Reading next to the sea is always my favorite summer activity. Sure, renting a jet-ski is exciting, and catching a large fish always stays in your memory. But nothing rests the body and mind like three hundred well-written pages next to the waves, accompanied by a cup of macchiato.
On Krk, however, I made an exception. As I was in its central town, which is also called Krk, I had a unique experience. The book I had was terribly boring, while a known delicacy of the island, presnec cake, looked too tempting in famous Casa del Padrone pastry. Romantic waves of the sea were replaced with a river of people on their way to the before-evening swim, and as every other Croat, I simply had to indulge into an excessive inner monologue about how funny some of them look.
A waitress woke me up from this deep reflexive activity, offering me a slice of Krcka Kneginja (the princess of Krk), the pastry’s specialty which turned into another trademark cake of the island. It was made in honor of Frankopan nobles, a very influential Croatian family who owned the island in 15th century. They had a habit of impressing their guests with fine desserts, usually when searching for young men and women of blue blood for marital reasons.
After having a nice chit-chat with chocolate royalty on the plate, I left with a decision to take a walk through town’s narrow paths. But before reaching the town’s center, I had to walk over a small promenade next to the Adriatic sea. With the stampede of beach-goers over, I turned to harbored ships as an object of my reflection. Not all of them were top-class yachts, of course. Some were modest fisherman’s ships not ashamed to show their age and work hours spent away from the shore. It was quite visible that each of them had countless stories to tell, and were much more then a pile of rusted iron waiting for the end of their long service.
Afterall, these metal sailors were the ones catching the prime fish, lobsters and seashells served in many local restaurants, including Andreja (situated in a renaissance palace in the middle of old town of Krk) and Karaka (featuring a gorgeous view of the Krk valley). So, they deal with luxury on the daily basis.
Once reaching the town walls, one can’t ignore the terrace of Volsonis. What would be the best way to describe it? In part, it is a nightclub. Then again, it is also a cocktail bar. It also has a wine cellar, which gets flooded by sea in the winter months, so owners have to move everything from underground chambers. It is also partly an archeological dig, as valuable findings were founded on Volsonis exact location. The walls are often decorated with works of art, while frequent cultural events such as poetry reading and concerts make Volsonis an art gallery and a hall. So yes, it is much more than a place to hang out in the nighthours, although most people use it precisely for that.
It is easy to get lost in small alleys of Krk. In many ways, going through them is like browsing the web. Whatever you seek, you always find something that catches your eye, and in a matter of minutes your initial search is over. Countless small shops, selling souvenirs, hand-made clothes and works of fine art are regular time-stealers, and a twenty minute walk turns into hours of pleasurable viewing.
An evening spent in the streets of Krk brought me to Stanic gallery, which offers a wide selection of quality-made ceramics and silk-made products such as ties and scarves. They gallery also tenders glagolitics, and many of their products feature these ancient symbols. However, one of the most charming merchandise they specialize in are small replicas of famous Krk buildings, such as 15th century town hall, or 13th cenutry Crkva Sv. Kvirina (the Church of St. Quirinus of Sescia).
The other site which caught my attention was Leut Krk, a unique workshop run by Zeljko Skomersic. It is actually a museum of small wooden ships, inspired by the owner’s passion in naval history and construction of vessels. Here you will learn everything about ship instruments, navy uniforms, charts and anchors, as well as have an opportunity to see how a model of a wooden ship is being made.
Finally, I reached the room I rented. Sitting on my bed, I wondered whether the town of Krk can be labeled as a place of good cakes and miniatures. A small replica of Krk’s traditional house was in my hand, and thoughts of how I will ruin all my work in gym with another slice of Krcka Kneginja in the morning echoed through my mind.
It is good to have a bad book occasionally. Especially when you are in the town of Krk.