Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Dalmatian Coast to Slovenia

So.. lets catch you up to speed. We are now in Slovenia. Just. We are just a few kms north of Croatia and a few south of Italy. Slovenia only has 29 kms or so of coastline..but here we are. In Piran. Eastern Europe, so far, isnt quite as eastern as we expected. Really its more like central Europe. Its just as developed (in most senses) as Western Europe, only with a slavic accent. Its ealtively easy to get around (minus super long bus rides) and almost everyone speaks english. Its funny though when people talk about how long it will take to get a distance. For example, Plitvitce National Park was 50km to Karlvac, then another 80km to Rijeka, then 100km to Rovinj. This, as we Canadians know, is not alot of kms. BUT, here that trip took more than 6 hours!! I kept thinking, man, I would NEVER go to the cottage if it took that long to go 300 kms!

So, after Hvar we took a ferry to Split (I think Im allergic. I felt sick as the ferry docked). But then, we were on the road to Zadar, which is the major city in Northern Dalmatia. We stayed there for a night, mostly to break up the bus ride. It was uneventful.

Then we went to Plitvitce National Park, which was BEAUTIFUL! There are 16 lakes all connected by waterfalls.. so you can imagine the beating my camera took! They had walks all around the park, around and behind the waterfalls! Then, the Park had it all worked out so there were free connecting shuttle busses and boats so you could keep walking, or whimp out, and mostly walk all the way through the the nice stuff, then fall onto the bus, exhausted, and they take you back to where you started! I wish I knew how many kms we hiked that day at Plitvitce. It was probably a record or some sort!

We went for a delicious (and kinda expensive) meal at the park restaurant. (One of the many benfits of being employed..we dont have to eat bread and cheese every day!) It was called Lichka Kucha, and it was great! We had local beer (Karlovacko) and then bread came out with some sort of cheese spread. I had a turkey fillet with buttered vegetables, and let me tell you, they were BUTTERED! Jonathan had various side dishes, such as baked potatoes under a bell. They were SO good, but completely coated in oil...which is actually probably why they were so good! They came out with bacon bits (bc everrything here is garnished with meat) and JOnathan even ate around the meat! YAA Jonathan!!

So then it was onto Rovinj (pronounced ro-VEEN), a fishing village on Coratians Istrian peninsula. This area is known for its truffles, and not the chocolate ones I was dissapointed to find out. It was very picturesque. The village looked like it was being pulled out of the sea by the giant church bell tower. The buildings were crumbling and colourful and the alleyways were twisty, narrow and cobblestoned. Every window had shutters! I love shutters! The village actually used to be an island, but they filled it in to make trading easier or something... I have taken more than 1000 pictures this week already! We watched the sun set with a "Favorit" beer...not a favourite.

Today we crossed the border into Slovenia. We actually crossed a border too. Cratians checked our passports on export, then just down the road Slovenians checked them again when we entered. So this is what a land border without a bridge looks like. It was very uneventful. I was all ready. Sunglasses off, earphones out, passports ready, Jonathan smiling pleasntly, sitting at attention as I instructed. And... nothing. Barley a look, let alone a stamp. He didnt even look at Jons passport, which was under mine.

Piran is cute and small. It is all crowded onto a pennisula jutting out into the ocean, We mostly wandered today and then sat on a big rock on the pebbly beach and watched jellyfish try to float against the waves and not get washed up onto the beach. One was not so lucy and got stuck between some rocks right near the shore. It was the first time in 5 years that Jonathan hasnt run to the aid of a helpless, needy animal, and it was mostly bc I had him bound and gagged beside me. In hind sight though, I should have let him save the jellyfish. Now THAT would have made for an interesting story!

Tomorrow: Lake Bled


Laura said...

jon- congratulations on eating around the bacon! next step: eating the bacon itself...

Anonymous said...

It's good to see another post and to know things are working out ok.
Hope you will be able to post some pictures soon. Take care
Dad M

risamay said...

Found your blog at random whilst searching for information on Piran. I'm planning a trip there. Glad to read your account. Also hoping to get to Rovinj. My friends and I might rent a car for precisely the reason you mention: it takes forever to cover short-ish distances by bus! Anyway, glad that you enjoyed both Piran and Rovinj. I'm looking forward to my first visits there, next spring. Cheers and happy travels!