From West to East on the Istrian Peninsula

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May 8th 2013
Published: May 9th 2013
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Its time to move on from Pula and today we had just a short run around the bottom of the peninsula and up the east coast to near Rijeka.

Iva called around to collect the keys and we thanked her for the great stay and time we had had in her apartment.We have a good half hour chat about everything from the Croatian economy and its prospects under the EU umbrella to how come we were able to be away from work,family and home for so long.She gave us a selection of cakes to take with us as a present for coming to stay.

We are heading for accommodation in a mobile home in what we understand will be a camping ground at Medjeva,a small settlement just short of Lovran.So as we were unsure of what the supermarket opportunities would be in or around our accommodation we decided to head back to Kaufland in Pula to top up the groceries and buy something for dinner tonight.Kaufland has been a good place with a lot of variety to shop and we will seek them out elsewhere on our travels if we get the opportunity.

We wanted to get to the tip of the peninsula or as close as we could so before heading north up the east coast we drove the 8km south of Pula to Medulin,the last town on the peninsula according to the atlas.What a difference this small seaside town was to the commercial/industrial city of Pula.Here there were no socialist type apartment blocks.Rather the houses were all free standing with small sections and a lot of the area had been developed for tourists with medium to large hotels and a very large camping ground that seemed to take up a huge piece of land that jutted out into the Adriatic.

There was a small sandy beach but on both sides of the bay the shoreline down to the sea was mostly rocky or where there was a beach it was made up of pebbles.

We must have looked like we were staying the area as a guy came up to us and tried to sell us a trip to Rovinj by bus.He introduced himself in German and we think he was a bit surprised to find out that we were Kiwis.Perhaps he didn't even know where NZ was?After he missed out on making a sale on us he hit up a couple of Poms and got turned down there too.They were quick enough to say that they had already booked for a trip tomorrow and the next day and then they were returning home to England.After that he seemed to give up and headed off talking to another local perhaps heading home for lunch.

We had a boot lunch enjoying the view out over the bay watching people come and go along the road we were parked off which appeared to head to a number of tourist hotels along the foreshore of the bay.Most of those that walked past us had English accents and like the Germans wearing socks with their sandals,the Poms skin colour was a whiter shade of pale and were seeing the sun for the fist time since the last northern summer.

After lunch we took the SS66 which took us north and east away from the end of the peninsula through unremarkable countryside until we got to Most Rasa.Here the road suddenly and unexpectedly descended off the plateau, which most of the western and south eastern side of the peninsula is,down 300 odd metres to sea level where the road travelled across an area of marshlands.One feature that did stand out though was an enormous quarry where half of a large hillside had been carted away somewhere else.It really was a blot on the lush green landscape.This is not the first quarry of this size we have seen on our journey so far and it is something that would not be allowed we are sure in NZ.

The road rose back to around 300 metres again until we got to Plomin,an ancient Roman hillside village as the road headed for the coast.

Here too was another blot on the landscape but one that is necessary for the economic well being of Croatia.The Plomin power station which generates about 15% of the country's electricity needs is located near the sea below the village.You could see the top of the coal power station's 340 metre chimney for several kilometres away and when it came into full sight it was easy to understand why it is Croatia's tallest structure.There didn't appear to be any natural coal in the area rather the coal was bought in by barge to an inlet near the power station and transported the final couple of kilometres to the power station along a conveyor system.

With Plomin behind us we arrived on the east coast which we would follow all the way to our destination for the day.As the coast came into sight the rain arrived and although it was only light it did obscure the view of the top of the island of Cres a short distance of the mainland.

After a short while the showers cleared and the view of the passing coastline and out to the island was pleasant on the eye making the drive enjoyable.

Before we knew it we arrived at the camp site and were given the keys to our mobile home which would be our accommodation for the night.About half of the large camp was given over to powered sites and the other half for the 70 odd mobile homes or permanent units.

Our mobile home was very well presented with two bedrooms,separate shower/toilet,kitchen/dining area and a lovely large sunny deck with table and chairs.After a quick walk around the camp we came back and sat back and enjoyed a wine on the deck in the sun until it sank behind the steep hillside behind the camp and it was time to make dinner which tonight will include a frozen dish of Croatian origin.The package looked like it's contents would be beef with gravy and while it turned out to be reasonably tasty we would probably give it a miss if we saw it as an option in the freezer at the supermarket again.

We finished a quiet day with a showing of 'Mrs Henderson Presents"as the one thing missing from the mobile home is a TV.Thank goodness for the selection of DVD's we have with us.

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