Just Trippin'

I did a 15-20 days trip to Dalmatia again this year starting from the end of July & coming back home in the middle of August - exactly in the time when it was really, really hot! I just couldn't hold myself not to go away from home for a while & gift myself with another short adventure!

It's still summer now down here in Croatia. Still sunny & warm, but not so hot like few days ago. Now the days are around 30-32 °C & the nights are much colder so I can sleep easier & nicer than before when in the daytime the temperature was much higher - like 35-38 °C - & the nights were really hot too! It feels like the summer is slowly finishing bit it's probably gonna be finished sooner than we think...

Dragon's Quest Festival 2019, Gračac

Few of my friends proposed me to go to this trance music festival cause it was happening on a nice place & they thought I could sell some clothes I brought from India along with the necklaces I make manually from the wood pieces of fruit threes I crop around my neighborhood in the spring time. So I made 350 km from my hometown Opatija all the way towards South-East - to Gračac. On the way I picked up my friends in Otočac & together we went for the festival. My plan was to set up a stand & try to sell the staff there. So I did! But I didn't manage to make good money - I only sold 1 male T-shirt & nothing more in 3 days of being there.

It didn't matter too much cause I had a great company & met some old friends & met some great new people as well. But it would definitely make me more happy if I could have sold more! Except that, there were also few bends & DJs playing there who performed some really great music.

I don't know why but there were almost more performers then guests?! Possibly the organizers didn't do the festival promotion too good so there were much lesser people. But of course, everything has its positive & negative sides: less people means almost no listeners & dancers on the floor so that some or most of the performers performed at the empty floor & much lesser potential buyers for me & for other stands there. The best sales were at the pancake stand & at the bar. Less people also mean a more intimate ambiance where you can get to know people more deeply, no waiting in lines, much cleaner environment & almost no trash left around.

But here is this one thing that bothers me the most in the trance music movement! Shortly, in theory, trance is all about the unity of all living beings (people, animals, plants, mushroom, etc.), preserving the nature & natural environments & habitats, exploring oneself deeply inside the mind & the heart & reconnecting with other beings & with Mother Nature & God. In practice, it's mostly like this: Festivals are organized with a purpose of making money & that's fine with me. The trance people mostly choose locations far from cities in almost intact natural surroundings, with clean running water, a vast green meadow & a forest to provide shade from the daytime heat. When they arrive there, they install a huge, gigantic sound system which doesn't stop playing for the next few days (48-72-96 h) in a row or even longer! Imagine that! A quiet, intact place where usually you can hear hundreds of birds singing or a fly in the air becomes an open air club for the next few days where hundreds of high-on-drugs people trying to find ways to reconnect with themselves & with other beings. Totally wrong & opposite of the theory - nothing more than a contradiction!

I definitely don't want to judge anyone cause every single person has its own ways to awareness! So maybe some need to get real high in nature with a too-loud trance music raving 96 h in a row non-stopping to reconnect themselves with Everything?! I just wonder why couldn't they visit Nature alone for few days & reconnect in that way?! Or why not installing the huge sound system in some abandoned warehouse or a football field or a parking place & get high on drugs there & terrorize each other there without terrorizing the animals, the plants, the mushrooms & others?! Even if they still choose the location in Nature & still install the gigantic sound system, why playing music 24/7?! Why not playing it for 10-12 h & give it a rest for the next 10-12 h so that some can have some sleep? Or if still choosing the natural site for the festivals, why bringing the sound system at all?! Why not listening the music of the wind, the song of the birds, gurgle of the stream & bring only the acoustic instruments for the full connection with the surroundings & the beings living there?! That would be a real trance festival without destroying the environment with a too-loud music or oneself with enormous amounts of drugs!

