Today we took a ride up the coast to Rovinj/Rovigne. It’s a nice little coastal fishing town around a harbour with an older town on a promontory. Offshore a few islands really add to the picturesqueness of the town. We took a walk around the harbour filled with boats and surrounded by brightly coloured buildings. On the hill overlooking the port the multicoloured buildings of the old town really create a scenic backdrop for the whole picture. The old part of town is like the walled towns of Spain and medinas of Morocco. The cobbled streets are all narrow and most are pretty steep. It’s a great little town with cobbled streets winding up the hill to the Church which sits at the very top.
The current of Church of St. Euphemia, is a bit of a mixture of architecture. A tower from the 1600’s, the central section built over the existing churches in 1736, and the facade from the 1800’s. The church is dedicated to St. Euphemia, a statue of whom sits atop the tower as a weather vane. In a chapel inside the church a roman sarcophagus contains the remains of St. Euphemia,which were saved from destruction at another church. Inside the church there’s various statues of saints in chapels including a life sized statue of Mother Theresa. (A little weird). We unfortunately arrived between two Viking tours. The conduct of the groups was pretty disgraceful. On the entry door signs were the usual signs prohibiting cameras, phones, hats and requesting silence. Of course the two groups broke all the rules while locals tried to pray in peace. It’s pretty hard to get a feel for a church when someone’s chatting away on a phone.
Walking around the old town it was interesting to see how people have adapted to the environment. Washing lines strung between buildings to catch the sun, motor scooters as transport through the narrow alleys, and window boxes of flowers to soften the harshness of bricks and mortar landscape. Even the builders were using tiny trailers and hoistable wheel barrows.
Around the fishing boat harbour was the perfect place to catch the sun and enjoy the views. We had lunch in one of the bigger restaurants, Michele had seafood risotto, which after a great seafood meal in Pula was a bit disappointing. I stuck with the old favourite, mixed meat platter. I think it’s Croatia’s national dish. The one thing which is annoying about Croatian restaurants is the smoking. It’s pretty hard to enjoy a meal when you’ve got a dozen olympic smokers sitting around you. It seems everyone smokes in Croatia. Inside, outside and even when they have separate smoking sections there’s usually no walls to stop the non smoking section from being covered in thick smoke. There’s no escape. One thing about Rovinj, is there’s lots of great looking restaurants and there’s cafe’s in abundance in the piazzas which surround the harbour. Rovinj harbour really is the perfect location to soak up the winter sun with the hills and buildings providing shelter from the cool winter breeze.
The ride back to Pula took us through a few nice little villages. It’s quite obvious that this part of Croatia must really pump during the summer season.
Our second visit to Rovinj was quite unexpected but a wonderful experience. Michele had been following bloggers Frank and Vera from Frank About Croatia and another blogging couple, Victoria and Darren from Little Donkey Travels were also in the area so Frank and Vera suggested we all catch up at the Kantinon Tavern. A lunch catch up stretched out to the evening at a fabulous restaurant where we were served platters of various local seafoods and meats.
Followed by an amazing selection for desert. The meal was excellent, and an excellent suggestion by our waiter. The taverna style restaurant overlooking the harbour was the perfect location for a catch up with friends and we highly recommend it.