Last Days in Croatia, and into Venice

We decided to hire a boat and sail around the little islands we can see from the coast and swim in places that aren’t full of other tourists. Family remembered our holiday in Malta, where they composed a song entitled “A Speedboat Driven by an Accountant”, so Husband decided to hire a boat with a skipper.

Had a brilliant day. The skipper (I never asked his name – isn’t that terrible) was a sports teacher during term time, and he kindly took us on a little tour. He told us that his grandfather has lived in the same small village his whole life, and has lived in six different countries : Austro-Hungary, Italy, Germany (under occupation), AngloAmerican, Yugoslavia and now Croatia. That is weird.

We stopped to swim a couple of times. All the water seems to be full of the ‘walnut sea jelly’ – a clear non-stinging jellyfish, but you get used to them after a while. The water is beautifully clear, and fish flash away as you swim. People who can dive (not me) dived from the side of the boat, and the skipper drove with enough speed for Husband’s hat to fly off (which was very funny. I never liked that hat.)

I felt inspired to write a short story when we got back (though not sure if this counts as ‘work’ – which I always give Husband a hard time about when we’re on holiday.)

 We spent the afternoon lazing around, then walked into Rovinj for espressos and ice creams. We looked around the market, and I saw lots of wonderful things to buy that I would never be able to transport home. I bought some lavender cushions – one for me, one for Mum. Not actually sure how I’ll transport them either, as my case was full to bursting on the way here.

Dinner at Tipico, Old Town again.

Last Day

The last day of a holiday is always a bit sad. Family hired kayaks.

Ate dinner at Tutto Bene (ViaE de Amicis 16). They don’t have vegetarian options on the menu, but will cook them if you ask. Lovely table outside, friendly waiter, nice food. Though I was too warm to properly enjoy it (I think my seat was next to the kitchen window.)

We packed. Early start tomorrow to try and avoid delays at the border.

Drive to Venice

We left Lone Hotel at 5am. The night manager looked nothing like Tom Hiddleston (shame) but he did give us all a packed lunch, as we would be missing breakfast. Isn’t that nice? I’ve never been offered that before when we’ve had to check-out early. It has been a really good hotel, with lots going on and good facilities.

The border crossing was fine, no queues at all (unlike the 4 hour ones we saw later in the day when arriving.)

We drove to Italy and stopped at a service station. Not a good experience. We arrived the same time as several coaches, so the lines were horrendous.

Arrived at The Marriot Hotel, Venice about 9:30 am. The hotel is fairly near the airport (you could walk there if you don’t mind the heat) and there’s a bus into the city – €3 return ticket.

Venice is beautiful, you have to visit. So much to see and photograph. It was also horribly crowded. We stayed here about 10 years ago, and I don’t remember it being crowded at all (except for St Mark’s Square, which is always busy.) Not sure if we were just unlucky, or if the number of tourists has become a problem. It was possible to find alleyways that were less busy, but they were a long way from the main attractions. I will leave you with some photos – all you need to do in Venice is take photos and find a pretty cafe for lunch. Oh, and buy a mask of course…..

Thank you for reading. It has been a fabulous holiday, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it. Always a shame to go back to real life, especially as the family all go back to their own homes and jobs.

Take care,
Love, Anne x

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You can read the story I wrote after the boat trip here:
https://anneethompson.com/short-stories/other-stories/rainbows-in-the-spray-a-story-written-in-croatia/

Croatian Holiday Diary Continued…

Family holiday in Lone Hotel, Rovinj, continues at a relaxed pace. Each morning Husband greets the girl at the desk with a new phrase he has learnt in Croatian. She has real fear in her eyes when she sees us approach, but he feels he is making progress and learning the local language – despite no one understanding him. Ever. The best word to learn is thank you – which sounds like “Farla”. Today the girl at the desk replied, and said something which sounds like “Ooga dan dan” We think it means: “Have a nice day.” Husband plans to practise on various shop assistants.

 Last few nights we have eaten at Tipico Old Town, a cosy restaurant with an open kitchen, so we can watch them cook while we eat. They offer a couple of vegetarian options (and I recommend the stuffed courgettes!)

 

 

 

 

We hired bikes and cycled along the coast. There’s a gravel path, so it was hard going in places, but the views are fabulous. Lots of coves with local people swimming, and the cliff tops are a huge park, with trees and paths. There are climbers on the cliffs, boats on the sea, tiny islands, sunshine, pine trees…..lovely.

Drove to Restaurant Maslima for lunch. Sat under olive trees. Lots of mosquitoes in Croatia, so bring repellent. The pizzas were huge – I had a ‘mini’ one, which was normal sized, the others had ‘normal’ ones which were very large, and J chose a ‘jumbo’ one, which was the size of a table.

Menu also offered some nice looking drinks. Some were lavender flavoured – there are lots of lavender products here.  I chose a lemon and ginger one.

The picture in the menu looked lovely, and it was described as being Dalmatian lemon juice with fresh ginger……

 

What actually arrived was a glass of tap water and a sachet of flavoured syrup. Disappointing…

Decided to walk to a bay to swim. We walked a long way (all the bays were quite crowded). Found a nice empty spot and settled onto the rocks, then noticed the sea was FULL of jellyfish. Tiny transparent globs of jelly. Didn’t swim, went back to hotel pool.

I later learned these jellyfish are also called “walnut sea jellies”. They are native to America, and often transported via ship ballast. They reproduce rapidly, and cause huge problems to ecosystems as they eat plankton, which upsets the food chain for bigger fish. Big problem for fishing based industries. However, they do not sting, so later we swam quite happily in water infested with them. It’s a little odd swimming with jelly, but not harmful.

Had a day in Pula. Huge Roman amphitheatre, which is very hot in the midday sun (just thought I’d mention that). There are some interesting chambers underground, where you can imagine the prisoners and animals being kept. There were also lots of pots. Not sure why lots of pots are interesting, but they seem to be a feature of Roman monuments.

Husband wears a hat we are all very rude about. Pula had a whole family, all dressed the same, all wearing same hats. Perhaps they get lost a lot and it makes it easy to identify them. We sent husband over to join them.

Pula also has Hercules Arch, which I was keen to see. Family led me to a variety of arches. The one I think actually IS Hercules Arch appears to be incorporated into a modern apartment complex.


Tried to have coffee and cocktails in a pretty square. Managed to have beers and nasty wine in a mosquito infested alley. Husband wished them “Ooga dan dan,” when we left. They looked confused.

Ate in Sareni Papar restaurant. This was great, if slow. Lovely stuffed peppers, served straight from the oven in a boiling hot baking dish. (Stuffed veg are, apparently, a feature of Croatian food.) Husband said “Ooga dan dan” to friendly waitress. She looked worried. Blokes drank 1L glasses of beer, sang all the way home (surprisingly tuneful) and then happily walked to the wrong hotel. A nice day.

Thanks for reading.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

PS. We later learned ‘Ooga dan dan’ does NOT mean ‘have a nice day’, it means something like ‘on, and on, every day.’ Explains why no one understood Husband, though I guess he gets credit for trying.

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xxx