Once we've organized a small private gathering in the forest & we've lighten up a huge fire & around the fire we were playing approx. 15 different percussion for the next 6 hours & that was really an unique experience! There were some drugs around too, I must admit, but we were young & we didn't exactly understand what we were actually doing. Today I would do it much differently! Even knowing that drugs are a part of mankind history from the early beginnings to the very present, I would definitely try not to involve them into the festival. So, drugs free & unplugged - who would come for that?! No one?! Or maybe even some more people then they were on "Dragon's Quest?! Depending on the promotion, I guess?!

A very bad thing on the "Dragon's Quest" was the fact that the campsite was situated just opposite of the speakers - the speakers were turned right in the direction of the campsite, 100 m apart. So, if one wanted to sleep, one could barely get some. In my case, I stuffed my ears with the pieces of a tissue & kept them in all the time, day & night, & only that way I could preserve some sanity & managed to fall asleep for 4-5 hours.

Few years ago I promised myself not to go for trance festivals anymore & this time I tried to give it another chance but I proved myself right about the earlier decision. But I've also heard of some bigger & better organized trance festivals that are more convenient & more well-being oriented - such are: Boom, Ozora, Modem, Lost Theory & Samsara. I've been told that these festivals are really well organized & cover such vast areas that if you do not want to hear the pumping trance beats for 24 h, you can go & hide yourself somewhere in the silence, far away from the main floor but still staying on the festival ground. Except that, on the mentioned festivals, there is such a wide range of program & activities which give you a wide range of choice to decide what to do with yourself while not dancing. So, it is possible that I still might try those bigger festivals in the years to come. Maybe I'm not so old after all!


After Gračac, I moved to Zadar cause it was close & also on my way to Dugi otok but I also had some great friends to visit in Zadar! Of course, there's always one of my best friends ever - Maja & her family, where I'm almost like a member. Zadar again - almost every year. I kind of really like that town. There I spent some time with Maja, her daughter & some more of her friends whom she hosted too at the time I was there.

I went again for the abandoned Yugoslavian military airport in Zaton - cause it is the only place close to Zadar where I can go swimming naked. Of course, I played in the streets of Zadar but only the first night was a profitable one & all the others were not. There were more than 25 street performers in the old town & rivers of people flowing down the small alleys & the profit was still bad while I was giving the best of me. But I don't feel bad after not getting enough money for my performance cause I consider it a therapy - playing djembe or another drum in the street - so I benefit from the vibes I produce with a drum. After every performance I give, my body feels lighter after it, I bread more regular & deeper, my eyes get wider & bigger, more opened, my brain stops thinking & making noise. That's the effect I tried to explain & promote in the upper explanation about the differences between the huge sound system producing digital, not-natural, trance music & the acoustic, soft music of drums being played for a long period of time. Acoustic natural music cures & the synthetic vibes coming from a speaker terrorize! (Or at least that's how I feel about it.)

I also did some photo shooting in a tourist village called Kožino, next to Zadar. There I was called by the apartment owner who needed fresh photos of the interior & exterior to promote her accommodation. That job was a really nice one & much better paid then playing in the street & it made me possible to go to Dugi otok by my Twingo & by ferry so I could have been mobile on the island & move quicker, easier & freely ride my Twingo jet around it to see all I wanted.

In Zadar I met a great Hungarian friend Richard too - haven't seen him for almost 3 years - when spending amazing 15 days vacation in Split in 2016. Actually, we saw each other shortly in 2017 also in Split but only for few hours. Unfortunately, Joseph (another Hungarian) & Richard also had a very low profit while working in the street so they moved down to Split again. But I still was happy to see them for a day or two!

In Zadar I found a nice snack bar called "Despacito" where they served me an excellent vegan wok - vegetables, tofu & rice with a lot of spices. I fucking hate that song "Despacito" but the snack bar was fine! Here's a link to their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/snackbar.despacito.zadar/ - you might give it a try if you end up in Zadar ever...


This is how the wok looked like. (I really don't know why the photo is upside-down?!)


In the meantime, I spend one day & evening in the small touristic place called Petrčane. There I planned to perform some music in the evening & to try to sell my hand-made wooden jewelry while I play. But before I did that, I took a walk & explored the place a bit...

