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Published: August 9th 2019
Plan: get up, go to Pula, park near aquarium, see fish in a fort, have lunch, have a gentle drive to Rovinj, meet a friend for a cuppa, leave, go home via supermarket, brother would arrive, have tea, maybe have a dip in the pool, Seth to bed at 7 and a nice drink on the terrace.
Actual...... Got up and left probably later than intended but hey ho Got to Pula for eleven or so and oh my god. Not only could we not park anywhere near the aquarium (despite there being lots of spaces the men wouldn't let us in) we couldn't park on anything resembling a car park. Eventually we parked slightly up a grassy hill in a wooded area (with all the rest of the world, no one was anywhere else last Monday, they were all in Pula), mercifully near a playground. Seth had a play, we persuaded him to get off, he cried.... We set off on the looooong walk to the aquarium. Seth announced he'd ' done enough walking (after about 3 foot) so i carried him up a hill round a few corners in the blazing sun only for him to announce at the top 'I'm so tired! More walking , more carrying and a couple of km later we were there. Pula aquarium is well worth a visit (in winter) in an old cool fort with passages and pathways and apparently a vegan café. Vegetarianisn and veganism is an alien concept in Croatia so we were really pleased to see the sign. However, as we realised, they may not really get what it involves. When I asked for the vegetarian sandwich option at the cafe I was given a shake off the head and pointed to ham and cheese.....
In the tanks we found dory, clownfish and sea horses, we climbed the stairs to the forts roof and admired the view and headed back on the loooong walk to the car. We left on time and started the 45 minutes drive to Rovinj. At a toll I smelt diesel near the car but didn't think anything of it. At the next one I questioned if it was us. At the car park we stopped in i saw a trail of diesel and a whole tank full leaking from underneath our car. This was not the plan. Ash went into flight mode, I went into fight and Seth was confused. I phoned Green flag on my phone with 10% battery willing it not to die mid chat. Trying to describe our location was made more awkward by he fact that a supermarket we were near had the same name as a naturist camp nearby....
They found us eventually and we settled in a nearby cafe for, in theory 25 minutes, in practice 2 hours. Seth got new toys as a bribe, i panicked about phone battery until the lovely lovely waitress found us a charging plug. And we waited.... And waited... Eventually the recovery truck arrived and, for the second time in croatia (out of three visits I do think that breaking down on 66% of these trip s is perhaps a sign not to go to Croatia!) , I watched my holiday vehicle get winched onto the back of a truck.
We all piled into the recovery truck (fortunately not believing the guy who said it was 'a ten minute walk' back and letting Ash go on his own (only ten minutes if you were walking at Mo Farrah's marathon pace) and waited for rescue in the form of lozz. The garage was closed so we left the car alone outside and found the ice cream parlour with the very worst kids play area (bare metal, not a problem, no padding, pah, who needs it), bribed Seth with yet more toys, and almost cried when our knight in shining vw appeared. On our way back finally to the apartment, 45 minutes away we felt at least cooler and a bit relieved if still annoyed. Then I felt gloom, the house key was in the car, and our friends had gone out. So we had a 30 minute diversion to a handy horror film set. Well, technically to a fish restaurant but the scenery... Well... It wasn't very 'Croatian paradise '
Finally 4 hours after our stranding we were back. Seth had his latest bed time, we sat and rocked a bit and lozz found food. We spent the evening planning what to do if... Assuming that the green flag man's promise of a 'diagnostic tomorrow' would at least give us an idea of how long we'd be 'trapped in Croatia:part 2'.
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