Tag Archives: Croatia

Istria 2011, Rovinj

Rovinj Istria Croatia

It was really hot in the midday sun and we sat and watched the harbour activity, the tour groups being led around the town and the children playing in the square.  Rovinj was certainly very different to Pula with a chic Italianate ambiance that oozed style and disposable income.  Whereas in Pula the tourist part of the city rubs shoulders with the noise and sweat of its industry Rovinj felt exclusively like a pleasure zone for holiday makers, yachtsmen and tourists with no hint of a scruffy industrial area.

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Istria 2011, Palm Sunday and Intermittent Coastal Roads

Palm Sunday Fazana

Our plan today was to drive north along the coast to Rovinj and possibly Poreč but we would see how the day went before committing to both.  The map seemed to suggest two alternative routes.  One was a main road, possibly even a motorway, and so, with my paranoid nervousness about toll roads, we selected what appeared to be a perfectly good coastal route that would take us through a succession of villages along the way.

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Istria 2011, Fažana

Fazana Croatia

Pula is the largest city in Istria so I suppose it was inevitable that we would get lost leaving the place.  In theory it should have been easy to pick up the coast road and drive the short distance to Fažana but after fifteen minutes or so it was obvious that we were going in the wrong direction, away from the coast and driving into the hills of the peninsula.

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Istria 2011, The Roman Amphitheatre at Pula

The first century amphitheatre is the most important and most impressive building in Pula because it is the sixth largest in the world and one of the best preserved examples of its kind.

The Coliseum in Rome was the biggest Roman amphitheatre and could seat a massive fifty-thousand spectators (Some estimates suggest eighty thousand but generally about fifty thousand is the agreed capacity of the stadium), the second largest was Capua, also in Italy but now sadly in ruin, which had only a slightly smaller capacity, and the third was in El Djem in Tunisia with a capacity of thirty-five thousand.

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Istria 2011, Airport Security Staff at Stansted

Stansted airport is becoming a truly dreadful place to start an overseas vacation.  A holiday should begin with a good experience but airport staff seem determined to do all that they possibly can to raise stress levels as high as they can and generally make sure that this doesn’t happen.  It starts at the security baggage procedure where staff would appear to be encouraged to be as unpleasant and as rude to passengers as possible.

 

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Montenegro, Hercig Novi and return to Croatia

After the squares we climbed a stairway of worn shiny steps to get to the entrance of the fortress which stands at the top of the town overlooking the harbour below.  Inside there were walls to walk and views to admire, nothing like Dubrovnik of course, but pleasant all the same and worth the small admission fee.  It didn’t take long to complete the visit to the fortress so we walked back down and had a welcome cold drink in a bar in the main square next to the town’s old drinking fountain and the Serbian Orthodox Church in the centre.

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Croatia to Montenegro

Although we went back to sleep we needed an early start anyway because today we were driving to Montenegro.  Over a second excellent breakfast we had to keep this to ourselves however because our Croatian hosts were not especially impressed that we were visiting the neighbours who caused so much damage in this part of Croatia only fifteen years or so before and certainly weren’t keen to encourage us to go there.

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Croatia, Mlini Beach and the Adriatic Sea

 

The pine fringed white beach was even busier today (school must have finished early) and we had to squeeze ourselves in on a vacant patch right at the sea’s edge.  This was a beach of stones all carefully graduated by size as though someone had carefully arranged it that way.  At the back of the beach there were rocks, then stones giving way to pebbles and finally shingle disappearing into the sea.

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Croatia, Dubrovnik Revisited

The water taxi took about thirty minutes to make the short journey from Mlini to Dubrovnik and even though large cruisers anchored up outside the harbour spoiled the approach the old town fortifications looked spectacular as we sailed into the harbour and once off the boat we transported into an alternative world of narrow medieval streets, magnificent buildings constructed of white Dalmatian stone and a riot of red tiled roofs.  We knew that we had all day to explore the city but we were impatient so purchased our tickets and climbed to the top of the walls for the two-kilometre walk around the magnificent tenth century guard’s walkway.

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Croatia, The Siege of Dubrovnik

The taxi left from the little harbour in the village and we waited in the already hot sunshine until it arrived at ten o’clock and then selected seats on the upper deck and sat and sweltered while we waited for it to leave.  Eventually the crew cast off and followed the coast towards the city and then we saw something unexpected and nothing like we had seen before on previous visits to Croatia, a string of war damaged bombed out hotels at regular intervals all the way to Dubrovnik.  This we learned later was the legacy of an invasion by Montenegro during the secessionist wars of the 1990s.

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