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After water rafting on Day 4 we were welcomed to our hotel in Novigrad, a charming coastal town which has retained much of its Mediterranean architecture and feel:

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Our view from our dining table.

paklenica-novigrad-croatia (2)A view of the city from above (click the image to view the full panoramic spread):

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When we opened our hotel room, look what we were surprised with! Robbie, our guide, had conspired with the hotel girls to put this up. I was speechless…

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The following morning (Day 5 now!), we struck out for Paklenica National Park, part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and a hot spot for hiking and rock climbing.

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Close to the top of the mountain, we reached this pretty little house. The perfect spot to stop for a home-cooked meal.

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Mario (pictured below) lives here part of the year with the rest of his family. His ancestors have called this spot home for many generations, originally coming here to flee an enemy invasion. Well, it’s the perfect hideout, if you ask me. 🙂

They cook their meals in a large upside-bowl or bell that they pile hot coals on top of. The result was a delicious mix of chicken, lamb, potatoes and carrots.

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There’s something to be said about the simple, yet delicious, food that is common fare in Croatia. A little sardine, a little cheese, add a few olives (and there’s always fresh bread) and you’ve got yourself a scrumptious plate of food.

paklenica-novigrad-croatia (8)Here is where Mario’s family originally lived. A small set of buildings that are now empty, but carry decades of stories with them. They reminded me of the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, right here in the US. Little homes, tucked away, hiding out from unknown invaders.

paklenica-novigrad-croatia (7)Coming back down the hill, we could get a sense of the grandeur of these majestic mountains.

paklenica-novigrad-croatia (5)A quick snap of Drew and me. 🙂 Look, I’m in a picture, lol!

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It was drizzling a little that day, so there weren’t as many rock climbers as there usually are, but our guide told us that this is a major hot-spot for rock climbing…and I can see why! You can see a few people on the side of the cliff in the picture below.

paklenica-novigrad-croatia (11)Up next – sea kayaking around the island of Vrgada and the charming medieval town of Trogir!