As almost every other touristic town / village, in the very center of Petrčane, next to the sea, there are like 10 or more restaurants & almost every house rents rooms or apartments. In the North-West side there's a big hotel complex too but also a huge vineyard called "King's Vineyards" in the North.

What I noticed the most is the nature embedded in this very center - there were two houses like 10 m away from the sea completely abandoned. One of them fully overgrown by the bushes, vine climbing the walls & even some taller threes like laurel & a fig. I ate some blackberries right there & also spotted a snake sunbathing on the short wall dividing the house yard from the seafront. It looked incredible but unfortunately, I didn't make a photo of it. The other house which looked a bit less abandoned gave me tremendous sight with two very potent psychedelic plants growing together! They looked so sexy & was really thrilled with their dance, almost like watching a two professional beautiful female dancers! Here are some shots of them:

Morning glory covering the iron doors dividing the house yard from the street. In the background you can see it covered the floor too!

This pure white trumpet flower, I believe, belongs to one of the most potent plants worldwide - datura (Datura stramonium). (But I'm not completely sure of it so if I'm wrong, please make me right!)

This shot deserved some more attention so I even edited it! You can see datura bud hugged by the morning glory vine! Amazingly beautiful!

But in Petrčane I found a really, really nice tavern - one of the last true traditional Croatian Mediterranean tavern called "Pjero" & here's their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pjeropetrcane. I sat there only for a quarter liter of domestic red vine & water but during my stay there I smelled some delicious treats of Adriatic sea like squids, shelf, shrimps & some bigger fish. Even thou I don't eat fish for more then 6 years now, my nose still react positively on the smell of fish but I don't eat it! They also have a wide range of meat probably (which I also don't eat for more then 10 years now). I'm proposing this to you who like meat & fish to experience a true Croatian food in a true Croatian tavern ambiance.

This is the entrance to the tavern.

There was another really interesting spot there - an abandoned campsite where the autochthonous holm oak small forest grows & forms a thick shade. Too bad it ain't working cause the campers would love it! & there I found this fella crawling around:

In the evening I tried to play music & to sell the necklaces but I had no luck with that. Only a bit of coins dropped in my hat. But there I met a very nice lady called Milkica who was selling her paintings & special cure-creams & I bought one while we were chatting about our poor lives in beautiful Croatia & enjoying this #sunset:

Dugi otok

After few days of Zadar, finally I decided to move forward in fulfilling my wish & I got onto a ferry to Dugi otok (= Long Island).

For a while now I've been attracted to Dugi otok in Croatia. I've just seen some photos made there & I fell in love with it! I mostly admired the sandy beach **Sakarun** cause in my homeland - Croatia - here are so many beautiful places, especially beaches, but rarely real sandy beaches. Till now I personally visited only few of a kind: the mouth of the river Neretva which I've experienced in 2016 & now - Sakarun. There are more sandy beaches on the North side of island Rab & I still haven't seen them but one day I surely will!

We left Zadar far behind us!

In Twingo I can't get so much wind in my hair as on ferry!

I have never seen such sails before!

Always admiring the power of the wind (& not only in my hair)!

After an hour & a half of a beautiful ferry ride between other smaller & bigger island, on a beautiful sunny day, with a blue color coming down from the sky & reflecting in the sea, we happily arrived on a long expected destination. I exited the ferry in a small ferry port called Brbinj. There I took a bath in the sea & then spent some time working on my laptop & informing myself more about the island while drinking red vine in Pansion Kaleb - comfortable place to do it. Surprisingly almost all the staff there were Ukrainians, cause the Croats went working abroad. I like these exoduses cause different nations with their cultures mix with each other & exchange their knowledge & experience.

My plan was to go to Sali of which I've heard that it's a biggest settlement on the island & quite a interesting little town. I planned to play there in the street. Soon I started the Twingo jet & hit the road...


