Exploring ancient Pula,Croatia

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May 5th 2013
Published: May 7th 2013
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Gelato flours of the day - GMB - Nutella GLB - ......wait for it....chocolate!

We feel very comfortable in our apartment and we can feel that it is going to be a relaxing 4 days here.

Being Sunday we weren't too quick in getting up and as we plan a day around the town of Pula it didn't matter too much.

Iva had told us where the local 'green market' and the supermarket was so we thought we would top up with some local fruit and veges and see if the supermarket had anything we fancied for dinner.

Supposedly the markets were about 300 metres away and they were, except we somehow managed to walk past them and it was only when we were doubling back after going about a kilometre that we found them next to each other.

The green market didn't have anything that we needed,except fresh farm eggs and perhaps we were a bit late to get the best of what the vendors had for sale.As we went to leave, a woman came up to us and jabbered away.We had no idea what she was saying and she wasn't demanding but we think she wanted money.We ignored her and went on into the supermarket.

Whether it was because this supermarket was located amongst numerous socialist style tall apartment blocks and therefore a lower economic area or not,there wasn't anything tasty by way of meat on display in the chiller.Rather, what was there, looked low quality meat in comparison to what we had seen and bought in Italy and we hope that this is not what we can expect in the rest of Croatia or we will be back to frozen meals in the microwave again.We did but some chicken nibbles which looked OK and we will try a few for lunch and if they are OK then we shall have the rest for dinner with all the trimmings of veges including more spring asparagus we bought in Italy yesterday on our way here.

The bakery offered up more for lunch and we bought a couple of pastries and a very large soft bread roll.We have missed soft bread especially for breakfast and we are now hoping that the Croatians make a bread that lasts longer then the stuff we found in Italy.

Like Italy,Sunday in Croatia is a day when the locals stay at home,unless the shine is shining and this morning it didn't.

After lunch(the chicken nibbles turned out OK)we headed downtown to do some exploring and sightseeing of the local monuments of this ancient city.The old city area was even quieter than it was last night when we did our exploratory walk and apart from a few kids and waiters trying to entice us into their restaurants,the only others around were tourists.

First stop was at the Chapel of Maria Formosa built in the 6th century and preserved in a very good state.Unfortunately it is ungoing more renovation and was closed.In front of the chapel are mosaics discovered when 2nd WorldWar bombing revealed them after a house covering them was destroyed.Sometimes good things come from bad times!The area was cordoned off so it was difficult to see what the mosaics actually looked like.All a bit frustrating and we were hoping that the other things we have lined up on the awlk don't turn out to be disappointing.

Next on the walk was the amazing Temple of Augustus built between 2BC and 14AD.It is almost in a complete state and this in itself is quite amazing given that it survived WW 2 bombing when only a short distance away was the house that covered the mosaics.The temple gives an ancient look to the large square, known as the Forum for the Roman remains found in the area, that it is part of where the other buildings are all more modern design.

One unfortunate thing about the downtown area is that you are never far away from the shipbuilding industry that is still part of the city and there was an oil rig ship up on dry dock right behind the temple which meant you had to take photos from a certain angle or get the oil rig ship in your viewfinder which didn't seem appropriate.

The authorities are digging up the waterfront road and in time we guess it will become a very nice waterfront walk although they will have to do something about the dry dock in our opinion.

The cathedral was next on our trail,it has a long name which we won't bother to include,and it dates from the 4th century although much of what you actually see has been added to over the years.The interior wasn't particulary notable although it was interesting to note that many of the columns inside didn't match giving rise to the thought that work done over the years had been done in the styles of the times the work was completed.

Outside local kids were doing what we used to do 50 odd years ago,drawing hopscotch on the ground with chalk and playing .It was a pleasant change to see kids outside playing at 'old'games rather than in front of a computer screen.Even if one older kid did seem to be ruling the roost which bought what appeared to be a telling off from a woman on the second story of a building across from the church.The kid yelled back what sounded like some verbal abuse and the woman gave up closing the window.Perhaps kids are far too cheeky the world over!

Next on the trail would have been the amphitheatre built in the first century but we decided to wait until another day when hopefully the sun will be shining and the photos will look better.

So it was off up the hill just behind the Forum to check out the outside of the fort and a monastery which wasn't open or at least we could not find a way in despite seeing people inside through a window in a door which was locked.

Finally before heading home we went through the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi built also in the first century in the time of Augustus and still in very well maintained condition despite the fact that the public use it as an access way to a shopping precinct.

All of the attractions were in close proximity to each other and you get the feel of just how small the old town area is and appreciate that most of the structures dated back to around the first century or slightly before.

So we had mixed with the locals at the market and walked in the footsteps of the Romans all in one day and tomorrow we will head a little further afield to check out another couple of coastal towns on this Istrian Peninsula.

Additional photos below
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7th May 2013

Flying the flag!
So now the Croatian flag will be hoisted at Sharon Place in honour of your visit there. We did have the Italian one up for a few days but 5-6 weeks did seem a bit long for one flag! Must given our new Vatican flag a dust off too!
8th May 2013

And a colourful one it is too!That will have your neighbours guessing unless of course it has been up recently.Gretchen was thinking of buying a cap in the flag colours but thought twice. Forgot to mention ages ago did check out a number of souviner shops on the day of the Vatican but didn't have any luck.Everything else but a flag on sale.
7th May 2013

Love the photo title - there IS always a cat
What is it about Benvie's on holiday and cats? Pula looks like a cute place! What is the Croatian equivalent of the daily gelato and margherita pizza gonna be? For me, it was the Croatian calamari...scrummy!
8th May 2013

Nope,pizza is now a goneburger.It was 3 small fish and half a dozen sprats.Brent would have been horrified to see us eating such small fish but they were yummy. The Benvies ARE cat people
12th May 2013

What fantastic photos and from what I hear you are around areas that a lot of people love to visit. Grahame I sent you a blog email asking if our Chelsea could borrow some of your quirky stories around places you have been to, it states we need permission and it is for her homework, you right so well about things and great to have factual stuff too - let me know soonest, thanks .
12th May 2013

Thank you for your kind words.Can't say I have seen the email at whiskers@ihug.co.nz But no worries,yes of course she can use whatever she would like in her school studies. If she needs any expansion of what is in the blog she can always email us or contact via the blog page. Off to Bosnia for a couple of days en route to Montenegro.The adventure gets more exciting!
14th May 2013

There IS always a Cat!
What is it with the Benvies....there is always, always a cat! Mind you, at our house it was a dog....or two dogs, but just one I could get my hands on. Luckily the owners got in contact before Cormac made me turn the wee Scottie over to the pound.
14th May 2013

We thought you might like to have two small dogs and Penny would have company
21st May 2013

Cats in Pula
Has Gareth ever visited Pula? Perhaps he could add it to his next motorcycle tour. Sounds like a great place to visit. Should have kept it on our original tour plan.
22nd May 2013

And more cats to come in Montenegro

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