Croatia …. we have arrived. The land of over a thousand islands with a coastline of 5,700 km’s including the islands. We have lots to explore. This has been on our bucket list for a long time and we just ran out of time in 2017. Now we have the opportunity explore this beautiful country. With a pretty small population, well under 5 million, there is a lot of underdeveloped countryside to enjoy, although based on what we’ve seen is this short time, it is totally embracing tourism and looks as though that will continue. Thee are a lot of new hotels under construction and lots and lots of holiday apartments available. I’ve no doubt this place is going ahead. It’s only 20 odd years ago since the war and Communism is still fresh in our generations memory. Kids here like home are enjoying all that consumerism has to offer. Croatia joined the EU in 2013 and like the UK , Croatia retained its own currency … in this case the Kuna. Great, it took me ages to get used to the the Euro to convert to our Aussie dollar ! Disappointingly our Aussie dollar is worth about 15 % less against the € since we started our adventure so we’re trying to invoke a budget which is constantly being blown.
We began this leg of our journey travelling South along the Istrian coast. Rich red fertile soil with endless olive groves …although the soil is absolutely Littered with rocks and little wonder there are so many stone walls everywhere. This part of the peninsular in some articles I have read, describe it as neat and cultivated …we will wait to see what that means.
Our first stop was the charming coastal town of Porec … which used to be part of Italy during the early part of the 20th century, and it definitely does feel like quite Italian. In fact you can jump on a ferry from here and go to Venice for the afternoon so it’s understandable .Its quite a small town on the west coast dating back to Roman times. It’s beautiful streets are covered with marble pavers which are now highly polished with all the foot traffic over the years. In high summer apparently the town is heaving, like the most of the country I am sure. But we are here late April and it is nice and quiet, perfect …hardly anyone around. ..We arrived here a little early for the camp sites opening so we found a fabulous spot in a hotel car park .. gratis …and only a ten minute walk into town. We had plenty of water on board so still had plenty for hot showers in the comfort of our abode. We also have an English couple for neighbours with a HUGE Moho towing a trailer with a q5 in to bootcan’t see him sneaking in and out of a site without some fuss 😳 he did everything BIG….even their dog was a Newfoundland, but he quickly added that it only ate as much as a Labrador each day…….I thought eating a Labrador each day would be illegal 😳
A very quaint harbour ..the usual cute churches …dotted with cafes and bars and restaurants.
Porec has over 250 km’s of marked bike tracks and in the couple of days we were there we did our fair share and variety of them.the coastal paths were brilliant and I must admit, I am a pest stopping Allen every 5 minutes to take a snap………most times he does 😳 but not all 😤 ......I am not much of a cyclist but with scenery like this and not too many steep climbs, I can ride for hours. We live on the East Coast of Australia and are starved of sunsets, so being here on the West Coast of Croatia is brilliant for them as you can see .
Changing colours as the sun sets on another wonderful day ...We’ve had a perfect couple of days here. The evenings are still pretty quiet with the odd little bar or restaurant open.
Oh have to put this in a pic of a pic … for all the pizza lovers just look at the size of these ..
Next stop was Rovinj ..another gem of a place … on the sheltered harbour the pastel coloured facades where picture perfect .this was the view from our campsite … a leisurely 15 min walk or a quick bike ride into town.oh dear … so happy the selfie stick has appeared again … my 4th !! I lost the last one on a hike.no visit to any town would be complete with out Al Pal looking at a real estate window ..it’s a beautiful town …with picture postcard views to delight. and the surrounding area is fabulous too …..The Croatians are very partial to naturist parks .. no not the flora and fauna kind.. and we of course have stayed clear of all the nudie joints… as Alpal often quotes John Meyer (Gravity is working against me) 🤣but while riding here one day bare bottoms started to appear on our track … we had gone a bit too far without realising so made a hasty retreat …. eyes closed .. oops watch those trees …But later that day the best was yet to come … we always find a track that takes our fancy other than the main one .. ok , I like to explore a little more than Al .. happily cycling a long when a buck naked man appeared from nowhere ..then another .. oh gawd where do you look … eyes forward .. smile .. oh hello … eek .. he replies are you swingers ??? 😂🤣😂 err no … would you like to be ?? err no …quick get out of here … Al Pal says maybe next time have a good day 😂🤣😂 we were in hysterics…. no we did not take a pic !!!..Bit hard to take a picture … but the butterflies are around at the moment and it’s gorgeous cycling along with them.After leaving here we made a quick stop to Pula to see the Remains of a Roman amphitheatre . We found a free car park next to the port which was very handy .. again off season so the barriers were still up. Founded in 46 bc it seats 20,000 (not the car park, the amphitheater) now used mostly for open air concerts in the summer...
Next on our agenda was Rabac again on the coast and the medieval hill top village of Labin. Really a small place but around the bay a huge amount of upscale hotels … it had such a laid back feel to the place .. we loved it and again because it was the start of the season it was so quiet … the camp site we were on was huge .. but when we arrived there were 4 Motorhomes including ours.can’t imagine the huge amount of people here in summer time ....Our challenge here was to cycle up to the hill top village of Labin .. as always I am all smiles at the beginning ..this was half way up and apart from the beetroot red face I was feeling wonderful 😊. Of course this did not last and by the top I thought I was going to pass out and the grumpy Mrs Powell raised her ugly mush ! Alpal just keeps going and prefers not to chat till the nice Mrs P returns. But the view was worth it and although the village was small and not much there a well earned coffee was appreciated...as this point all these villages and towns are beginning to look the same 🤣 but there’s always something a little different in each one .. same same but different .During the month of April several restaurants in the area celebrate the days of Asparagus and Cuttlefish .. each restaurant offers two menus with Aparagus and two with cuttlefish .. the former known as the queen of the Istra in the forest .. Truffles too are a big thing in the region … went off Truffles when our daughter Cara was with us last year in Italy and she ordered a pasta .. the first mouthful was gorgeous but then it was too much, such an over powering smell..
Time to move on … a fabulous drive as a passenger, poor Al was too busy concentrating on the twisty roads between Rabac and Rijeka ....passing lots of bays, inlets and lovely towns on the way. After driving through Rijeka .. Al was thankful a motorway made its appearance (although we mostly avoid them if possible) and then it was more or less one road all the way to Krk our next stop. The island is linked by a bridge from the mainland …a 45 Kuna ($10 ) toll.Camping Bor … 1km from town located amongst olive , fig and cherry trees. The family who run the camp site make their own wine , honey and olive oil .. it was the perfect spot and although some pitches had views over the town and sea we found our own little oasis on the lower terrace … all alone ....perfect spot for lots of R & R Krk town is another great place and we thoroughly enjoyed our time here ........One of the numerous walking trails started just outside our site ..so late afternoon one day decided we would explore the Olive Oil route … just for an hour it was a great walk, until we got lost ( yes, ok I got us lost again!) ended up down some cattle tracks that led to nowhere … ..so we limped home some four hours later, tired, thirsty and starving just before dark 😊 it was worth getting lostthough.
So until next time
Love to all xx