I arrived to Sali around 19:30 h & first I scouted the place to try to figure out its vibe. I had a little chat with the workers in the tourist board & bought some home-made soap there which had a special label with a mark "island product". Then I went back to my car & took the *djembe* & sat down on a bench in the center, 5 m from the sea, on a place where the elders gather every evening to chat, hang-out, drink some vine & smoke the cigarette. It was also a place where people were passing by more often so I could get noticed.

Usually in such small towns, the locals hardly accept the newcomers, especially when one breaks their routine & especially the elders. But surprisingly, this time was completely the opposite - there was only one guy sitting on a bench next to me & some kids running around. Behind us, a house was with the opened windows so I asked the guy if is anyone living there & he replied not to worry about that - nobody is gonna be bothered with the music! "Freely play!", he added.

I made some exercise with my palms, fists, fingers & wrists to warm them all up & shortly after started playing. In the meantime, more of the local elders joined us on the bench. All of them reacted very positively. Immediately all the kids' attention was on me but also from all the people just passing by. The guy who was sitting there first sent the kids home to ask their mothers some coins to drop down into my hat - & they did!!! WOW!

Soon after I started paying a guy came to me with 70 kn (a bit less than 10 €) & asked me to go playing on his ship or in front of it to attract the walkers onto it. The ship was turned into the terrace & painted bright white & it looked real fine, only a little bit messy. Nobody was really noticing it, not even I until the explained me the situation. He had fast food opened in a small alley just 100 m from the ship but they weren't connected well between them & he was the only one working there so he couldn't be on two places in the same time. He was around 50 years old still in a good shape, tall & skinny, dark burnt skin & short grey hair. His name was Slaven.
After approx. 15 min & some fun with the people passing by me, I moved myself in front of the ship & tried my best to attract the people as I promised & as I was payed for. & really did attract the people - I especially remember two beautiful young mothers with their children coming & showing their children the new freak in the town playing a drum. I also had a short chat with one of them. I guess they were bored with the town ambiance & amused by my show & that's more then fine to me! Except them, I attracted some more people & I really explained to them what does the ship present. Many people didn't really understand what does it serve for, same like me. Nevertheless, the 3 huge signs set up close by to direct you & explain the ship. It was really not understandable until somebody personally didn't explain to the newcomers.

I did my job as we were agreed & the invited me for some food & a beer. He prepared me an excellent vegeburger. I had drunk the whole beer before I got to enjoy the burger. So, it was not really a "fast food" or it was just the slowest fast food ever! But it definitely worth to wait cause the burger was delicious.

After that we discussed some business & my potential employment at his ship & a stand he rented where I would be selling some local products - made on the island. He told me to think it over till tomorrow & tell him what would be my salary. I stayed on board overnight double-swinging in the hammock & on the boat. But I didn't get much sleep cause as people usually are more active in the summer time, bars were opened till 02:30 h & 2 companies hanged out on the 2 boats very close to the one on which I tried to get some sleep. After the noise stopped & I finally closed my eyes, I didn't last for too long cause the fisherman came around 05:30 h & started sorting the fish while yelling with the sea gulls & the Sun was announcing the new hot day coming!

In the morning I went for a swim & for a dose of Wi-Fi & a coffee in a bar called Maritimo. It was the busiest bar in Sali. There I did some work on the laptop. Also drank some freshly squeezed orange juice.

Slaven just entered the bar when I finished writing my demands on the paper for the two jobs he offered me. But unfortunately we didn't agree about my salary so we split. We had some really nice conversations & seemed like such a nice guy & we told each other some life stories in confidence so do not want to display publicly no one's private things. I gifted him with a wooden necklace which I hand-made & wrote down my number if he sorts himself out & business to call me for the next season. Even now I feel sorry not to stay & work there but I lifted up the manual break & my Twingo jet flew up in the air carrying all around the island & really did feel happier with the wings on my back & wind in my hair again!

I always like to check the port in search for the traditional wooden built boats but this time I found something maybe a bit more interesting in the port of Sali - "Satan's Boat"!

