Spring of Zrmanja river

continuing from previous post on Una River spring

So after the picnic, we continued down the Gračac – Knin road to the village of Zrmanja Vrelo clearly indicating that spring of Zrmanja river is nearby. Since my “obsession” with visiting all the springs – and tasting water at the very spring – of all Dalmatian rivers is fairly strong, it did not take me too long to decide  to turn left and follow the only road to teh village.

Ruins by the road
Ruins by the road

This region has been badly devastated in nearly every war that took place on our soil so ruins like these are not rare even today. Our target was the spring of Zrmanja and not ruins so we proceeded  till we got to end of the paved road and then some more on one-lane dirt road for a small parking at the end.

The right direction
The right direction

The path to the very spring was beautiful but not always easy. Well, it did appear like we were struggling through the jungle at times as it was by no means a clear path with all those branches and weed  and tall grass and mosquitoes…

Old mill
Old mill

And then we reached the spring…

Zrmanja river spring
Zrmanja river spring

It was a bit disappointing to see this beautiful river tamed right from it’s beginning but I guess that the folks who “fortified” the spring area had their reasons and wanted to make it more useful for their mills down stream. The area is nevertheless beautiful and worth seeing although I have had better spring water. Zrmanja continues from this very spot for another 69 beautiful kilometers  – part of which underground and part of which flowing through amazing canyon that I also visited few times and wrote about it here: Zrmanja river.

Secret woods
Secret woods

Just like the spring of Una, spring of Zrmanja river is also a great place for a day trip not far from Zadar or Šibenik. Both places are especially pretty in the fall and spring although snow covered, both river springs must look amazing as well! Since I don’t move much in the snow, I guess that will always be a mystery to me 😉
Such a shame that most folks spend their Saturday afternoons in shopping malls with such beauties being less than an hour away… Well, more peaceful landscapes for me!

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Spring of Una River

Most of us have this fascination with waters. I cannot live very far away from the sea and have to see it at least once a day. So living in the interior is out of the question.. But, I do like rivers. Especially hidden, secret springs just like the spring of river Una.
Since it is only an hour from Zadar (an hour or so), it was a perfect destination for our fall trip. This past fall was just beautiful and even in late October it felt almost like Summer. And the region of Lika was as spectacular as always.

The valley and mountains of Lika (close to town of Srb)
The valley and mountains of Lika (close to town of Srb)

To get to the spring is easy: follow the old road from Zadar to Gračac, turn right towards Knin and then left to Srb. Continue straight on the main road till you see a river and a nice sign marking the path to the spring.

Infomation on the spring and the area
Information on the spring and the area

When we were there, the group of workers were putting together the fence for easier and safer walk along the somewhat demanding and fairly narrow path to the very spring. It is surely completed by now, and it will make it easier for families and children to reach the spring.

Work in progress
Work in progress

The walk to the spring is not as easy as I was expecting but nothing serious anyway. One just has to watch out for narrow parts and maybe some slippery leaves on the ground. Several panorama points have been positioned along the way with some very interesting views.

River Una
River Una

And then the path goes really high above the river. It took us about 20 minutes to reach it but it can be done in less time. We were the only ones there and it was such a peaceful and quiet place of almost unnatural water colors…

The spring of Una river
The spring of Una river

There is a seating area for picnic activities but the place is in the shade and it is not as pleasant so we decided just to tour the spring and head back to one of the meadows we saw along the road.
Besides, groups of people started coming in and I don’t really like big groups in small area as this…

Going to the spring
Going to the spring

Few more shots of this really exceptional color and we were on our way back.

The color of Una spring
The color of Una spring

And I love this graffiti under the bridge 🙂

I love Lika, too!
I love Lika, too!

I always look for some natural foods when going hiking so I was inspecting the area surrounding our picnic site to find:

Wild apples
Wild apples

… not exactly your Granny Smith but quite good!

Cornelian Cherry
Cornelian Cherry (drenjine)

And than it was time to move on to another spring fairly close by…

To be continued….

Restaurant Week

Since the new “Restaurant Week” is just around the corner, I thought of posting few photos from the last one – from this past fall – when we visited two restaurants in Zagreb. Although “Restaurant Week ” is national event, Zagreb has the most interesting participants and it is quite fun to explore some restaurants that are usually not on my “to visit” list.

Menu at Apetiti City
Menu at Apetit City

The basic idea is simple and same worldwide: the restaurants that join this event have a special menu offered at 100 kn (cc 15 Euros) per menu and menu usually consists of three courses and, in some cases, even a glass of wine.

First place we visited was Apetit City – a city version of more famous and more popular Apetit located a bit further away from the very city center and not so accessible on foot if you like to roam the very heart of Zagreb. Apetit City is a stylish, modern restaurant with great service that we visited before but they had quite an appealing menu so we made a reservation for lunch that day.

The interior
The interior

Once we got there, the place was half full but it got fairly busy within minutes. We ordered both menus just to see full range of food served. Although I was afraid that they may cut corners, that was not the case. The portions were regular and food very good.

Lamb confit served on forest mushrooms and polenta
Lamb confit served on forest mushrooms and polenta

and for those into fish…

Sea bream on Mediterranean vegetables
Sea bream on Mediterranean vegetables

Overall, great value for 100 Kn! I always recommend Apetit City to my clients when traveling to Croatia with us and staying in Zagreb as it is conveniently located within the very city center.

Next day we wanted to go another place of the same style so we decided to go to upscale  Le Bistro at Regent Esplanade.

Bistro at Regent Esplanade
Bistro at Regent Esplanade

The ambient is quite lovely: very clean and upscale looking although on a casual side like a bistro should be.  The menu was also quite interesting and especially quail and traditional štrukli Regent’s other restaurant, The Zinfandel, is famous for. However, the service was not as good  – it was more formal and “cold” then in other restaurants we visited. Very few suggestions coming from the staff and not even trying to sell us wine or anything else.

Quail was ok
Quail was ok
Strukli
Strukli

The food did not quite meet our expectations either… The tastes were very plain and something was missing in almost every dish we ordered. Even the strukli were not as good as expected.
Overall, Le Bistro at Regent Esplanade was mediocre experience and would go there just if there is no other place near by. Will have to go to Zinfandel next time just to make sure that the entire culinary offer of this superb hotel did not get lost!

Restaurant Week in Croatia – http://www.facebook.com/Tjedan.restorana
Apetit City – http://www.apetit.hr/
Le Bistro at Regent Esplanade – http://www.regenthotels.com/EN/Zagreb/Cuisine/Le-Bistro