plates, there are a
series of solar cells that collect energy during the day. At sunset, the
installation switches on and randomly the panels light up in ever changing
colours and patterns controlled by the energy collected and the motion of
the sea. It is supposed to represent the motion of the solar system. All
eight planets are symbolised by proportionally sized solar lights placed at
their appropriate distances from the sun. The effect is hypnotic, the
promenaders hushed as the undulating light show illuminates the waterfront.
We wander inland from the sea front and marvel at the starkly beautiful,
circular, stone built 9th century Church of Saint Donatus, still used today
for musical recitals it stands amidst a park where carved stones and
sarcophagi that predate the church by as much as a thousand years are
displayed. The park surrounded by soaring rectangular Venetian inspired
towers reaching up heavenwards. Further in towards the heart of the old town
the narrow streets packed with shoppers and diners jostling their way
between brightly lit shop fronts and street vendors we reach a square where
half a dozen musicians are playing traditional music and couples dance
surrounded by seated diners. One middle aged couple know all the steps and
we gawp in admiration as they swirl effortlessly around the dance floor
their movements fluidly in time with the music. A simple supper in a quiet
courtyard before we stroll back to Pamarzi returning on foot across the
brightly lit gently arching bridge at the eastern end of the harbour.

Rob and Liliane arrive in the afternoon next day great to see them again, we
settle them in and catch up on each other's travels and news before dining
early. The following day we taxi to a Konsum supermarket (inevitably now
christened by us as Condom Supermarkets!) to top up provisions and once all
is stowed away the girls head back to the Old Town on a shopping expedition
and to choose a restaurant for tonight. Their choice is an establishment
just back from the promenade beneath the shade of broad leaved trees. The
food unimaginative but deliciously wholesome. We amble back towards the park
to find the Church of Donatus spectacularly lit and in front of this
ancient rotunda a full orchestra. As we join the audience some sitting on
provided chairs but most standing, two singers are applauded onto the stage
and the launch expertly into a number of our favourite operatic arias, the
music reverberates around the ancient stones, we and the rest of the
audience are rapt by the honeyed beauty of their singing and the flowing
melodies of the orchestra. We stroll on along the promenade and as the opera
fades from our ears there in the darkness stands a solitary figure, violin
tucked under his chin he plays the opening notes of the Bruch G minor violin
concerto the bitter sweet notes stream through the soft night air plucking
at our heart strings. We are transfixed as we listen to the first movement
and reward him appropriately. Further on still a jazz trio entertain us,
guitar, snare drum and terrific double bass player. Further still and we are
again captivated by the melodious sound of the Sea Organ and the swirling
light patterns of the Sun Salutation. The promenade still thronged with
strollers but there is no raucousness or vulgarity as all enjoy the soft
night air, the sounds of the sea, the music and Nikola Bašić's masterpieces.
The scene is much quieter as we stand at the steps awaiting the return of
the ferryman who know rows across the inky darkness of the harbour waters to
convey four deeply impressed sailors back to their old harbour berth.