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    It’s the end of an era. For nearly 60 years, Croatia’s national ferry company has been linking the northern and southern Adriatic with a car ferry but now it’s over. As reported by Dubrovacki Vjesnik, Jadrolinija can no longer afford to run the unprofitable line between Rijeka and Dubrovnik. Although the ferry was once the most efficient link between Rijeka and Dubrovnik, it has been supplanted by the fast motorway that runs from Rijeka past Split, though not yet to Dubrovnik.

    In the 1990s the coastal ferry stopped at Rab Island and Zadar in addition to Split, Hvar, Korcula and Mljet but those stops were soon eliminated. Then, a few years ago winter service was eliminated, leaving only a twice a week run down the coast from June to September. The writing was on the wall.

    Today, a spokesperson for Jadrolinija confirmed to me that, as of now, the line is discontinued. The only ray of hope would be if one of the municipalities along the route decided to kick in some financing. As the passenger numbers are just not there it would be surprising if Dubrovnik or another town decided that the line was essential to its tourism industry. Unlikely.

    Those who are planning a visit that takes in Istria and Dalmatia next year will need to consider other alternatives. Driving the coastal motorway is the simplest solution but may not be entirely practical or desirable for some. There are five daily buses that run from Rijeka to Split (see Autotrans for the schedule) and a few that run from Istria and go on to Dubrovnik. This past season saw a direct flight between Pula and Zadar. Next season may very well see more direct flights between the northern and southern Adriatic and maybe even a fast catamaran service running up and down the coast. If the market is there, solutions will be found. Stay tuned.

    See more on getting around Croatia.

    From mummies to murder, Croatia is the scene of truly macabre sights. And what better day to visit them than All Saints Day which is a national holiday in Croatia? Here’s what to see:

    The Mummies of Vodnjan

    vodnjan-mummy-Nikolosa_Bursa

    Creative Commons license Jonathan Rome

    Not far from Pula in Istria, lies the sleepy town of Vodnjan and the even sleepier mummies that repose in in the town church of St Blaise. The clothed bodies of St. Leon Bembo (d. 1188), St. Ivan John Olini (d. 1300), and St. Nicoloza Bursa (above d. 1512)  lie wooden and staring behind glass. For mysterious reasons the bodies of these local saints failed to decompose, perhaps because of the good deeds they performed in their lifetimes? Healing energy supposedly wafts around the body of the latter saint. More on visiting Vodnjan.

    Mirogoj Cemetery

    Creative Commons license by Budgiekiller

    Creative Commons license by Budgiekiller

    Lying just a short bus ride from central Zagreb, Mirogoj cemetery provides everything necessary for a truly luxurious Eternal Slumber. Designed by Herman Bolle at the end of the 19th century, Mirogoj is a festival of graceful arcades, elegant pavilions and gentle domes. The lush greenery is peaceful and dotted with sculptures and sculptured tombs. Famous residents include the poet Petar Preradovic and political leader Stjepan Radic. Look for the bust of Vladimir Becic by Ivan Mestrovic.

    Daksa

    vlcsnap-2014-10-31-17h34m58s165Just offshore celebrated Dubrovnik  is a tiny island that is said to be haunted. The fact is that the island of Daksa was the scene of a massacre of Nazi sympathizers in 1944 and the bodies lay unburied for decades. Now the island is for sale but no one is buying. Seamen claim that the victims can be heard groaning on dark and stormy nights.

    Veliki Tabor

    Creative Commons license by Ex13

    Creative Commons license by Ex13

    Perched in the hills surrounding Zagreb,  Veliki Tabor is a romantic collage of turrets, towers and tiny windows but the interior harbours a shattering secret surrounding the death of Veronika of Desinic. According to the story, Veronika was a poor young lass who caught the eye of the wealthy son of the castle’s owner. His father was displeased with the romance, putting his own son in jail and drowning Veronika. Her body was bricked up in the wall behind the entrance and it’s said that on stormy nights you can still hear her wailing. One of the grislier displays is a woman’s skull which was actually found within the walls during the castle renovation.

    Zadar Sea Organ

    sea-organ

    Zadar’s famous sea organ is not actually emitting the sounds of dead souls but it certainly sounds like it. Designed to transform the sound of waves into music via a network of pipes, tubes and whistles, the mournful sounds that it creates would provide the perfect soundtrack to an Edgar Allan Poe story. Go at night.