Nature Park "Telašćica"

Very close to Sali a nature park is situated. It is very famous for it flora & fauna but also a salty lake on the island surface separated from the sea. When I realized that, I remembered that long time ago at the age of 10 I really did visit the island for the 1st time with my parents & we took a bath in that salt lake & I remember we couldn't sink & that the bottom of the lake was covered with small dead shells & snail "houses".
This time I entered the NP by my Twingo jet flying on the dirt roads leaving the dust behind. It was a dry day but still some clouds in the sky signalizing the possibility of raining. I reached a certain small bay which name I've forgotten & went there for a bath naked. There was only a young Italian couple & it wasn't clear to me why were they wearing swimming suits in that lonely deserted place?! Moments after my arrival a French family came down on foot from the dirt road & a magnificent wooden boat with a British family came to - everybody dressed in the swimming suit - & me still naked! Now it seems to me that maybe I was the only one crazy there?!

The words can hardly describe how I felt.
I found a piece of coal on the mole even thou lighting a fire is strictly forbidden in the NP, so I made a simple fish-bird creature drawing... (Again I don't have a clue why the photo is upside-down?!)
As you can see on one of the previous photo, it was cloudy & every few minutes few drops of rain came down & dropped on my skin. It really seemed it's gonna rain heavily so I packed my thing & went back to my private Twingo jet & there I notice a huge colony of red ants & recorded them. I believe this specie is protected by the law!


So I went further more & explored the park & I found some incredible sights, filled with natural beauty. & there is one very important thing which I admire the most: There are really enormous olive forests on the island! There are more than 10 000 olive threes on Dugi otok & would bet that! It is really incredible! Except olives, a lots of almonds, figs & vine are growing too! Here are some of the moments of that natural beauty I encountered:

Here's the wild vine, probably the left-overs from the first Greek settlements more then 2500 years ago. It was the first time I could see fruits growing on the wild vine! (Again I don't understand why the shot is upside-down?!)
Now the upside-down shots are really getting funnier! (I have no idea?!)

But as every positive side would not exist without its negative sister, I also encountered something really sad & quite disgusting & that is an uncontrolled wast in the middle of the protected area of the Nature park "Telašćica". I didn't know if I'm sad or angry or both in the same time?!

The old unusable containers left to rot (upside-down!)...
My tired-of-fighting, morally-destroyed face...
...& trash...
...& more trash...
...& some more trash...
...& some more...
...& more...
...trash everywhere!
What do you see in my face?!

Later on a song came into my mind - an old Dalmatian song praising the traditional heritage of Dalmatians going like this:

It says: "I'm Dalmatian! I was born right here! ... I'm Dalmatian. This my home! Here my grandfathers settled down..."
I made my own version - in Croatian - especially dedicated to the people living in Sali: "...Dalmatinac sam! ovo je moj dom! Tu su naš didovi davno smeće bacili! ... " (Meaning: "...Here my grandfathers have thrown all the rubbish...") & they even fucking charge the entrance to the park?! They also have this fancy service called "Nature Guards" which only patrol in their fancy cars & do nothing to improve the state of Telašćica wild dump except receiving a high state salary!

I ran away from the ugly sight, stole some almonds & picked a lots of blackberries for the dessert!

After a short ride on the various dirt roads, I reached the Kršovica Bay where was also the tavern with same name opened. It was of course another incredible sight but I was so much stressed out abut the bunch of trash that I decided to boycott the islanders so I didn't even say hello to them nor to their customers. Just went for a swim, ate something & jumped back to the hammock to give myself a rest.
Close to the evening I went back to Saly with an intention to play some music again but than finally started to rain heavily. That summer storm which I was describing already in some of my travel texts - "nevera" or "neverin" - came along & stopped the tourist season for next 2 hours! Washed all the spilled beer from the mole along with the dropped ice-creams melted & the piss in the alley of the old towns...
That was the moment I left Sali.


