‘Hvala ti i Dovidenja’ to Croatia and an big ‘Zdravo’ to Slovenia.
Today we finally left Croatia. Since we arrived we have been very lucky with the weather, and the sights have been truly amazing.
St Mark's Square, Zagreb
Our last week started with us treating ourselves to a ‘Peka’ in a very traditional restaurant in Zagreb. A ‘peka’ is a veal and lamb stew cooked in a bell covered in hot coals very slowly. We ordered it the day before and it is huge - so big we had to ask for a doggy bag to take some of it home to the motorhome! When you visit Croatia, it is one of the many tastes we would recommend you to try.
The ‘Peka’ was huge ... and very, very tasty
Forgot to mention the starter, dough balls with fresh local soft cheese
Full map of the town cast in bronze
One last one from Zagreb: George and the slain dragon. George is very popular in these parts, too
Pula and the Coast
The next day it was off back to the coast and the city of Pula. It was not on our list, but the great thing about motorhomers is that they are helpful. We have to thank Andrew’s two daughters, who we met in Camp Zagreb for their kind advice. Pula, they told us, was a must see and the amphitheatre there was awesome. They had seen Status Quo play there two years earlier. Quo sadly will not be playing there again but the young ladies were spot on. Pula was another must see.
The Amphitheatre Pula
A compact town that oozes history, while being a real city with a working shipyard in the middle, where at night they light up the cranes for extra tourist effect. If you visit the city, make sure you go to the market. Again, as in Zagreb, this is a real market with all local produce and used by the locals - and us too - buying some meat, fruit and veg.
The Gappers get together at the Amphitheater.
Unlike the Dalmatian coast further south, Istria, has a real Italian feel and there are a lot more tourists here from the near north: Slovenia, Austria, Germany and of course Italy, so it is slightly more expensive.
Rovinj, Novigrad and Porec
The marina at Rovinj
Moving on up the coast, we stopped at Rovinj - a picture postcard town, again with a great buzz. We unfortunately did not like the campsite Kamp Porton Biondi and the best pitch we could find involved us having neighbours at touching distance, with us blocking any hope of a view for them. So much so, that we advised them to do the proverbial German towel trick when we left the next day blocking the pitch (have a look here for our reviews of all the places we have stayed on the journey).
The public pool at Novigrad
The next day, after a little more Google investigation, we moved north again to Novigrad. This was another picture postcard place and an easy cycle to Porec, our 19th UNESCO world heritage site of the challenge Elddis set us for the Long Way Home. The strange thing is that although all of these places are tourist orientated, they still all feel like ordinary lived-in towns. The locals are friendly and fun, English is very commonly spoken, so give it a twirl, Croatia is not just Dubrovnik!
A happy Gapper on our site at Novigrad
Porec - one of the UNESCO word heritage sites en-route
I love to get a tee shirt from every country I visit, and also collect ball markers from golf clubs. Alas, southern Italy and Croatia are golfing deserts, thus far no ball makers from either and last chance was just beside the border when we visited the last of the three courses in Croatia. No they did not do ball markers but they did have a lovely golf shirt with 50% discount and in my size. So with my half-price shirt packed away, we set about spending our last 24 Kunas. The golf club wanted 34 Kunas for 2 coffees, so we ended up driving over 10 kilometres back into Croatia to find a lovely coffee shop that only cost 20 for the two, so with our caffeine fix and all our local currency gone, it was back to the land of the Euro and Slovenia!
The view from NiKi, our Elddis Encore motorhome
NiKi is now parked on a marina overlooking the sea and as I write this the most lovely sunset is to be seen through the window - the joys of motorhome life.
Slovenia does not have much coastline. You can see both Italy and Croatia from the town of Piran, and yes cute is still on the menu. With this picture postcard loveliness, and just a short drive from Italy, the prices here feel steep compared to Croatia, but inland we are told these drop away.
As it is Easter, and we had been eating in a lot, we treated ourselves again to a bank holiday meal at a Lonely Planet recommendation. There was no menu so I asked for the meat dish and Karen the fish. This is what arrived - I seem to have two dinners on my plate!!
Big very big, in fact too big. Perfectly cooked but so big so I take another doggy bag back to the motorhome!
And on to Slovenia
Piran: Tartini Square from the air!
Karen strolls in Tartini Square
We hope the weather will remain kind to us as we now have less than 7 weeks before we arrive back to the UK and so much more to see and do before then. The route home is up through Slovenia, cut across Austria to Saltzburg, then drift across southern Germany and north through the Black Forest into Luxembourg, through Belgium and home. So lots to do yet!
And for those of you that are curious:
‘Hvala ti i Dovidenja’ means ‘Thank you and Goodbye’ to Croatia and an big ‘Zdravo’ means ‘Hello’ to Slovenia!
Our Route This Week: