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After my week-long rest stop on France's Côte d'Azur, where I met my parents to recount my travels (ie. to get fed, rest up, and stock up on provisions at their expense), I decided to buy the cheapest Ryanair ticket out of there that I could find -- and it happened to be to Zadar. I've never even heard of this place, I stupidely thought as I booked my ticket and inched closer to the McDonalds' to refresh the WiFi connection.
A few days later I arrived in Zadar at 8:00AM, an hour and a half after takeoff from Marseille. I took the bus from the airport to the bus station, where I transferred to another bus to take me into Stari Grad (the Old Town). I wandered around for a while, searching for a hostel, but found that not only were they charging between 20-40 euros for a dorm, but that they were all completely booked up. In my post-beach daze, I'd forgotten that it was Friday and that Croatia is a total tourist hotspot (especially for Europeans, who often head out here even if just for the weekend). After one of the central hostels (Old Town Hostel) recommended that I try my luck with finding accommodation in one of the boutique hostels, I panicked. I had thought the Balkans would be easier on my wallet, but if I was going to have to spend 40 euros on a place to stay every night, I didn't think I was going to make it out alive! In the end, after countless hours meandering the shiny cobblestone streets, I was kindly directed to House Hostel by a local I had run into. 

Although it is located on the outskirts of Stari Grad, House Hostel is only about a 10-15 minute walk away from it and a mere <5 minute walk from the local bus station. There is a Spar market nearby for groceries. Goga, the owner, is warm and accommodating; she made sure that I was comfortable, offered advice on where to go/what to see, and even allowed me to sleep on the pull-apart couch in her makeshift "office" because everything else was booked up for the weekend. I highly recommend the place; although the kitchen is small and there are only 3 dorm rooms, it definitely feels like home. During peak season (15/06-09): 20/night.
To be completely honest, I was a little unimpressed with Zadar - mostly due to the amplitude of tourists and the overblown prices. I spent 3 days there, mostly reading on an undisturbed patch of dry grass near the "beach" and evaluating the costly Balkan-trip situation I'd gotten myself into. After a failed attempt at a day-trip to Paklenica National Park (read my review here), I decided to hop on an overnight bus to Dubrovnik and take things from there.

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