Published: June 27th 2010June 25th 2010
Friday, 25 June 2010
Km so far: 3619
Stayed in Rovinj until 1:30 and decided it is one of our favourite places. The sea front is lined with buildings all painted in different pastel shades, and the fishing boats that I’d watched leaving harbour at around 5:15 came back in with their various catches. The other striking thing about Rovnj is that it feels Italian, and both the Italian and Croatian languages seem to be used about equally.
Unexpectedly there was a Dixie-style marching brass band performing in the square as we were having breakfast outside the hotel, complete with drum majorettes.
Climbed through the narrow cobbled streets to the church which dominates the town. Wonderful views of the whole area, port, town, sea, islands, fantastically clear and sunny. Decided to climb the church bell-tower. We did not count the steps but there were a lot, often quite rickety, a sobering thought to have nothing but an ancient bit of 4 by 2 between you and oblivion. Definitely worth the effort though, and we have the pictures.
Risked life and limb descending down the steep cobbled streets. The cobbles are made of marble and over the years have been polished by millions of feet. Do not wear leather soled footwear in this town!
Finally leaving Croatia, thoroughly impressed with the country, vowing that we will definitely return with the boys. Headed for Trieste. No problems crossing the border into Slovenia, no issues with car insurance, no one asking us to buy a carnet to permit us to drive on Slovenian roads (which we had expected, but we were only transiting through about 15 km or so).
Feeling peckish so pulled off into a side road and as luck would have it immediately came to a pleasant roadside café. The teenage waitress took great pains to explain the entire menu of about 20 dishes to us in pretty good English, but by the time she was half way through we had decided to go for a couple of local specialties, braised pork and medallions of venison. The latter came with cranberry sauce and a sort of large ravioli with sheep cheese inside, delicious, not too heavy, and one of the most outstanding meals of the trip.
Into Italy and the SatNav finally working, now on the autostrada, fast and pretty empty, tolls to be paid but very cheap. The countryside was more or less flat from leaving Istria to entering the Dolomites, and we ran out of motorway about 60 km short of Cortina. Then it was the inevitable slow procession along winding roads amidst spectacular peaks, speed limited by trucks and motorhomes, so there is no point in trying to hurry.
New to this SatNav, we ended up trying to approach the hotel through a pedestrianised shopping precinct, but sorted that out. The hotel was rather miserable, and we were not impressed with Cortina. It may be unfair to judge a place out of season.
Incredible what a difference a 4 hour drive has made, from the Adriatic delights of Rovinj to a damp, grey alpine resort out of season.