at First Sight...
Rovinj at sunset.
At dinner with my sister.
Rovinj at nightfall.
June 23, 2006
I think I have just discovered one of my favorite seaside towns.
Rovinj is most definitely a word that doesn’t sound familiar to most. It is a town on the coast of the Istria region in Croatia. To be
honest, I almost typed that it was ‘in Italy’ – because that is truly how it feels. It is almost directly across the Adriatic Sea from
Venice. In fact, Italian is even the second language out here. This is both a good and bad thing for me. The good thing is that I am
having no problem using the part of my brain that remembers the Italian I learned while I was in college. The bad thing is that I
haven’t even attempted to speak Croatian yet. It will be another day or two until I will have to pull my phrasebook out. But when you
consider how difficult these Slavic languages are, it is somewhat of a treat to hear a language being spoken that sounds a bit familiar.
There is also something about the words ‘ciao’ and ‘grazie’ that put me in a good mood. Even though we are in Croatia, this is also
acting as my brief taste of Italy on this trip. And speaking of ‘tastes’ of Italy…don’t even get me started with the food over here.
Gelato stalls are every twenty feet. Fresh fish is served at tables on the water throughout the town. Real paninis. Bars have seating in
the rocks at the water (I’m not kidding when I say that you can sit mere inches from the water and watch the fishies while having a
glass of wine). Life ain’t bad in this part of the world.
I have to admit that I was a teeny bit nervous to come back to Croatia. Why would somebody be nervous? Well, I came here three
years ago and adored it. I thought that coming back might be somewhat of a let-down. Nowadays you can’t look at a travel magazine
at home without the mention of Croatia in it. I thought that a lot of the natural beauty out here might be ruined by an influx of
souvenir shops, etc. I am glad to say that I had nothing to be worried about. Silly me.
And now back to Rovinj…
From the minute we boarded the bus this morning, I was sad about having to leave. Rovinj had such a feeling of being on the Italian
Riviera. The buildings were just as colorful as those in the Cinque Terre. The sea was just as beautiful. The language and food was
extremely similar. And last but never least, this region is also known for being a great wine region. I really had to tell myself at times
that I was, in fact, not in Italy.
Upon getting here, we went to one of the agencies and they hooked us sistas up. We stayed smack in the center of town in a room at a
woman’s house. I wasn’t expecting much based on my prior experience of staying in people’s homes my last time in Croatia. This
placed proved me wrong as it was impeccably clean and nice. Clean places have definitely become a bit more of a ‘luxury’ to me
versus a ‘necessity’ in the past couple months (all somebody has to do to make me truly happy and appreciative these days is provide
me with some soap).
My sister and I were more and more impressed with every turn we took as we took to the streets. I came fully equipped with my
annoying comparisons that I just couldn’t help myself from making (i.e. “This is almost just like Vernazza in the Cinque Terre.”) while
my sister had never seen any place like it. She was even more amazed than I was with this town. Even though I’m not technically
going to Western Europe on this trip, Croatia is actually doing its part to fill the void. Prices here aren’t cheap…but there aren’t nearly
as expensive as Italy.
Because the Adriatic was too cold to literally get into (believe me…we dipped our feet into the almost numbingly cold water), we
decided to ‘get into’ the sea in a different way…a boat ride. For ninety minutes, our boat took us all around Rovinj and the many little
islands that surround it. The water only got more and more radiant as we went further out. I can think of far worse ways to spend an
Of course there is always a time when it’s time to say ‘Arrivederci’ to a place. Today was that time. As I sit here on the bus, I could be
sad about leaving Rovinj. Instead, I’m choosing to be excited about what else Croatia has in store for us…