After a successful couple of days introducing Zadar Digital Nomad Week, where the participants were able to familiarize themselves with the Dalmatian city and get to know each other better, the program continued with activities that would take them briefly out of the city to enjoy some gems that few know in the region. The slogan of the third day of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week was ”Recharge in Nature”, and it is unique that few regions in Croatia can boast of having so many varied National Parks located less than an hour from the city: Kornati and Telašćica in the sea, and Paklenica, North Velebit, and Velebit in the mountain range. Ideal to disconnect from work and reconnect with the natural surroundings.
But before exploring the natural landscapes of the Zadar region, it was necessary to start the third day of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week with something to eat and, as a great bonus, some important history of the area. Fifty minutes from the city by car, and located in the Pakoštane area, is the historic Ottoman residence of Maškovića Han. The construction of Mašković Han began in 1644 by the order and funds of Jusuf Mašković, originally from Vrana, a high dignitary on the Sultan’s court and a supreme admiral of the Turkish fleet. Han was intended to be a summer house/residence for Mašković when he returned from Constantinople to his homeland. It was conceived as a luxuriant monumental and modern building that would have all the necessary comforts, including a Turkish bath-Hamam.
Significant funds were invested in the construction, and there were even 500 workers working on it every day. In 1645, Mašković, with 60,000 warriors, conquered Crete, and the nobility that he showed towards the captured Venetian soldiers and citizens made him one of the most prominent warriors of all time, but he provoked the anger of the sultan who summoned him to the court where Mašković was then executed. His tragic destiny left a trace also on Han, which was not completed in the planned form, but rather in a much more modest form.
Within the Ottoman walls of Maškovića Han, ZDNW participants enjoyed a spectacular Turkish coffee and baklava to calm their appetite, followed by a hearty lunch to fuel up for the day’s next activities.
Following an excellent brunch and lunch at Maškovića Han, we headed to the shores of Lake Vrana, the largest lake in all of Croatia. One would think that, due to its impressive size, it would be found on a beach on the Adriatic coast, but in reality, it is a magical freshwater destination that is worth exploring in the summer as an alternative to beaches and coves. Under the shade of the trees provided by Camp Vransko Lake Crkvine, we were able not only to rest and properly digest lunch, but also to catch up on work. Isn’t that the essence of being a remote worker in the middle of nature?
After recharging our batteries, a very unique activity followed. We got on kayaks and paddled to enter the waters of Lake Vrana, where Michael Freer offered a keynote on the social impact of being a digital nomad in each destination they go to. Floating in the refreshing waters of the largest lake in Croatia, we were able to learn more about the different ways one can get involved socially in Croatia, such as volunteering and social development projects. Who better to offer the keynote than Michael, who in his many years in Croatia has managed to lead various social projects.
After the keynote, we met again in Maškovića Han, where a van was waiting for us to go to the next and last destination of the day. At Maškovića Han, we had a special reunion with some dear familiar faces from last year in Dubrovnik: Marlee and Jeff McCormick, who participated in the memorable Digital Nomads in Residence program at the Pearl of the Adriatic. They flew from their home, in Texas, to spend a few days enjoying the excellent June weather in the Adriatic and to be part of the Zadar Digital Nomad Week.
We drove in the early evening hours to Vidikovac Kamenjak, just 20 minutes from Maškovića Han: a viewpoint located on the top of the peaks behind the Vrana lake with perhaps the best view I have ever had in my life. I must admit how hard it is for me to explain in detail what one can feel with the landscapes from that viewpoint and, above all, with the sunset falling.
With just a turn of the head, one is able to appreciate the island of Murter north of Šibenik, the archipelagos of Kornati and Telašćica, or the islands of Žut and Pašman, belonging to Zadar. And, of course, the lake of Vrana in all its immensity, in whose waters rested the last rays of daylight and, shortly after, a full moon that completely illuminated the lake. And the photos and sightseeing were not the only things, since Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater saw in this last activity of the day a great opportunity to share a picnic with fantastic proseccos, and delicious appetizers.
And that’s how when night fell, we returned home to close a magical day in the nature of the Zadar region and ready to start the week with great energy and eager to see what the program had in store for us.
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