Visiting Šibenik, Croatia, With a Small Dog
Šibenik. Oh how we wish we had spent more time there. It really deserved more than our mad dash through the rain. Alas, all we had were 3-4 hours and lots and lots of rain. Still, Dear Reader, I will share with you what we did manage to see. Because Šibenik left a mark on us; that town has something about it.
We found parking right on the water’s edge on a stretch known as the Obala Oslobodenja. It was very convenient, since it was smack at the entrance to the old town centre and across the street from the tourist office.
I can’t recall how much it cost to park there but I do know that neither biped said anything, so that’s an indication that the price must have been reasonable.
What We Missed
Right off the bat I will tell you how bummed I am that we never made it up the hill to see the St. Michael Fortress. I was so hoping to run about there but, alas, with the particularly awful weather, we just couldn’t stand in the rain any longer.
We didn’t go to the Šubićevac Fortress either, nor did we take the ferry over to yet another — St. Nicholas Fortress. That too looked like a blast but … yeah …. weather. Ugh.
Cathedral of St. James
We did start with the most famous landmark, the Cathedral of St. James (also known as Šibenik Cathedral). Pets are not allowed inside and there is an entrance fee. We did the handover thing, but only one biped went in. Dad did a quick scouting, took a few photos, and reported back. The prettiest element, he said, is the baptistery at the end of the right aisle. It’s very heavily sculpted and particularly lovely. Or so I was told.
But I did get to see the exterior extensively between downpours of rain. The façade is wonderfully symmetrical. But where we stood as the rain poured down was by the door and, Dear Reader, the sculptures there blew my mind! Such exquisite details!
What makes this cathedral worth mentioning isn’t so much the building itself, but the years and years of master craftsmanship that went into rebuilding it after it was shelled in the war in 1991. It’s no small test to restore over 72 outdoor sculptures and a dome that is a unique structure built of interlocking slabs of stone.
The roof was built, like the rest of the cathedral, of local stone, and that meant that an entire modern generation had to re-learn the old ways of stonecutters in order to rebuild the structure. And let’s not forget that Gothic doorway with its framed spires and saints. A labour of love, folks!
The Old Loggia
After buying some cheap plastic rain ponchos from the tourist office, we took a moment to enjoy the view of the loggia. It’s right there in front of the northern cathedral door, also known as The Lion Gate.
The loggia used to be the town council’s gathering place up until about WWII, when the loggia was severely damaged. After its restoration, the open portico with its nine large arches and the upper floor and fancy balustrade became the home of a hotel and restaurant.
Church of Saint Barbara
In honour of my daycare provider, I just had to go see the church with her name. It’s a small church and hidden behind the big cathedral, so you could be forgiven for missing it. The church is fun in that it’s really sort of irregularly built. I loved all the faces carved all around it!
The Old Streets
The best part of Šibenik is how pretty the old streets are. Even in the rain, we had a wonderful time walking about.
We liked how here and there, a little shared courtyard and well would act as a communal meeting place. Or at least it must do so when the sun is out.
We climbed some very slick and narrow steps up to the lesser known Church of St. Lawrence and its garden. The church, built by Franciscans in the late 17th century, was a lovely little stop.
Complete with a local cat! The bipeds sat under the big fat awnings, hoping to warm up a little. They ordered coffee and chocolate covered crepes. (Ya, and what did I get? I never seem to taste anything but water coming out of my flask.)
We gazed longingly at the lovely garden that would have been so nice to stroll in had the weather been a little less horrid.
After that, we decided it was time to head on out. We still had Krka National Park to see and the rain was not letting up. We really needed to get in the rented car, turn up the heat, and try to dry off as much as possible.
So it is with some regret that we left Šibenik behind, feeling a little cheated, knowing we had not seen the town’s best side. But so is life, Dear Reader.
In review: Visiting Šibenik, Croatia, with a small dog is worth it! A lovely town with so many little streets to discover. Restaurants and cafés are pet friendly. Worth more than the few hours we were there.