This morning, we were very relieved to leave the ‘top-rated’ campsite near Rovinj. It just wasn’t for us. Granted the washrooms were indeed hotel quality, but some of their quirky touches started to rile. One was the constant piped music in the toilets and shower rooms. I know in Portugal I had raved about this – but they were playing decent 60s and 70s music! This was some strange sort of Croatian hard rock. But the worst crime was that they had fitted a children’s slide /tube down from the washroom level to the playroom below. Great I hear you say – child friendly. Well firstly, there wasn’t a child in sight. Secondly, every time you walked past the top of the slide to get to the toilets, the hard rock music was interrupted by ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen!. Cute, I hear you say. Well after the nth time of hearing it from our pitch, every time anyone went to the loo, it became exceedingly irritated. I am also very cross, because I always used to like that song – but not anymore.
We were too polite to say anything when we checked out, but we definitely wont be going back to that campsite in a hurry. We had a brief stop for morning coffee at a medieval town called Porec, situated above Rovinj. It was indeed very pleasant, and we had a quick wander around, and also stopped to pick up some more camping gas.
Then, it was farewell to Croatia. I have absolutely adored this country, and was sorely tempted just to put down roots and soak up the sea and sun. The people have been without exception polite, friendly and helpful. The campsites have without exception been the highest quality that we have experienced in all the countries we have visited so far, which I must admit, was a bit of a surprise. The roads have been good, and the driving courteous, without all the traumas of Italy. Without doubt, we will return here, maybe even later in the year on our trip, when we head south once more – who knows.
So it was onward to another country. Now did you know that Slovenia has a small section of Adriatic coast, sandwiched between Croatia and Italy? Well I certainly didn’t ! But that’s one of the joys of this trip – my geography is going to be excellent by the time we return.
So we headed the short distance north, along the Istrian Peninsular, and into Slovenia. It was an effortlessly easy border crossing. The Croatian lady just waved us through.,seeing British passports, and the Slovenian lady was way more interested in chatting to her colleague in the neighbouring booth, than to bother with us.
We drove the short distance across the border to the coastal town of Piran. Piran, it turns out, is simply delightful. It has retained it’s medieval shape and architecture, with the classic harbour and ancient walls, but has a definite Venetian influence. Not surprising, since it has swinged from being under the control of the Roman Empire, to the Venetians in 1283, to the Austro-Hungarians, to a monarchy after the first world war, and to being part of former Yugoslavia after the second world war. It’s claim to fame is the birthplace of the famous violinist Guiseppe Tartini, and it is blessed by a number of beautiful churches, the most spectacular of which is the Church of St. George, which sits majestically at the highest part in the town.
We spend two or three hours just wandering around, exploring the place, with brief stops for ice-cream and a cool drink. We are now sat on the veranda of the hotel where we are staying, sadly only for one night. I must confess to have broken my six o’clock rule on the gin, and Howard, beer in hand, has just exclaimed that, ‘This is ghastly – years of work, and I’ve had to resort to this’. So I guess he’s enjoying himself too!
It’s probably been our hottest day to date, and both of us are wilting a bit. We’re certainly the only ones holed up just now in the shade, but we can’t complain. We now need to do some serious planning, because as yet, we haven’t clue where we’ll be this time tomorrow. But that’s one of the joys of this trip. Everywhere is a bit of a surprise. Two days ago, I hadn’t even heard of Piran. Today, I am one of it’s biggest fans.
Ooh! Howard’s Garmin had just beeped to say he wasn’t moved in a while – so gotta go!