Friday, July 22, 2016

Adriatic Exploration: Rovinj

Wednesday, June 22
After four nights in Venice, we took a GoOpti transfer to Rovinj. The driver arrived 10 minutes early, and we were off, stopping to pick up a family at the airport, whose luggage had not arrived! They were traveling from Norway to Slovenia because their son's favorite ski jumper is Slovenian. Their English was excellent. I drifted off to sleep, and just before the sunset we arrived in Rovinj, a coastal town on the Istria peninsula of Croatia. My parents' apartment was just a few doors down from ours. While our host gave an exhaustive explanation of all the features of the place as well as restaurant and sight recommendations, their host said everything is self-explanatory and ran off. Dan and I picked up a few things from the produce stand and bakery and had a light dinner before bed, as it was quite late.

Thursday, June 23
We picked up yogurt, milk, fruit, and pastries at the market and bakery, and had breakfast at the apartment before our host met us to accompany us to the car rental. He pointed out sights along the way, and several people greeted and chatted with him. After getting the car, he rode with us to show us the parking lot. Amazing service. After returning, we didn't hear back from my parents, and so I walked down to their apartment and knocked on their door. No answer. I was getting worried that I had lost them! We thought about leaving a note when they appeared. Hooray! We spent some time trying to figure out their mysterious electronic key system, then had lunch at Tipico: eggplant stuffed with rice on arugula and Istrian steak with pasta, and Istrian white wine. Yum. We got our bathing suits at the apartments and walked to the Golden Cape, stopping for ice cream at B052 on the way. Dan and I went swimming in the Adriatic Sea, while my mother waded in a bit (the rocks are slippery, and she thought the water was cold), and my father sat in the shade. Dan picked up a sea cucumber (or slug)! My parents said it looked like good eats. Dan and I read our books for a bit after swimming, then we headed back, stopping for another ice cream. And we saw a cardigan corgi!

Posing in Rovinj

Golden Cape

After showering and a rest, we set out for dinner. We enjoyed an alfresco meal of truffle tagliatelle and giant seafood platter at Scuba, so delicious. Dan was even able to convince my mother to take a photo (usually verboten). My parents were very impressed with the quantity and prices, no way one could eat that well for so little at home. The seafood platter was even larger than the menu photo. After dinner we took a walk and admired the sunset views. There was a salsa festival, so we watched some dancers for awhile, then walked around the town before returning. My parents were not sleeping well, so my father had a sleepover at our apartment (there was a cot in the living room).

Dinner at Scuba, Rovinj

Seafood plate at Scuba, Rovinj

Posing at dusk

Friday, June 24
After breakfast, we drove to Motovun, an Istrian hill town, stopping to see Limski Fjord. It was a very hot day. We sampled local honey, walked around the city walls, and I saw a cute dog. Then we had lunch outside, lots of truffle dishes, since they are foraged in the nearby forests. White truffles aren't in season until September, so we had pasta and carpaccio with black truffles. Panna cotta with local honey and truffles for dessert, which was...interesting (Dan liked it). After lunch we peeked into shops, sampling more truffle products, Dan enjoyed the truffle salami and spotted his dream meat slicer. There was also truffle cheese and even truffle chocolate. I saw a sign for a truffle hunting tour, with truffle dogs! I also tried some local wine. We bought some truffle products, and the young man at the shop told us about the Brexit. He was crestfallen. Dan wasn't surprised, but I had hoped it wouldn't pass.


Dan with giant strawman

Dan with beer

Post lunch in Motovun

After the drive back to Rovinj, Dan and I went for a swim in the Adriatic Sea, just outside the city wall, where there are ladders off the rocks, and we met a couple from San Francisco. I enjoyed a glass of wine with the view, then we met my parents for dinner at Maestral, there was a great view, but unfortunately the server messed up the order of one of the dishes (pasta with clams). Kind of disappointing. We walked around the city and enjoyed the sunset view after dinner. We passed a lady playing the accordion, and also heard what seemed like a local band playing.

Saturday, June 25
We took the ferry to Crveni Otok, also known as the red island although I don't know why. Saw many pheasants and bright green lizards on the island. We had lunch on a terrace with a lovely view of the sea. More truffle pasta, also a mixed grill of meat for Dan, Sachertorte for dessert.

Dan wth beer

Sachertorte on Crveni Otok

Lunch on Crveni Otok, the red island

After lunch Dan and I went swimming off the rocks, and we saw a huge jellyfish! And fishies. We walked over to the sandy area, where my mother went for a swim. I went in too and saw what looked like giant mussels standing on their ends, and big sea cucumbers or sea slugs. After the boat ride back, we saw a wedding party accompanied by musicians coming out of a hotel. Then we had ice cream. My mother and I each got a new dress, supposedly made in Italy (no China, the lady said repeatedly).


Ice cream

After showering and a rest, we had pizza for dinner at San Giacomo, as Dan watched the Scotland-Northern Ireland EuroCup soccer match. I like the pizza plates in Croatia. The pizza was pretty good, my parents thought better than in Venice. Then we took a last walk around town, where many people were decked out in Croatian colors, jerseys, flags, and such for the soccer match later that night. Back at the apartment, Dan Facetimed his parents, and watched the Croatia-Portugal soccer match, while I wrote postcards and read my book. Croatia lost, so it was a quiet night.

Pizza in Rovinj

Dreamy Rovinj

Sunday, June 26
We packed up after breakfast, and our host helped us load our luggage. He was so kind, and I wish I had taken a photo with him. Then it was off to Lake Bled, Slovenia. We loved Istria and would love to return...doviđenja, Rovinj!


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