We check more bucket list destinations in Croatia – Rastoke, Zadar and Sibenik – and go shoe shopping!
We decided to follow the advice of one of the volunteers at the stables and went to the village Rastoke to have a morning coffee. And a beautiful place it is – unfortunately, it has the same blessing and plague as the other places we went to – a great many tourists. Every second – if not every single house had been turned into a homestay or café and hence the place was nothing like a traditional laid-back village which I had hoped to find. It looked kind of like an open-air museum to me with its bucolic mills and wooden houses – the village is situated on a stream near numerous waterfalls. After we finished our coffee and had a good look around we drove back to the coast.
The day would become memorable for me because of an unfortunate tendency which developed while hunting for the shoes that I really wanted to find in Croatia: The Startas Borovo sneakers. The pink ones, with unicorns. I first spotted them in a shop in Munich 3 weeks earlier. It was closed so that I came back a couple of days later to try them on. The bad news was that the shop had run out of my size. The good news was: Google revealed that the unicorn shoes are produced by an old Croatian brand and I was going to Croatia the week after. On my second day in Croatia, in Opatja, I had already spotted a Borovo shop – but as it was still early in the morning it was still closed. On that day we were driving to Zadar mostly because of the shoes. The old streets of Zadar mentioned in the Lonely Planet added to my motivation of going there but were not the primary reason. The funny thing is that the Borovo shop in Zadar has a midday siesta from 12:00 to 17:00. So at 15:00 we found ourselves on the wrong side of closed doors and I only got a glimpse of the beautiful unicorn patterned sneakers through the window.
Google reassured me that there would be another Borovo shop in the next town further down the coast, Sibenik.
We got there at 17:15 – and the local shop was working till 15:00. There was supposed to be yet another Borovo shop in another town we were heading to, Trogir –, but I already had a funny feeling about it. (It would, however, turn out that we would finally be able to buy the shoes there).
But we continued on our quest of searching for the Borovo shops in the other towns we went to – I forgot to mention that they also tend to be poorly-tagged on google – so getting inside the shop feels like completing a quest! But it was Dubrovnik, where we had to throw the towel. The waitresses and shopkeepers we asked about it kept sending us to parallel streets, the girl from the tourist information took us by the hand and led us to the place where she was sure the shop was supposed to be – but it looked like it had just dissolved into the air. If you are in Croatia try the “find a Borovo shop” quest, the sneakers are a great reward. While I’m writing this a few month later I can add that we have already received a number of compliments.
Back to Sibenik: it is absolutely worth a visit whether you are hunting for shoes or not, I like it way more than Zadar. Trogir, is much like Sibenik, with its narrow cobblestone alleys, but it is busier than the latter. Every single square meter of the old town is occupied by a café or a restaurant and almost every single café and restaurant is full of people.
We were lucky to find another lonely beach further south of Sibenik, just behind the bridge, stop by the trash bins! Then take a short walk down and it is just the pines, the stones and possibly a few people sitting on the big stones. On the other side of the main road, we found a place to sleep for the night.