While staying in Trogir, we rented a car to drive around and see various wineries as well as some sites along the way. On any map there are three different ways to go north to Šibenik from the Split/Trogir area. There is the coastal road which is the equivalent of the Pacific Coast Highway in California in that it is beautiful, but painfully slow. Then there is what people call the Old Road. And then there is the New Road or the Auto Cesta that was built basically to handle the waves of tourists that beach themselves in Croatia for the summer. We are probably one of the few groups of people who are visiting the country that have taken all three.
Like I just said, the coastal road, or perhaps the Old Old Road is impractical. Once you’ve been on it, that’s probably the last time you need to see it. But the Old Road that runs inland is quite fast when going up to Šibenik. Sure, there is the initial winding part as you ascend up from Trogir, but after that, it’s pretty straight and fast. It also happens to be rather devoid of cars because everyone is taking the New Road.
So, what about the New Road? It also happens to be quite good. It’s really, really straight and very flat with two lanes in each direction (the Old Road only has one each way), but there is a toll. Now, the toll is not that expensive (although I bet the Germans still complain) and I am rather in favor of tolls, because in theory, they tax those who use the roads. In this case, tourists pay for a road that was initially built out of the pockets of the citizens in the country. So, this is good. But, overall, I have to say that I prefer the Old Road.
All the locals in the area swear by the Auto Cesta. I think this is in a large part to the fact they do anywhere from 140-180 kph on the damned thing. Here I was, stuck in a Toyota Aygo that I really had to whip hard to stay at 130kph, but usually was cruising in the 110 range or about 65 miles an hour. That’s okay, considering that little bump of a car got a whopping 70 miles to the gallon! With all of this taken in to account, the Old Road was actually faster for us. You see, it’s less distance than the Auto Cesta when taking this leg of it, which, when you’re putting along, works out much more in your favor.
Then of course there is always the new factor that needs to be taken in to account. The Croats are mighty proud of this Auto Cesta (A1) and they should be, since it was constructed in a matter of just a few years. But, people seem to get blinded by the newness of things around here and while they are agape at having it, they’re ignoring practicalities like the fact that if it is 20km longer to take this New Road than the Old Road, then the New Road maybe isn’t the best choice. But, I had to be secure in my knowledge and manhood as guys in 15-year-old Yugos and Volkswagons were somehow able to fly by me like I was standing still. I can never figure out how they do that…