Is it not odd how sometimes the unexpected proves a wonderful experience – Krk and the planned – Pula lets you down. Maybe planning is the wrong thing to do in a motorhome. Perhaps you should just go without planning and see what the journey throws up at you.
Nearer to Pula the earth turned a very deep red. Much redder than even the fields of Nottinghamshire. They looked like the sort of fields artists would visit to collect pigments for their painting such was the intensity of the colour. Town roadworks in the middle of Pula fooled TomTom and we found ourselves down the harbour area, traversing narrower streets than we would have liked . We felt as if we were going round in circles trying to avoid parked cars, imagining we were going the wrong way and avoiding low overhanging trees.. Camping Stoja another ACSI site was going to be our destination but at times we felt like turning round and heading back to the tranquillity of Krk.
We did eventually arrive and booked in using our ACSI card. We were directed to the poorer plots on the site. The best being reserved for paying guests and
not ACSI card users. Having said that you could just about see the sea and the plot was flat although slightly boring. It was a busier site than Krk with much coming and going and filled with the usual Germans and Dutch. Not much sign of Brit in sight. It didn’t feel like a site that you would want to spend much time in. Stubby trees divided the plots which were smaller than those at Krk and were less private.
We had time during the afternoon to waste so decided to catch the local bus into Pula. This stopped outside the campsite and it was an interesting experience trying to buy two tickets for the town at 22 kuna a single journey. I had little idea how to ask for or pay for a return ticket and the bus driver was less enamoured with me offering him 50 kuna. At home no bus driver would have blinked an eyelid being offered a fiver for a fare of £2.20 but here it felt as if I were offered £100 for a £1 fare. Although the reception had suggested you could walk into town it would have taken too long and
we were grateful for the bus to take the strain. The road just went on and on.
When we got off the bus the first thing we saw was the roman arch of Arch of the Sergii which is an ancient Roman triumphal arch situated in the heart of Pula. It commemorates three brothers of the Sergii familyand was built around 27BC. This was quite impressive and we felt a good introduction for what was to come. Brass bands were playing in the square and crowds were sitting listening to them. Some people were eating a stew made with beans served on paper plates from a stall that looked like a cross between a soup kitchen and an outdoor barbeque. Once inside the streets looked a touch dingy filled with tourist tat shops. The leather bags and the fancy scarves were very nice but the rest not worth even looking at. Very disappointing. Eventually the streets opened out into a large sunny square where I was able to get a street map from the tourist information office. On the square was the impressive town hall and the temple of Augustus. This was well preserved and built sometime between 2
Flag on the venetian fort
BC and It was very similar to Maison Carre in Nimes by all accounts. The square was full of young people. The temple housed a small museum which we did not visit.
Our main objective was to see the Arena and find the venetian fort above the city. The area was easily found after a long walk down more dingy streets. It was elegant and a lot higher than Verona . Having seen the Coliseum, the arena at Arles, the one at Verona I found it hard to say which was the most attractive or interesting. I suppose like being churched out you can become arena’d out at some point and they all look the same. Having said that it was very impressive and was the best preserved monument in Croatia. We sat for a while admiring the workmanship which was fantastic considering it was built between 27BC and 68AD.
The next port of call was the Venetian fort which was quite hard to find. The only idea we had was that it was above the city and only way was up. Another song title thrown in there then! It was being renovated and we walked all round thinking that everywhere we went was being renovated and had scaffolding all round. The fort had the air of neglect about it as we walked through the long uncut grass. There were a few visitors. Apart from us it was mainly couples trying to sell bottles of beer as you walked by - a touch of capitalism or students with teachers discussing the architecture of the fort. It could have been a lovely tourist destination but we felt it needed a bit of TLC and better signage.
Overall Pula did not score highly and we were very disappointed with it. This put us into a quandary. We had intended spending more time here and now wondered why we thought there was so much to do. We wanted to go south to Zadar and on to Trogir. The roads looked good but we were not sure we had the time to travel further down. In the end with hindsight we made the wrong decision. Glenn had always wanted to see Zadar and I had always wanted to go to Trogir after watching an episode of Doctor Who. We should have bitten the bullet and drove south but instead moved north – our next destination was to be Rovinj reputedly a lovely little Venetian outpost in Istria before heading back to Italy and our favourite city Venice. .
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