Our tenth visit to Rovinj and it continues to surprise us. The beautiful Istrian town has a very long history dating back to pre-Roman times and from the 13th to 18th Century it was governed by the Venetians, their influence obvious in the fabulous architecture of the city. The Balbi Arch built in 1680 and the Renaissance Clock Tower in the main square are remnants of that era. Until 1763 it was an island but the causeway was built and eventually it was linked to the mainland.
Today this small city of 14000 people attracts over three million visitors. Great food, great places to swim, enchanting islands and just a wonderful ambiance, it is easy to see why. Here the novice can expect to take wonderful photos. Wondering aimlessly through the streets presents innumerable opportunities.
We realised when we checked the car rental agreement that returning the car to the ‘downtown office’ was not really downtown at all and while 1.6 kilometres may not be far to walk it is when the temperature is 38 degrees Celsius and you are carrying almost 30kg of luggage. The other issue was carrying the luggage into the old town. While the labyrinthine streets, paved with ancient marble cobble-stones may be exquisitely beautiful in the early morning light or when glazed with rain they are a nightmare when it comes to rolling luggage. Added to that there is very limited car access to the town- taxis, locals and specifically designed electric commercial vehicles only. A taxi was the solution. We were taken to within a few hundred metres of the Villa Ivona which of course was in the centre and almost at the top of the hill.
We struggled with our luggage to the apartment which was in the city centre and of course uphill!! Dana, our host met us and went through the check-in process and again we struggled as we heaved our luggage up two flights of narrow stairs. We were really feeling our age. The room was delightful. It was clean, spacious and with a mini kitchenette where we could make ourselves a cup of tea. Ahh the small things!! The ferry to Venice left at seven in the morning. We had booked tickets online and understood we needed to be at the port an hour before departure. Despite serious research and John could not confirm exactly where the departure point was. Even our host was unsure. There were two possibilities, one adjacent to the town square and the other on the other side of the isthmus. We had to be sure. We would not make the ferry if we chose the wrong one. There was no office at either jetty. eventually we found an agent who could confirm which. Any why was it so important for us to be there one hour before? Well we had to be processed! Now that was interesting. Our online ticked checked, luggage tagged and boarding cards similar to credit cards were issued. We proceeded to board. Suddenly the ticket official ran up and asked for our boarding cards which she scanned and then kept. What?? What was the point of issuing them at all? Very mysterious!