travel | rovinj

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Our destination on Friday after stopping in Buje, was the beautiful Istrian coastal town of Rovinj. I can’t believe it has taken us so long to go because it is absolutely gorgeous. Helped of course by the spring sunshine and some good company.

The city is lovely to wander around along it’s cobbled streets (which are warn smooth and actually rather slippy – I wouldn’t want to be dealing with them in the rain). There are plenty of art galleries and shops with things marketed at the tourists, ranging from standard tatt to things with a bit more quality. There are also a few vintage shops which I browsed around in longingly. I was tempted to pick up a beach basket but avoided the urge and just got some postcards instead.

For lunch we headed away from the touristy restaurants along the harbour and into the alleys on the hill. We found the perfect spot in a little courtyard where the sun was shining, Restoran Santa Croce. Highly recommended if you find yourself in this part of the woods. There weren’t any other diners, but we arrived for a late lunch. Despite holding the staff up, they were very friendly and helpful and changed dishes to make them vegetarian friendly.

I look forward to heading back in the summer maybe and lounging in the sea, enjoying a drink on one of the bars that are situated on a rocky seaside area. Dreamy!

on a hill in croatia

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Somewhere in Croatia there is a little hill town village which is the perfect place to stop on your road trip for a quick coffee.

Here there are women who talk to the people they know who pass under their windows, there are picturesque church yards which have tomb-stones that honour donne forti (strong women) and locked church doors that you can peak through the keyhole and see a beautiful pieta.

If you find yourself in Istria you might want to stop in Buje. It is a nice diversion.

an unplanned kind of surrealist photo

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I took this photo yesterday while in Rovinj, Croatia. It seemed to me to be almost surrealist, like a Dali painting. The cloud makes it but the repetition of the stairs, the separation from the background, the lines, the colours.

What do you think?

Also I think I may be getting my photo mojo back. It just requires getting out and taking some pictures in a beautiful place with the sun shining, sometimes.

travel | 24 hours in zagreb

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Zagreb was on our list of places to see as it is only a three hour drive away but without knowing too much about it, it wasn’t too high on our agenda until a friend said they were driving there for a night.

So we booked an airbnb*, packed a bag and hopped in the car two days later.

I love travelling to a place without having expectations of it. It is definitely different to the other places we have been in Croatia but that is unsurprising since we have mostly visited coastal areas. Without having ever been to Berlin I kind of feel like they might be similar. It has a designy, cool-things-are-happening-here kind of vibe with a lot of restaurants and apparently the more museums per square foot than any other city in the world.

As we only had 24 hours in the city we went ‘full tourist’ and did lots of walking around, passed lots of green spaces, spent some time watching the market happenings, watching old people queue for the busses to the cemetery (as it was the day of the dead), went up a hill, saw some old churches and visited several design shops as well as the Museum of Broken Relationships (which now tours but started in Zagreb). I really loved this original concept for a museum and it was really beautifully done. If it does a tour of your town you should head to see it.

Also if you find yourself in town there is an amazing vegetarian restaurant called Nishta. We visited a branch in Dubrovnik and the food was so good I ordered another main to take away which I ate for lunch the next day!

In the end my final thoughts of the city are I don’t think we will hurry back on our own steam but if a friend is heading that way again I would love to visit more of the museums and get a back back I was eyeing out but can’t find online.

* definitely recommended for cheap and cheerful with a central location and very helpful host, although earplugs might be warranted as it is on main road.

p.s. I think this title would be an excellent name for a spy novel. Any takers?

read ’em and eat

cherry burek in zagreb

READ ‘EM >>>

Love this from Joy the Baker on fear of running out of ideas and where the inspiration comes from: “There is creativity and learning in simply trying to figure it out everyday”

I absolutely love these literally painted flowers from Georgie St Claire.

This post just made me smile.

Some interesting tips on product photography.

This is the reason I want these shoes in my life (cheetah and leopard are kind of the same right?).

How to tell a confident blogger

EAT >>>

We spent a night in Zagreb on Thursday. We ate probably one too many burek (a traditional pastry) but we really enjoyed these cherry ones for breakfast on Friday morning. They are perfect to grab from a bakery for about €1 and enjoy in a lovely square.

What is your favourite breakfast ‘street food’ (ie food you eat on the street as opposed to bought on the street)?

travel | pula, croatia and comparison while travelling

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As humans I guess we need comparison. So often Tim and I will say to each other how somewhere reminds us of Cape Town or how the pizza isn’t as good as in Naples. Particularly when we travel we compare places to other places we have been and lived. There is even a scale of comparison: Would we go there again? Would we live there?

And so I must compare Pula to Trieste, the city I now live in. This is done on the basis that although we spent three nights in the city I promptly got sick and therefore only really experienced a few hours of it.

In some ways they have a similar history. They are both part of the Istrian Peninsula, Trieste forming the northern reach and Pula the southern tip. They were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Trieste its commercial harbour and Pula its military port, but had a large percentage of Italian speaking residents. After WWII Trieste (eventually) became part of Italy and Pula became part of Yugoslavia and then Croatia in 1991.

From my brief experience, Pula seems like Trieste’s slightly homelier and poorer relative. The buildings are a little more warn, the port is not as pomp and regal looking, the residential waste collection bins are more sporadic. But having realised this Pula got smart about attracting suitors and has built an excellent tourism industry for herself whereas Trieste seems to have sat down for apertivos to watch life amble along. I am sure that doesn’t seem very flattering to either city but I mean no offence.

Pula’s tourism office is definitely on the ball and the city is definitely a lot more lively than Trieste. When we walked around one evening after going to the very well maintained arena to watch a ‘gladiator fight’ the city was packed with people, the restaurants were busy and shops were open until about 11pm. In Trieste shops seem to be closed more than they are open. Honestly I think Trieste caters very well to its residents and it is a lovely city to live in but it could learn a little about tapping into it’s potential as a tourist destination.

I know I missed out on seeing a lot of things that Pula has to offer while I lay on the couch. My friends certainly seemed to have had grand adventures by bike around some beautiful coastline and had sightings of the world’s rarest mammal (they were beach companions of a monk seal for half a day). Next time I visit I trust I will get to experience more of that.

If you enjoyed this you might be interested in reading about more of my travels in Croatia and discover more about my local town, Trieste.