Croatia Day 5: Pula, Rovinj

… Continued from Croatia Day 4: Plitvice Lakes

Refreshed after our hike through the Plitvice National Park, we travelled north-west towards the beautiful Peninsula of Istria, or Istra.

Highlights

  • The road-trip. It was such an enjoyable drive! As we drove out of the Park area, we hit some smaller scenic routes for a while before we came upon the highway. The highways were in excellent shape and traffic was low, so we covered around 250 km in about 3 hours, stopping for coffee and cake on the way. There were several tolls to be paid, but hey, the infrastructure deserved it alright. The views were again splendid, greenery everywhere and mountains on the horizon, it was so soothing to the eyes. The sun and clouds played around, making a pleasant game out of light and shadow.
  • Pula is the largest city on the Istria Peninsula, located practically at its tip, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The town has much to offer, from a bustling harbour, to an old town, to local wineries. But the reason why we were in Pula, was the arena, constructed between 27 BC and 68 AD. Mr.A and I love all things Rome! So when we found out that Pula has a well-preserved Roman arena to offer, we just had to add it to our itirenary 🙂 This is an awe-inspiring structure, the only remaining Roman amphitheater where all four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders have survived through the aeons. We sat there imagining how it must have been in back in the day… one of the many moments I have said to myself, oh how I wish I could go back in history and see for myself…
  • Rovinj is yet another pretty coastal town on the Adriatic, about a 40-min drive along the highway to the north of Pula. It is a fishing port as is obvious by many a boat docked at the harbour. We had the perfect lunch of xxx and lazily strolled around the town. The cobbled streets jumble into one another, offering views of rows of colourful houses, tastefully planted window boxes, glimpses of the blue sea in between, and oozing a relaxed charm all the way. This could be the ideal place to unwind oneself, which is why it serves as a popular tourist town and a stop for long-distance bike teams. We ended our tour with yummy ice-creams which appeared to be another popular ‘activity’ here 😉

Followed by Croatia Day 6: Motovun, Hum…

Travel checklist : 2015

The new year brings forth reflections & plans. Here is my travel checklist for last year & I’ll soon post about my plans for 2016 🙂

Öland, Sweden : Last spring, Mr.A & I went on a fantastic road trip with some friends to the island of Öland in the south-west of Sweden. Sometimes one enjoys the journey more than the destination. But in this case, we loved both equally. We rented a van so we could all be in the same vehicle. It made the trip more fun, we went along singing songs and playing games. The island itself, including our quaint little cottage was super cozy & cute. We drove around the sights most of the time but also rented bikes one afternoon. It was great timing too, since spring was just creeping up and everything felt bright & cheerful.

Faro, Portugal : We were simply ecstatic to be part of a beautiful destination wedding in Faro. A Lebanese friend got married to his lovely Jamaican bride. We had been to Lisbon & Porto in December the year before and we jumped at the opportunity to visit Portugal once more. I’ve posted pictures from Faro at least thrice on Sunny District! It was a fantastic event with dinner at a seaside restaurant, touching speeches, setting of sky lanterns to with the newly weds, and then a crazy night of partying hard & dancing harder! Mr.A and I hung out for a few more days and went around Portugal’s heavenly Algarve region which boasts of serene beaches spotted with marshlands and islands. We took a boat ride to see the famous desert island, Ilha Deserta, and walked around the perimeter. On another boat trip we visited the Benagil Sea Cave. This cave is often included in lists of natural wonders around the world. The sea flows right into the cave and the high ceiling even lets boats drive in during low tide. What a perfect way to end the ride!

Cinque Terrre, Lucca & Florence, Italy : In the summer my sister & her husband visited us from India, and being the history buffs that those two are, they had to visit the must-dos for all lovers of history, Rome and Florence. Mr.A and I had been to Rome before, but we joined them on the rest of the vacation travelling through Tuscany. We started with Lucca, a medieval town known to have retained its medieval city wall. We rented bikes over the wall and visited several old structures. We rented the prettiest apartment ever, it was so old and artistically done up, we fell so in love with it, we didn’t want to leave! Then we headed to Cinque Terre, that stunning cluster of towns along the Italian Riviera. Oh so beautiful! Sea, breeze, sun, food and wine, all of it was to die for. Next stop was Florence, which was another awesome place where we learnt an enormous amount about the Renaissance history, art & culture.

Gothenburg, Sweden : Sweden’s second biggest city after Stockholm is Gothenburg, or Göteborg in Swedish. This was a work trip but the office & hotel were quite centrally located and add to it the long summer days, I had enough time to check out the main sights. My colleague said  let’s do the Paddan, the quintessential guided tour of Gothenburg by boat. Best suggestion ever. The guide on board had a funny commentary about the history of the city & the monuments or buildings that we passed. The boat glides under many bridges along the tour, some of them so low during a high tide that we had to duck our heads by getting off our seats and crouching on the floor! Definitely a ride to remember 🙂

French Riviera, France : We took off on Mr.A’s birthday again. Seems to be becoming a tradition, this November getaway of ours, but I’m not one to complain! French Riviera. We hired a car and saw some lovely places along the way… Nice, Monaco, Cannes, Eze, Antibes, St. Paul de Vence, Grasse… all so charming… promenades along the sea, villages in the hills, artisans’ workshops, painters’ ateliers, racing circuits, perfumeries… we could have stayed on forever.

A wonderful year indeed! Do tell me how yours went.

Remember Rome?

Dear Mr.A,

Remember our trip to Rome two years ago? We celebrated our second anniversary & what a perfectly memorable trip that was. Those awe-inspiring sights, long strolls on cobbled streets, that pretty little bed-and-breakfast, fantastic food… everything! Today we just doubled that number, isn’t it hard to grasp how time simply flies? Here’s wishing you a Happy 4th Anniversary, my love.  You are by far the best thing that ever could have happened to me.

Forever yours,

B.

P.S. Feel free to click on the images for a larger view.