I ended up in Žman where the storm haven't come yet that evening but was surely chasing me! I even managed to cook some rice with red lentils, paprika, onion, garlic, chili & salt. Just when the meal was ready nevera came & made me go inside Twingo to eat - it was a 1st class private jet after all! After rain I went for some vine in the local restaurant called "Roko". It was a really pleasant place to be, very comfortable. There I met some nice people & even the owners - an older but very open minded couple. With the gentleman owner I exchanged knowledge about wood working cause he was hand-making wooden objects from olive, almond & holm oak threes he was finding on the island of course. & promised to come in the morning for a coffee & to show him my wooden necklaces...
That night I slept in Twingo - which wasn't such a thrill... In the morning washing myself in the sea & of course - coffee & cake in Roko & showing my jewelry pieces. It was such a nice morning! So relaxing! Miss owner even bought one of the necklaces so in the end we were financially even: I bought their drinks & food & they bought my art! What is a fare trade, ha?!
Again I left...


Božava was my next destination. I'm always looking for the natural spring water & was given instruction that I'll find it in the old Yugoslavian National Army bunker next to Božava. I didn't even experienced that town, unfortunately, but I really did find the bunker & the natural spring water:

...along with some wild ruccola & again lots of blackberries:

This is the photo of asphalt road connecting Božava to the bunker outside the town. The darker one was made in the new age of "independent" Croatia & the pale, grey one was made long time ago when Yugoslavia existed...


I wasn't able to make some great shots cause I was annoyed by the fucking tourism & a bit in a rush cause I was planning to escape back to Zadar that evening.

Sakarun was the real reason why I came to the island in the first place. It is that sandy beach of which I was writing about in the beginning of traveling along Dugi otok. This beach made me fall in love with it! It is a real paradise but unfortunately it is slowly being destroyed by the virus called tourism.
I decided not to share everything I saw there, not good & not the bad notices either!
But still, I did some snorkeling, laying down, Sun bathing, I ate again & walked around.

Sakarun from the distance.
Sakarun is also a favorite destination of many yachts & sailing boats.
View on the Lopata beach.
Just 300 m away from Sakarun, Lopata beach is situated - also a very unique "double" beach which from one side looks over Sakarun & the other side looks towards the blue velvet:
"The Blue Velvet" is my favorite photo I made on the island!
Unbelievable but every I go I must meet at least one human I know from before & this time it was a well know Croatian jazz compositor, piano player & excellent musician who admitted to me that he is also in love with Sakarun:
Zvjezdan Ružić with his girlfriend on holidays.
As my photos weren't good enough to show you this extraordinary beach, there's a video I found which shows its full beauty:

Video from Top Destinations Croatia, produce by Amali Doare 2017
That was the end of my 3-days stay on the island & I ran back to Zadar by ferry boat. In Zadar I again met with some of my really good friends. Got a bit drunk with them cause all of us needed to slowly go home - "back to reality". It was nice.
While moving home to Opatija, I stopped again in Pag but I'm not gonna be writing a lot about Pag cause I did already several times. Only few details: In Pag I met my ex girlfriend. We know each other for 18 years. She dumped me cause I wasn't serious enough for her in that time & went with another. When we got together, I just had broken up with another & spent 3-4 years with this one. & now the history repeated - now she was almost breaking up & I appeared suddenly. Strange & interesting, ha?! Together we remembered some nice moments we had before... There were many deep moments between us again. That's all I'm gonna write about it!
I also stopped in Crikvenica on my way back home, just to have a bath but also to play & make some money before reaching home & there I was successful...

That's all from me this time! I hope you're gonna enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it & even more!

If you are ever coming to Croatia, please consider me as your guide! Feel free to contact me to really see the incredible beauties of my homeland!

Contact: +385923720382 (Viber, WhatsAp...) // careass@gmail.com

In the meantime, check out my #self-portrait #photo #contest: https://steemit.com/contest/@careassaktart/self-portrait-photo-contest-18th-week - 18th round almost finishing but the 19th is gonna follow immediately!

Thanks for stopping by!


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