St Nicholas Day Crikvenica

After bumming around Kraljevica yesterday today we took a ride along the cost visiting a few local towns. The highway runs along the back of these coastal towns so if you want to visit you have to actually turn off. The first place we visited was Jadranovo. The road into the town winds down a pretty steep hill, passing a little church. The town is spread out along the bay overlooking Krk and it was nice riding along the boat harbours seeing the boats at anchor, and the crystal clear waters. Like most small towns everything was shut for the season so we headed back to the highway and on to Crikvenica.

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Crikvenica is a sprawling coastal city with lots of cafes and restaurants lining the waterfront. When we arrived we found the street blocked for St. Nicholas day. The 6th of December is St Nicholas Day, a Croatian celebration where on the eve children leave their shoes on the window sill. They awake to find them filled with sweets and small gifts.

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The local park was decorated for the occasion, and the trees were hung with coloured presents. The pathways were lined with advent stalls selling Christmas gifts, cured meats, cheeses, bakalar, fritules, lucky dips, all sorts of Christmas goodies and of course the traditional Glüwein stands.

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St Nicholas (Sveti Nicola) was in the rotunda giving out sweets to the kids and posing for photos. We just had to try fritules, deep fried dough balls covered in your favourite topping, chocolate, strawberry or just dusted with icing sugar. Mmm delicious.
Across from the park, around the boat harbour old blokes were barbecuing meat, playing Croatian Christmas music. There was a real festive mood about the place. The tourist train with a string of tinsel was transformed into Sveti Nicola’s train filled with smiling kids and parents enjoying the festive day.

All the coffee shops were filled with families, and we found a table to watch the proceedings. One thing we’ve found in Croatia is that cafe’s don’t mind you eating food at their tables from elsewhere. Most of them just sell coffee and drinks so there’s no drama.

As the celebrations were winding down we purchased some local salami and headed back towards Kraljevica along the coast.

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Crikvenica spreads all the way to Dramalj with lots of holiday units abandoned for the winter. Judging by the amount of apartments the place must really hum in the summer months. All along the coast are swimming spots with ladders leading into the water. We stopped off at an old holiday camp to take a walk around the limestone cliffs to admire the beauty of the croatian coast.

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As the sun was starting to set we headed back to Kraljevica after a nice day out experiencing a little Croatian tradition. Happy St Nicholas Day.

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