While staying in Zadar over the summer we visited several of the nearby Croatian islands. Ugljan is one of the largest with several towns on it. Unlike most Croatian islands Ugljan has its own water source. The first time we went to Preko, a small town on the island, it was via a late afternoon ferry from Zadar center. The trip was eighteen Kuna each way, which is about $2.00 USD. My mom and I walked around the coastal side walk toward the town center then I went for a swim in a nice open area. Onawa wasn’t interested in swimming, but I forced her despite her protest. I walked her across the shallow waters to the monastery of the hermit, but she started to get squirmy. I took her back to my mom who was sitting comfortably drinking a chocolate coffee at a café. After a good swim we went to get some seafood. My mom was keen on trying the fresh pasta with monkfish at Konoba Roko. It was a fantastic meal with a lovely view.
A couple weeks later I returned to Ugljan to meet Marko, a guy I met the day before in Zadar. This time I got to see the little town of Kali. Marko was on vacation from a town outside of Zagreb where he works on his family goat farm making what he called excellent cheeses. He took me to a secluded beach he found. The walk there from the tiny town of Kali was amazing; we walked through an ancient olive grove which was surrounded by stone walls. After ten minutes of walking we stopped to enjoy an incredible view of what was to come. Once down the hill we came to the perfect blue bay, the beach like many was a pebble beach, so cute and the water was just perfect. We found a little tree to camp under, I put down my towel and found a fully intact dried green sea urchin. I found a little pink one too, but it was too stained from the dirt to keep.
While settling Onawa on a towel under the shade of a bush he asked if I like natural, which I of course replied yeah thinking he was talking about the nature around us. He then proceeded to take off all his clothes and jump into the sea stark naked. I was surprised, but I did hear that people in this region like to swim naked so I did the same. We swam till dusk then he drove me back to the ferry and I took the last one across the sea to Zadar. I agreed to come back and meet him for a hike to St. Michael’s Fortress the next day.
The next day I caught the ferry to meet Marko for our hike from Preko to the St. Michael’s fortress. Since I was up way too late the night before I was over an hour late to meet him. It was already getting hot, but we made the hike up to the fortress under the scorching sun. The views were beautiful from up there! The fort is on the second highest mountain in Ugljan. While on top of the fort we could see the little towns on the neighboring Island Iž, views of Zadar and the perfect waters were amazing. They allow you to climb up the historic fort where we found a room with windows of the far side of the island. That’s when I saw the most incredible little hidden bay. The perfect spot to swim! We agreed to hike down the mountain to the crystal turquoise water at the edge of the rocky coast.
We hiked down the mountain for about two hours when Marko said that he didn’t think we could continue on due to it being too far and we didn’t bring enough water. We were still over an hour away from the bay and the heat was intense. It was over ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit, thirty-five Celsius. We decided to head back and swim in a public area in Preko after a planned visit to the town water fountain where we drank as much as we could fit into our stomachs. We filled our bottles and walked into town for a late lunch at Konoba Roko where my mom and I ate before. He had his mind on pizza, but I wasn’t very hungry so I ordered a salad, even though I really wanted a just one piece of pizza. I asked him to give me a slice very nicely, but he said he didn’t understand. I asked again and still he ignored me. I didn’t see him again after that.