Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Croatia-Istria-Rovinj!


Just when I thought life living in Europe with Jaap couldn't get any better, we explore Croatia together. I have been feeling extremely grateful and blessed to be living this life with Jaap. So many beautiful adventures and discoveries that we have had together remind me why I love living in Europe. (This is not only limited to our various vacations and travels, but all the fun adventures and challenges we share together as well).
What an incredible vacation. We just returned from our Croatian holiday where we spent 12 days exploring this beautiful country on the Adriatic. From north to south, we traveled from coastal Istria, to Plitvice Lakes National Park, to urban Split, and along the Dalmatian coast to historic Dubrovnik. What an adventure and amazing memories we made. Lots of sunshine, hot weather, good wine, nice Croatian people, swimming, historic sites, and relaxation. It was a very special trip.
My favorite European travel guru, Rick Steves, recommends Rovinj as a stop in the northern part of Croatia, Istria. Since Rick never lets us down, this is where are journey begins.

Jaap and I decided to have our honeymoon before the wedding. I have always wanted to go to Croatia and since we're getting married in October, a summer holiday to Croatia was planned. Rovinj was the perfect place for us to start this Croatian adventure and romantic getaway.Visiting Rovinj was like finding "little Venice". Italian-esque food & dialect, houses built on water, hot weather, and churches that resemble the bell tower on St. Mark's Square. It's a small town in the Istrian region, very close to Italy. It's quaint, not luxurious, and very romantic.
We spent two fun days exploring Rovinj. Climbed the bell tower at St. Euphemia, strolled down tiny alleyways, rented bikes, and went swimming in the Adriatric. It was a packed two days, but Rovinj is small enough to see everything. We visited the local market full of fresh fruit & vegetables, olive oil, truffles (a local speciality), lavender, and honey (another Croatian speciality). Such delicious aromas. Our simple snack of peaches from the market were the best I have ever eaten.
St. Euphemia
Views from the top of the bell tower at St. Euphemia
Local market
We rewarded ourselves with a nice swim at the beach after a day of sight seeing in the hot sun. Summers are hot here, but the clear blue water of the Adriatic is so inviting and it makes up for the hot weather. In true Dutch fashion, we rented bikes and to rode to the beach. The perfect way to cool down and the perfect opportunity to start my summer book.
Our evenings were spent eating delicious seafood (well...pizza for Jaap), watching the sunset, and enjoying each other's company. We ate at the same restaurant twice because we  liked it so much. Picturesque views of a Rovinj sunset, delicious wine, and affordable prices. The place is called Maestral. If you're ever in Rovinj, go there!

I'm a wine person. I love white wine, always my drink of choice. I fell in love in Istrian wine that's made locally called malvazija. It's light, fruity, and perfect for summer. This particular one was bubbly too. :) I love these action shots of Jaap pouring the wine with the setting sun.
Pouring...
...bubbles!
Sunset view from the restaurant
Valentino Champagne & Cocktail Bar
Both nights we ended our evening with one drink at Valentino Champagne & Cocktail Bar. This is a must-see place in a Rovinj. A classy cocktail bar literally built on the sea. Most of the seating is on the rocks. Everyone gets a cushion, a little rocky spot, and an expensive cocktail menu. Another magic moment with Jaap. I've never seen or experienced anything like this. It was such a unique experience. I enjoyed my cosmopolitan and it almost felt like home with really expensive NYC prices!
Our last night in Rovinj. :( A beautiful sunset and a nice summer breeze. Rovinj is a beautiful place. I'm happy we included a stop in Istria as part of vacation. But...onto other exciting places in Croatia!

2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful place you captured! Gorgeous images of a beautiful place and memorable vacation.

    My parents spent a couple of holidays on an island along the Dalmatian Coast, they loved the place. I have not been there yet.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Merisi!

      Croatia is a beautiful country. I can understand why people travel their regularly. It will not be the last time we go there!

      Elena

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