Istria- now this place is definitely on the tourist radar. Europeans in their thousands swarm from the north to pay homage to the sun, indulge in incredible food and acquire that remarkable tan to take it home and cover it up. Presumably it’s for personal use.
Our ‘city’ of choice- Rovinj. Rovinj is beautiful. In summer the population swells from 15000 to more than 50000. It handles this with aplomb. Well almost. We did get a park last night and danced around the car park, greeted the unsuccessful with glee and took photos to prove our accomplishment. (Gold!!) It mostly copes with this incredible influx of humanity.
We arrived from Trieste by ferry and needed to lunch. John actually remembered how much he enjoyed his meal at La Puntulina (what the???) and after excruciatingly detailed description and much eye-rolling I remembered too- that is I remember that it was a really nice spot. Just to add to our amazing experience we were greeted on the way up the hill (everything worthwhile seems to involve a hill which twenty years ago would have been –what hill?) by Amelia, who was so lovely and helpful thinking we were looking for our accommodation but when we asked for La Puntulina, exclaimed ‘But I work there! I shall show you.’ We were early but she showed us where we could store our luggage in the restaurant and gave us advice as to how we could acquire the sim card we needed for our phones. We ventured into the main shopping area but failed in our quest. It was Victory Day…a public holiday- obviously not for restaurateurs. Back up the hill and there, seated at a wonderful table overlooking the Adriatic and its activity we partook in a particularly perfect lunch of fabulous seafood. John was in heaven.
Istria must be the headquarters of hedonism and Rovinj is the main event. A holiday inside a holiday. I’ve already read a couple of novels and now becoming a Sudoku master – well not quite. I still have a way to go.
Camping in Rovinj is massive. This is not a quiet barbie by the beach or secluded possie under the shade of a paperbark tree beside a sparkling billabong. This is full on- discos, dishwashers and dining out! There are loads of camping resorts catering for those who want to tent, pull up in their camping car or coax that enormous caravan into that tiny space and set up a five-star resort in situ. We are ensconced in a one bedroom fully self-contained (serviced daily), air-conditioned unit with terrace, just metres from the water. Summer in Europe is serious business.
Last night was the festival of St Lawrence night- hence the parking adventure. Streetlights are turned off and torches and candles illuminate the cafes, bars and squares. There are concerts and buskers, dancers and hawkers selling everything from seashells to glimpses of the moon through an impressive telescope. It is alive with people and promise. Ahhh Rovinj!