Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Croatia, nude beach, & 3.5 hour traffic jam

 June 8th - 9th we drove to Rovinj, (ro-veen) Croatia. We both really liked this country! The people were very friendly, the weather was great, the food was tasty, the towns were charming, and the coast line was rocky.

On our way to Rovinj we stopped in the small town of Groznjan. Because this part of Croatia is so close to Italy, each town is also written in Italian. Grisignana is the Italian name.

This little town is an artist's haven. It is full of small art galleries, locally made jewelry, and pottery. 

A small cemetery with a pretty view.

The entire town had streets made of large stones.  

This little town was full of cute windows, curvy streets, and old archways.

On our way from Groznjan to Rovinj our GPS took us down this dirt road. Lucky for me it was a dirt road therefore Taylor was forced to drive slow.        

  Curvy roads + Taylor driving + Me in the car = Argument   :)

We arrived in Rovinj that afternoon and set out to explore the town. This part of the town was once an island, but in the 18th century they filled in the channel that separated it from the mainland. 

The pedestrian only streets in the Old Town are narrow and winding, lined with sea-salt polished cobblestone.

This is Grisia, one of Rovinj's main streets. It is steep and cobbled and runs from the main square to St. Euphemia Church. 

The church was dedicated to Rovinj's co-patron Saint Euphemia. Her stone sarcophogas randomly washed up on their shores after it disappeared from Constantinoble in A.D. 800.

An old pill box we discovered on our walk.

Bubba Gump's  Shrimpin boat??

We happened upon this public pool that had an empty ping pong table just waiting for someone to play on it. Taylor challenged me to a game and it was on! After a miraculous come-back I won! Oh the sweet taste of victory! Especially over Taylor Merritt! :)

Both nights that we were there we went to this little bar that was right on the coastline to watch the sun set. They had little pillow cushions you could take and sit on the rocks wherever you wanted. 

The 2nd day we were in Rovinj we decided to rent road bikes and explore the area on wheels. We were mostly on dirt roads and in the back country. 

We stumbled upon this outdoor restaurant for lunch. The food was so good! (pictures are below) 

After lunch I discovered that I had a flat tire. While I waited for the guy to come and bring me a new tire, Taylor went and did some "reconnaissance" as to where we were going to go next. Because we like to make things difficult, we did the bike trail backwards. Therefore we had to use a compass, identify major landforms and terrain association, read an elevation map, and use Taylor's directional sense to go the correct way.                  

I'm not sure where his directional sense was when he let me through this NUDE BEACH!!! 

This was our first European nude beach experience! It was a little exciting and a little scary. We saw probably 6 people that were totally naked. They were all over the age of 65. Some were lying on the small beach and a few were in the water. I did have to slow my bike down so as not to hit an old naked man walking across the bike bath. It was quite humorous. What was interesting was that there were families and other people there on that beach that had full bathing suits on. In my opinion, if I were to go and 'participate' at a nude beach, I think nakedness should be obligatory. It is either all or nothing. What do you think?

We road to the Zlatni Rt-Punta Corrente Nature Park which has hiking paths and some pretty coast line. 

Most of the coast line is rocky, but we found some small areas where we could put our towels and enjoy the water for awhile.

There were many rock climbers in the park. 

The food in Croatia was sooo good. There is a lot of Italian influence in this area, but we mainly ordered sea food or traditional Croatian dishes. 

I'm not sure how traditional these chocolate filled crepes were, but they were served everywhere, and they were awesome!

Cevapcici looks like little sausages, but they are usually a mixture of lamb, beef, and pork skewered and cooked over an open fire. They are so good! They were the most delicious little hamburger-like tasting little sausages ever! 

Gnocchi with goulash. 

Seafood risotto.

Limska Draga Fjord

On our way home we stopped in the town of Porec and walked around for a few hours. 

It should have taken us about 3 hours and 30 minutes to get from Vicenza to Rovinj if we would have driven all the way through. On our way home it took us 6 and a half hours to get home! It was brutal. About 30 minutes after we left Porec we ran into traffic on main highway into Slovenia. It was insane. People were getting out of their car and walking up and down the highway. We finally were able to get off the highway and started moving a little faster. We think the hold up was that everyone had to go through 2 lanes (yes, only 2 lanes were open) to pay for the use of the road and then about a mile later we had to stop to show our passport at the Slovenia border. We didn't get home till around 9! Overall, this was the only downside to our trip! We loved Croatia and definitely want to go back, we just need to find a different route next time!