It's a creekmore world

Croatia Day 4: Prisoner in a medieval fortress – a day in ancient Trogir

I get everyone up very late – almost noon and our initial mood isn’t great.  There is a lot of shuffling and mumbling.  I’ve been sitting on the couch for 3 hours working and writing and am ready to go out.  Our travel chemistry is off this morning.  It happens.

Last night we arrived in Trogir, the adorable island city that has been an urban center for over 2300 years since Greeks settled her in the 3rd century BC.   The tiny island city center is nestled in between a much larger island and the mainland.  It offered some protection through the years from various vandals and marauders.

Like Sibenik from which we came, Trogir is dead although at least we see some signs of life among the tourist trade.  Restaurants are opening their doors and cleaning.  Gigantic espresso machines sit outside on the stone streets waiting to be cleaned and maybe repaired.

The Croatian coast – at least the smaller towns – have an ‘off’ season.  From Mid november to April 1st or thereabouts, the little towns are almost completely closed.  The main street of Trogir is completely empty and closed down.  See the pic f Amanda below.  That’s in the middle of the day.

In summer, especially July and August it’s so busy that it becomes unmanageable.  Profitable if you have the right location or service but crazy difficult.  The small bridge to the left is the only bridge to the mainland and it takes 2 hours to get there by car in summer!

Scooters, bikes or walking only.   The feast / famine cycle is tough on the locals unless you are in the year round shipping industry.

Trogir was a major city under many rulers – Greek, Roman, Croat, Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian, Hungarian.  It had some level of autonomy under most, paying tribute for varying degrees of freedom.

Centuries of merchant money allowed it to build itself a cozy little city, with a fortress and several churches.

We visit the Fortress first at the northern end of the town.  There is a school right next to it and one of the ubiquitous Jadrolinja ferries that we see everywhere, connecting the port cities with the islands.  Trogir is a common launching point for island tourist which are the primary destinations in summer.

We scratch our heads a bit at the entrance to the fort.  There are tourist markings but the door is closed.  Maybe they are on a break or something?  Amanda says ‘I’ll go in if you go in’ and we slide the deadbolt to the metal door open and peek inside.   Lily hesitates to go in – she’s the most anxious traveller but she follows us.

There is a cement mixer in the corner. It’s a wide open space and looks safe but it’s definitely not open.  A metal staircase to the parapets invites us up.  As we ascend, a few other tourists follow us in and up the stairs.  It’s a cool view from the top!  And an awesome tiny old fort.

‘Hello!’ someone yells in a Croatian accent.  Pause.   ‘CLANG’ goes the front door.  Workers have come back and closed the deadbolt from the outside!  We’re trapped in here with 3 mexican tourists.  There’s no way to jump down.

The other tourist  try the door but it’s indeed locked.  I look out over the parapet and try to see if I can see someone that could help us escape.

No one is around – remember the town is dead this time of year.

Fortunately Emma spots a back door and with some work it jimmies open.  We escape the Fortress Kamerlengo and end up on the school Football field.

We hop the fence and go back around to the front gate.  It was even locked with a padlock.  We would have needed someone with that key to let us out if there was no back door.  I wonder how we would have done that, imagining yelling from the top of the fort ‘Help we’re prisoners in Kamerlengo fort’

The girls go back to the house and hang out.  Amanda and I take off on our own and buy some groceries.  There is only one restaurant in Trogir that’s open and we ate there last night.  It has the same menu – pizza, pasta, seafood – that we’ve eaten everywhere.

As vegetarians Croatia is probably difficult under the best of circumstances, but we are here when everything is closed.

So I make a veggie tomato sauce for dinner with some nice fresh Cavatelli pasta with tomato, zucchini, onion, garlic, pepper and some very sweet wine the hosts left us in the Airbnb.

We have a fun family dinner, laughing.  It’s a complete 180 from the cranky start of the day.  Nothing like getting imprisoned in a medieval fortress to change your attitude.

We tease Amanda about a phrase she said yesterday ‘fresh in the moment’.  We call everything ‘fresh in the moment’ now.  Emma gets some shit about being a dick.  Her response to my giving her some bread and butter was ‘you didn’t even spread the butter.’ Nice manners.  Lily confesses that her first kiss was her girlfriend who wanted ‘practice’.

I of course get teased for being a nut job.

It’s a fair point.