Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Istria 2011, Rovinj

It was time for a coffee and a beer and there were plenty of busy harbour side bars to choose from so as we looked for empty spaces Micky reminded me of his theory that if we (the men) made a selection then this would be automatically overruled by Kim who has a curious habit of always walking to the next one perhaps in some sort of belief that it will always be better, or perhaps she just thinks we can’t make a good choice? Micky stopped by an empty table at a perfectly acceptable café and sure enough Kim rejected it and led us instead to the one next door. It was almost identical and the coffee and the beer would be exactly the same so there really was no explanation. Micky smirked!

It was really hot in the midday sun and we sat and watched the harbour activity, the tour groups being led around the town and the children playing in the square. Rovinj was certainly very different to Pula with a chic Italianate ambiance that oozed style and disposable income. Whereas in Pula the tourist part of the city rubs shoulders with the noise and sweat of its industry Rovinj felt exclusively like a pleasure zone for holiday makers, yachtsmen and tourists with no hint of a scruffy industrial area. People in smart clothes parading along the promenade stopping every so often to stop for a sociable drink or to gaze into a shop window with overpriced souvenirs or to buy a couple of scoops of Italian ice cream from the parlours all along the front.

After our refreshment break we walked through the main square and melted into the side streets with the twisting cobbled streets flanked by pastel coloured buildings rising steeply from the pavements with washing lines strung between them and brightly painted shutters on the windows. The route to the top took us a maze of streets until we emerged at the top and in the cathedral square. All but Micky went in for a look around and then we took an alternative path and descended down to the square. On the way we passed a shop selling shell costume jewellery and as Kim examined the necklaces the shop keeper rather sharply said that if we were just looking then we should do it with our eyes not our fingers. We didn’t think this was a very friendly sales technique and if we might have been tempted to purchase something then we certainly wouldn’t be after that.

It was lunch time so we stopped at a water side restaurant advertising a reasonably priced menu of the day so we choose a table ordered some drinks and made our selections. Surprisingly Christine choose fish and I say surprisingly because although she is not so anti-sea food as Sue this was most unusual. And then unsurprisingly she didn’t like it and gave most of it away to Micky in exchange for his meat selection. Over lunch we agreed to take the boat excursion so we phoned Alex and told him that we liked his five for four deal and that we would meet him tomorrow at twelve o’clock.

After lunch we passed from one side of the old town to the other and walked through a market selling local produce and vegetables and then, except for some excitable seagulls, to the quieter side of town, which was less picturesque and home to a large stone monument to Croatian heroes built in the monolithic style much loved by the previous communist regime of Yugoslavia and which looked rather foolishly out of place but very, very permanent.

On the way back to the car the girls stopped for some ice cream and we retraced our steps to the car park. There was no wheel clamp and so we left the delightful town of Rovinj and ignoring the coast road took the direct route back to Fažana.

After a drink at the Konoba Ferral we let the rest of the day just quietly slip away. First we walked south out of the village along a stony beach that arched away in a crescent shape from the village and it was so warm and the sea looked so nice that I went for a paddle in the water but everyone else declined to join me and I have to say that it was a bit cool. Later we enjoyed another spectacular sunset and then being creatures of habit dined once again at the Konoba Ferral and we all enjoyed an excellent second meal where Kim and I shared a special fish plate and Micky, Sue and Christine had beef steak and we all declared our meals to be perfect.

No comments: