Somehow the weather gods were not alerted to the fact that we were coming to Croatia. It’s been absolutely freezing here – well, at least in terms of what you expect when you book a holiday in the sun. Typically temps have been around 16-20C which would be tolerable if it wasn’t for the fact that our apartment seems to have been designed to keep the cold IN. Seriously – we’re turning the stove on for mere warmth. We’ve had two partial days by the pool which have been OK but any thoughts of going in any sort of water or sea have been banished as soon as they, er, surface. So all my lovely warm-weather clothes that I was so looking forward to donning remain unused at the bottom of my suitcase, while the wool pashmina, jeans, pullover and Spring Court sneakers I brought with me from Niceland have had been trotted out every single evening. And I’m totally pining for my lopapeysa – my Icelandic wool sweater. Boo!
On the upside, this hotel has amazing fitness facilities, so although we shall probably return to Iceland pasty and white, we’ll be in excellent shape!
I had no real expectations of Croatia before I arrived and I must say that the first few days I was rather underwhelmed. This country has only recently come out from communist rule so there is not much in the way of a service-oriented society … some people are downright miserable and virtually curse at the prospect of having to wait on you, whereas others are OK and a handful positively lovely. However, Croatia captured my heart completely two days ago when we rented a car and drove into the countryside to explore what is being called ‘The new Tuscany’ … the small villages and vinyards of the Istrian peninsula, on which we are staying. We visited one village – Groznija – that is without question the most lovely little town I have ever visited … and another called Motovun, which sits high atop a hill and has amazing charm. We visited wine purveyors and tasted Grappa and wines and it was all so rustic and lovely. Croatia is like what I imagine southern Europe was a couple of decades ago and which I still experienced somewhat in Portugal. Rustic, simple and easygoing – although pretty suspicous of the influx of tourists.
Porec, meanwhile, where we are staying, is also gorgeous … it’s ancient, the old town literally 2,000 years old and the streets are all paved with marble stones that have been polished to a high gloss by the millions of feet that have walked on them throughout the centuries. There’s a definite Italian slant to the food and everything else here [although sadly not the fashion] … lots of pasta and pizza, which are very good. Wonderful olive oil, good local wines and the pride of Istria – truffles [which we have yet to taste]. Last night we had dinner in the Pizzeria Dali [for those of you familiar with Porec] – sat at the end of a long rustic table and were soon joined by a large group of tourists, who turned out to be Norwegians. Long story short, it turned into an impromptu dinner party and was loads of fun.
That’s the very brief rundown – up next week, a day trip to Venice. More anon!