Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cruising ‘round Croatia.

I’m not sure you can really call island hopping on car ferries ‘cruising’, but it’s the closest we came.

After leaving Slovenia we did an overnighter in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city. The compact old centre really had a great vibe to it with a high density of cafes and bars. The national sport seems to be sitting about in the sun sipping coffee or wine. We fitted right in.

Cafe Society
We checked out all the obligatory churches and other grand buildings and then joined the locals in the cafes and bars. The national dish of Croatia seems to be pizza, but we managed to have local dish of venison goulash for our dinner, accompanied by some very ordinary wine. The whites, mainly Malvasia, are rather lovely, but reds can leave a lot to be desired.

From there we headed to the coast through lovely country, similar to Slovenia – not surprising really!! Our first glimpse of the Dalmatian coast was breath-taking, but sadly the clouds came in, coming closer and closer until the whole region looked as though Christo had arrived and wrapped everything in grey silk.

Me swimming in the Adriatic at Senj - about 3pm
Sunset at Senj

We were hoping for the azure skies and turquoise waters of the tourist brochures, but we got 50 shades of grey instead. Even so our first camping spot by the sea was lovely and we got a decent sunset, so musn’t grumble. From Senj we head to the island of Krk. We stayed 2 nights and had good wander around – not the world’s most exciting island, but we liked it. Next stop the island of Cres, but the damn sea fog came in and we saw virtually nothing.

Island of Krk
We stayed in Pula on the Istrian Peninsula, but same thing – just shades of grey. We really didn’t see the Adriatic Sea at it’s best.

Driving north back into Italy, we stopped in Trieste and camped in a rather odd spot, more like a trailer park, with lots of permanent residents. Still, it was high up above Trieste with great views and decent restaurant. Can’t complain about a decent Linguine alle Vongole. Trieste is an interesting port town but not on the ‘don’t miss’ list for future reference. James Joyce wrote The Dubliners and A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man here, so must have something going for it. I now feel obliged to read these. I’ll let you know how I get on!

Me having a chat with James Joyce in Trieste
We are now in Friuli region and parked by the cemetery in Udine. At least the neighbours will be quiet. There are no camping grounds in the region at all, which is a shame as it is a major white wine region and might have been interesting to check out a few producers. We settled for trying a few glasses of the local Friulano in a couple of bars.

Venetian Style Building in Udine
Friuli town of Cividale

From here we will head to Bologna for a few days and then on to Le Marche to stay with some friends of Lawrence’s from way back. We’ll stay a week if they’ll have us. It’ll be nice to stay put for a while as we have been on the move for a while.

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